Position: Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, University of Waikato.
Field: Radiocarbon dating.
Dr Fiona Petchey is deputy director of the Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory based at the University of Waikato. Currently, her research is focused on the dating of bone and shell from sites in New Zealand and the Pacific, specifically marine reservoir collections and the influence of diet on human bone C-14.
Recent excavations of the Wairau Bar archaeological site in Blenheim have revealed ancient moa bone fragments, marine shells and charcoal from fires. The lab is currently dating samples of these finds.
Having trained in archaeology and geology at the University of Auckland, Fiona obtained her PhD in radiocarbon dating at Waikato University. She has undertaken research investigating Lapita age sites in the Pacific.
Fiona is responsible for sample pretreatment, the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratories and liaison with submitters. Carbon-14 was used by Fiona to date artefacts of historical importance in an archaeological dig at the Wairau Bar close to the town of Blenheim.
In early 2021 Fiona was promoted to Associate Professor. The University of Waikato acknowledged her promotion with the following summary of her work, "Fiona’s research centres on the interpretation of radiocarbon dates of animals that uptake carbon from both marine and terrestrial sources. By investigating the interaction between natural ecosystems and human economies, she has tackled some of Pacific archeology’s most difficult chronological problems."
Read about Fiona's contribution to new research that shows ancestral Māori adapted quickly in the face of rapid climate change.
This article is based on information current in 2009, 2018 and 2021.