Professor Spriggs, from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, was acknowledged as the longest-serving archaeologist in Vanuatu. He began his work on the islands of Aneityum and Maewo for his PhD in 1978 and is still fully active in archaeology in the country today, regularly working with groups of ANU students.
Professor Bedford, of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, said great responsibility comes with such an honour.
“With the honour comes a great responsibility too, helping ensure that the importance of the kastom and historic sites of Vanuatu are recognised by the public and the government. Rapid development, particularly on Efate, has led to the destruction of many important sites and we need to be vigilant to preserve those that are left.”
Honorary Curatorship has been bestowed only once before, to the founding Curator, Kirk Huffman, in 1991.
The responsibilities of honorary curatorship include fundraising for a properly equipped archaeology laboratory, and a teaching space to allow Vanuatu students to get hands on experience in archaeology.