RHYS JONES MEDAL FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO AUSTRALIAN ARCHAEOLOGY

This is the first time we have made a joint award for the Rhys Jones Medal.  Some may say we have become soft, and cannot make up our minds, but this is far from the truth.  We genuinely found that these two people were of equal calibre in meeting the requirements of the Rhys Jones Medal.

It is my very great pleasure to announce that the joint winners of the 2016 Rhys Jones Medal are Professor Jo McDonald and Professor Paul Taçon.

Since 1980, Paul’s research has focused on the archaeology of art, recent human evolution, human relationships to place, material culture symbolism, cross-cultural contact and Indigenous peoples, with his research including fieldwork in Australia, Africa, South East Asia, India, and North America.  Paul’s research has been published in Science as well as in numerous archaeological journal and book outlets, and has been brought to public attention through his appearances on TV and in newspapers, both locally and internationally.  Paul has used these opportunities to promote the importance of archaeological research generally, and to push for greater protection of archaeological and rock art sites globally.  This year, Paul’s contribution to archaeology was recognised through his appointment to an ARC Laureate Fellowship, with a project to link the preservation of rock art with Indigenous health and well-being.  Paul has spent his career protecting and promoting important Australian cultural heritage and helping to represent the interests of Aboriginal communities, which demonstrates the remarkable national and international contribution Paul has made to archaeological research, and especially to rock art research, in Australia and across the globe.

Paul is a most worthy winner of the Rhys Jones Medal.