Terry L. Hunt

photo of Terry L. Hunt

Dean, Robert D. Clark Honors College
Professor of Anthropology

tlhunt@uoregon.edu | 101C McArthur Court

Contact Executive Assistant Diana Jamison to Schedule an Appointment: 541-346-4749, dianaj@uoregon.edu

Curriculum Vitae

ACADEMIC AREAS: Easter Island, Pacific Islands Prehistory, Human Historical and Evolutionary Ecology

Past Courses

HC 441H: Current Bio-Medical Research Topics, OHSU

HC 434H/431H: Research and Changing Perspectives on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

HC 431H/488: Field Research on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Opportunities for Students

Each summer Dean Hunt leads CHC students on a study abroad course to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Hunt has spent over 15 years conducting archeological research on the island, and through a combination of assigned readings and field excursions, leads students on an in-depth tour of the archeology, environment, culture, and contemporary life of this remote yet significant island. There are additional opportunities for students to conduct their own research projects, especially in conjunction with the CHC senior thesis.

Students enrolled in the course will receive 9 credits, including completion of two colloquia. There is a preparatory part of the program that takes place on UO campus prior to departure.

Learn more about Research in Rapa Nui »

students on Rapa Nui

Academic Background

Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Washington, 1989
M.A. (first class honors), Anthropology, University of Auckland (New Zealand), 1980
B.A., Anthropology, University of Hawai`i-Hilo, 1976

Dr. Hunt joined the University of Oregon as Dean of the Clark Honors College and professor of anthropology in 2013. He taught for 25 years at University of Hawai`i, where he served as the Director of the University of Hawai`i Honors Program, and was affiliated with the departments of anthropology, Pacific Island studies, and ecology, evolution, and conservation biology.

Research Interests & Current Projects

Dr. Hunt is an archaeologist whose research and teaching focus on historical environmental change and life on the islands of the Pacific Ocean. He has conducted archaeological research in the Pacific Islands for more than thirty years, with extensive work in the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, and Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Over the past sixteen years, Dr. Hunt has directed archaeological field research on Easter Island, where he and his students work on many aspects of the island's prehistoric past. His continuing research on the island addresses questions concerning the trajectory of cultural and ecological changes, including the role of the colossal statues and monuments in ancient society. Dr. Hunt’s research was the focus of a National Geographic Magazine cover story (July, 2012) and a full-length Nova-National Geographic TV documentary that aired on PBS in November 2012.

National Geographic cover


  • 2012: Society for American Archaeology Book Award for The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island, with Carl Lipo.
  • 2009: Sigma Xi Distinguished Lectureship, Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society
  • 2008: Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research, University of Hawai`i
  • 2008: College of Social Sciences Excellence in Research Award, University of Hawai`i
  • 2005: Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching, University of Hawai`i
  • 1991: Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching, University of Hawai`i

Selected Grants

  • 2011: National Geographic Society, "The Statue that Walks" (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • 2010: National Science Foundation, "Research Experiences for Undergraduate Site: Geospatial Research and Mapping on Easter Island” (Co-Collaborator)
  • 2010: Australian Research Council, "Reconstructing the Human Colonisation of the Pacific Using Modern and Ancient Chicken DNA" (Co-Investigator)
  • 2009: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, "How Many Have Been Lost? Using Ancient DNA to Develop Baselines for Coral Reef Conservation and Management" (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • 2006: National Science Foundation, "The Paleoecology of Plant Use at Nu‘alolo Kai, Kaua‘i: An Integrative Study of Resource Change in Hawaiian Prehistory" (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • 2001: National Science Foundation, "Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: The Evolution of Competitive Settlement Strategies in Fijian Prehistory" (T.L. Hunt, P.I. for Julie Field)
  • 1997: Centro Studi Ricerche Ligabue (Venice, Italy), "Archaeological Explorations for Lapita Sites in Western Samoa" (Principal Investigator)
  • 1994: Persis Corporation Grant for Education and Historic Preservation, "Analysis of Archaeological Remains from Pu`u Ali`i (Site H-1), Ka`u, Hawai`i" (Co-Principal Investigator with M.S. Allen)
  • 1994: National Park Service, "Ethnographic Overview of Traditional Resource Use, National Park of American Samoa" (Co-Principal Investigator with J.S. Linnekin)
  • 1993: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, "Human Land Use and Landscape Change: Palaeo-ecological Analyses on O`ahu and Kaua`i, Hawaiian Islands" (Co-Principal Investigator with K.D. Morrison and M.S. Allen)
  • 1990: National Park Service Grant, "Archaeological Studies: National Park of American Samoa" (Principal Investigator)
  • 1990: Hawai`i Bishop Research Institute Grant, "Archaeological Analyses of Prehistoric Materials, Na Pali Coast, Kaua`i" (Co-Principal Investigator with M.W. Graves and Y.H. Sinoto)
  • 1989: American Samoa Government Grant, "Archaeological Research in Manu`a" (Co-Principal Investigator with P.V. Kirch)

Selected Publications

For a complete publication list see Dr. Hunt's Curriculum Vitae.


Cover of The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island
Cover of Posing Questions for a Scientific Archaeology
Cover of Historical Ecology in the Pacific Islands: Prehistoric Environmental and Landscape Change

Selected Journal Articles

  • 2017, "East Polynesian islands as models of cultural divergence: The case of Rapa Nui and Rapa Iti" (R. DiNapoli, A. Morrison, C.P. Lipo, T.L. Hunt, B. Lane), Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology  0:1-18.
  • 2014, "Rapa Nui Mataa Morphometric Analyses" (Lipo, Carl P., Rene Horneman, Terry L. Hunt, and Vincent Bonhomme), Antiquity.
  • 2012, "The ‘walking’ megalithic statues of Easter Island" (C.P. Lipo, T.L. Hunt, and S. Rapu-Haoa), Journal of Archaeological Science 40:2859-2866.
  • 2011, "Easter Island’s complex history" (T.L. Hunt and C.P. Lipo), Nature 479:41.
  • 2011, "High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia" (J. Wilmshurst, T.L. Hunt, C.P. Lipo, and A. Anderson), Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 108(5):1815-1820.
  • 2009, "Revisiting Rapa Nui (Easter Island) "Ecocide"" (T.L. Hunt and C.P. Lipo), Pacific Science 63:601-616.
  • 2006, "Late colonization of Easter Island" (T.L. Hunt and C.P. Lipo), Science 311:1603-1606.

Selected Book Chapters

  • In press: "The last great migration: Human colonisation of the Remote Pacific Islands", Human Dispersal and Species Movement - From Prehistory to the Present (edited by N. Boivin, R. Crassard and M.D. Petraglia), Cambridge University Press.
  • 2016: "Chronology and Easter Island Prehistory" (C.P. Lipo and T.L. Hunt), The Skeletal Biology of Rapa Nui (edited by V. Stefan and G. Gill), Cambridge University Press.
  • 2015, "An analysis of stylistic variability of stemmed obsidian tools (mata`a) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)" (C. Lipo, T. Hunt, and B. Hundtoft), Lithic Technological Systems and Evolutionary Theory (edited by N. Goodale), Cambridge University Press.
  • 2013, "The Human Transformation of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Pacific Ocean)" (T.L. Hunt and C.P. Lipo), Biodiversity and Societies in the Pacific Islands (edited by S. Larrue), Presses Universitaires de Provence.
  • 2009, "Ecological catastrophe, collapse, and the myth of ‘ecocide’ on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)" (T. Hunt, and C. Lipo), Questioning Collapse: Human resilience, ecological vulnerability, and the aftermath of empire (edited by P.A. McAnany and N. Yoffee), Cambridge University Press.