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Thinking of purchasing a book but not sure whether it’s going to be worth the purchase price? Check here first to see if it’s been reviewed in Australian Archaeology!  All of the book reviews from recent volumes, listed alphabetically by book title, compiled in one place to make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for.





Abandonments of Settlements and Regions: Ethnoarchaeological and Archaeological Approaches edited by C.M. Cameron and S.A. Tomka (reviewed by Peter Veth).

Aboriginal Economy and Society: Australia at the Threshold of Colonisation by Ian Keen (reviewed by Peter Veth).

A Companion to Archaeology edited by John Bintliff (reviewed by Bruno David).

A Companion to Rock Art edited by Jo McDonald and Peter Veth (reviewed by Ken Mulvaney).

A Companion to Social Archaeology edited by Lynn Meskell and Robert W. Preucel (reviewed by Alistair Paterson).

A Critical Exploration of Frameworks for Assessing the Significance of New Zealand’s Historic Heritageby Sara Donaghey (reviewed by Jane Lennon).

Adventures in Fugawiland: A Computer Simulation in Archaeology, Second Edition by T. Douglas Price and Anne Birgette Gebauer (reviewed by Katrina MacDonald).

Aesthetics and Rock Art III Symposium: Proceedings of the XV USIPP World Congress edited by Thomas Heyd and John Clegg (reviewed by June Ross).

A Fearsome Heritage: Diverse Legacies of the Cold War edited by John Schofield and Wayne Cocroft (reviewed by Iain Stuart).

African Civilisations – Pre-Colonial Cities and States in Tropical Africa: An Archaeological Perspectiveby Graham Coonah (reviewed by Zoe Wakelin-King).

After Caption Cook: The Archaeology of the Recent Indigenous Past in Australia edited by Rodney Harrison and Christine Williamson (reviewed by Judy Birmingham).

After Modernity: Archaeological Approaches to the Contemporary Past by Rodney Harrison and John Schofield (reviewed by Alice Gorman).

Altered Ecologies: Fire, Climate and Human Influence on Terrestrial Landscapes edited by Simon Haberle, Janelle Stevenson and Matthew Prebble (reviewed by Bruno David).

Altered States: Material Cultural Transformations in the Arafura Region edited by Clayton Fredericksen and Ian Walters (reviewed by Christopher Chippindale).

American Beginnings: The Prehistory and Palaeoecology of Beringia edited by Frederick Hadleigh West (reviewed by Rob Gargett).

A Millenium of Culture Contact by Alistair Paterson (reviewed by Angela Middleton).

An Analysis of Ice Age Art. It’s Psychology and Belief System by Noel W. Smith (reviewed by Robert Bednarik).

An Annotated Bibliography of Theses in Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Studies at The University of Queensland, 1948–2000 by Sean Ulm, Anna Schnukal and Catherine Westcott (reviewed by Annie Ross).

Ancestors for the Pigs: Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Genus Sus by Colin Groves (reviewed by Tim Flannery).

An Archaeology of Australian Since 1788 by Susan Lawrence and Peter Davies (reviewed by Iain Stuart).

An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement. The Hyde Park Barracks, 1848-1886 by Peter Davies, Penny Crook and Tim Murray (reviewed by Susan Piddock).

An Introduction to Landscape by Peter J. Howard (reviewed by Tom Kimber).

A Pacific Odyssey: Archaeology and Anthropology in the Western Pacific. Papers in Honour of Jim Specht edited by Val Attenbrow and Richard Fullagar (reviewed by Alison Crowther).

A Pictoral Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture by R. Apperly, R. Irving and P. Reynolds (reviewed by Susan Lawrence Cheney).


Archaeological Dimensions of World Heritage: From Prevention to Social Implications edited by Alicia Castillo (reviewed by Ian Lilley).


Archaeological Investigation by Martin Carver (reviewed by David Frankel).

Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality: A Dialectical Approach to Artifact Classification and Sorting by W.Y. Adams and E.W. Adams (reviewed by Glenn R. Summerhayes).

Archaeology and Colonialism: Cultural Contact from 5000 BC to the Present by Chris Godsen (reviewed by Rodney Harrison).

Archaeology and Linguistics: Aboriginal Australia in Global Perspective edited by P. McConvell and N. Evans (reviewed by Ian Lilley).

Archaeology as Long-Term History edited by Ian Hodder (reviewed by Matthew Spriggs).

Archaeology of the Chinese Fishing Industry in Colonial Victoria by Alister M. Bowen (reviewed by Neville Ritchie).

Archaeology of the Coastal Exchange System: Sites and Ceramics of the Papuan Gulf edited by David Frankel and James W. Rhodes (reviewed by J. Peter White).

Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage by Laurajane Smith (reviewed by Thomas F. King).

Archaeological Theory in Practice by Patricia Urban and Edward Schortmann (reviewed by Martin Porr).

Archaeological Theory: Who Sets the Agenda? edited by Norman Yoffee and Andrew Sherratt (reviewed by Laurajane Smith).

Archaeologies of Memory edited by Ruth M. van Dyke and Susan E. Alcock (reviewed by Rodney Harrison)

Archaeologies of Mobility and Movement edited by Mary C. Beaudry and Travis G. Parno (reviewed by Thomas G. Whitley).

Archaeology and the Media edited by Timothy Clark and Marcus Brittain (reviewed by Hilary du Cros).

Archaeology in Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses edited by Jane Balme and Alistair Paterson (reviewed by Annie Ross).

Archaeology of Ancient Australia by Peter Hiscock (reviewed by Brian Fagan).

Archaeology of Asia edited by Miriam T. Stark (reviewed by Bill Boyd).

Archaeology of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands edited by Ian Lilley (reviewed by Richard Fullagar).

Archaeology to Delight and Instruct: Active Learning in the University Classroom edited by Heather Burke and Claire Smith (reviewed by Martin Gibbs).

Arrernte Present, Arrernte Past: Invasion, Violence and Imagination in Indigenous Central Australia by Diane Austin-Broos (reviewed by John White).

Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms edited by Ian Alden Russell and Andrew Cochrane (reviewed by June Ross).

Artefact Classification: A Conceptual and Methodological Approach by Dwight W. Reed (reviewed by David Frankel).

At a Crossroads: Archaeology and First Peoples in Canada edited by George P. Nicholas and Thomas D. Andrews (reviewed by Paul S.C. Tacon)

Australia’s Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites by the Australian Heritage Council (reviewed by Judith Field).

Australia and the Origins of Agriculture by Rupert Gerritsen (reviewed by Harry Lourandos).

Australian Apocalypse: The Story of Australia’s Greatest Cultural Monument by Robert G. Bednarik (reviewed by Paul Tacon).

Australian Archaeology ’95: Proceedings of the 1995 Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference edited by Sean Ulm, Ian Lilley and Annie Ross (reviewed by Peter Veth).

Australian Rock Art: A New Synthesis by Robert Layton (reviewed by Claire Smith).

Australia’s Eastern Regional Sequence Revisited: Technology and Change at Capertee 3 by Peter Hiscock and Val Attenbrow (reviewed by Chris Clarkson).

Between Plateau and Plain by June Anderson (reviewed by Madge Schwede).

Beyond Art: Pleistocene Image and Symbol edited by Margaret W. Conkey, Olga Soffer, Deborah Stratmann and Nina G. Jablonski (reviewed by Linda Conroy).

Blue Mountain Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage by Eugene Stockton (reviewed by Val Attenbrow).

Bodies in the Bog and the Archaeological Imagination by Karin Sanders (reviewed by Miranda Aldhouse-Green).

Box Office Archaeology: Refining Hollywood’s Portrayals of the Past edited by Julie M. Schablitsky (reviewed by Peter Hiscock).

Bradshaws: Ancient Paintings of North-West Australia by Graeme L. Walshe (reviewed by Mike Morwood).

Bridging the Divide: Indigenous Communities and Archaeology into the 21st Century edited by Caroline Phillips and Harry Allen (reviewed by Chris Wilson).

Bruising the Red Earth: Ochre Mining and Ritual in Aboriginal Tasmania edited by Antonio Sagona (reviewed by Bruno David).

Burning Bush. A Fire History of Australia by Stephen J. Pyne (reviewed by Lesley Head).

Bushfires and Bushtucker: Aboriginal Plant Use in Central Australia by Peter Latz (reviewed by Wendy Beck).

Catalogue of the Roth Collection and Aboriginal Artefacts from North Queensland by Kate Khan (reviewed by Paul Gorecki).

Cave Art: A Guide to the Decorated Ice Age Caves of Europe by Paul Bahn (reviewed by Iain Davidson).

Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions by A. Barrie Pittock (reviewed by Mike Rowland).

Coastal Themes: An Archaeology of the Southern Curtis Coast, Queensland by Sean Ulm (reviewed by Bryce Barker).

Colouring the Past: The Significance of Colour in Archaeological Research edited by Andrew Jones and Gavin MacGregor (reviewed by Noelene Cole).

Conserving Australian Rock Art: A Manual for Site Managers by David Lampert (reviewed by Christopher Chippendale).

Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets by Lewis R. Binford. (reviewed by F. Donald Pate).

Consultation and Cultural Heritage: Let us Reason Together by Claudia Nissley and Thomas F. King (reviewed by Lynley A. Wallis).

Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: A Reader by R.W. Preucel and Ian Hodder (reviewed by Bryce Barker).

Continent of Hunter-Gatherers: New Perspectives in Australian Prehistory by Harry Lourandos (reviewed by Ian McNiven).

Conversations with Landscape edited by Karl Benediktsson and Katrin Anna Lund (reviewed by Harry Lourandos).

Coobool Creek: A Morphological Analysis of the Crania, Mandibles and Dentition of a Prehistoric Australian Human Population by Peter Brown (reviewed by Phillip J. Habgood).

Cultural Heritage, Ethics and the Military edited by Peter G. Stone (reviewed by Umberto Albarella).

Cycles of the Sun, Mysteries of the Moon: The Calender in Mesoamerican Civilization by Vincent H. Malmstrom (reviewed by Gabrielle Vail).


Desert Peoples: Archaeological Perspectives edited by Peter Veth, Mike Smith and Peter Hiscock (reviewed by Mike Basgall).

Digging it up Down Under: A Practical Guide to Doing Archaeology in Australia by Claire Smith and Heather Burke (reviewed by George Nicholas).

Digging up a Past by John Mulvaney (reviewed by Bruno David).

Dingo Makes Us Human by Deborah Bird Rose (reviewed by Peter Thorley).

Dirty Diggers: Tales from the Archaeological Trenches by Paul Bahn (reviewed by Duncan Wright).

Documentary Archaeology in the New World edited by Mary V. Beaudry (reviewed by Tim Murray).

Documental Filmmaking for Archaeologists by Peter Pepe and Joseph W. Zarzynski (reviewed by Karen Martin-Stone).

Doing Archaeology: A Cultural Resource Management Perspective by Thomas F. King (reviewed by John L. Craib).

East of Wallace’s Line: Studies of Past and Present Maritime Cultures of the Indo-Pacific Region edited by Sue O’Connor and Peter Veth (reviewed by Sandra Bowdler).

East of Wallace’s Line: Studies of Past and Present Maritime Cultures of the Indo-Pacific Region edited by Sue O’Connor and Peter Veth (reviewed by Martin Williams).

Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and cultureedited by D. Horton (reviewed by Sharon Wellfare).

Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things by Ian Hodder (reviewed by Martin Porr).

Environmental Archaeology: Principals and Practice by Dena Dincauze (reviewed by Tim Owen).

Excavations, Surveys and Heritage Management in Victoria, Volume 1 edited by Ilya Berelov, Mark Eccleston and David Frankel (reviewed by Pamela Ricardi).

Exhuming Loss: Memory, Materiality and Mass Graves of the Spanish Civil War by Layla Renshaw (reviewed by Jon Prangnell).

Explorations into Highland New Guinea, 1930-1935 by Michael J. Leahy (reviewed by J. Peter White).

Exploring Central Australia: Society, the Environment and the 1984 Horn Expedition by S.R. Morton and D. J. Mulvaney (reviewed by June Ross).

Fantastic Dreaming: The Archaeology of an Aboriginal Mission by Jane Lydon (reviewed by Celmara Pocock).

Faunal Extinction in an Island Society: Pygmy Hippopotamus Hunters of Cyprus by Alan H. Simmons and Associates (reviewed by Mike Smith).

‘Fire and Hearth’ Forty Years On: Essays in Honour of Sylvia J. Hallam edited by Caroline Bird and Esmee Webb (reviewed by Harry Lourandos).

First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies by Peter Bellwood (reviewed by Tim Denham).

First Footprints: The Epic Story of the First Australians by Scott Cane (reviewed by Douglas Bird).

First in their Field: Women and Australian Anthropology edited by Julie Marcus (reviewed by Claire Smith).

First Light by Peter Ackroyd (reviewed by Tony Smith).

Flintknapping: Making and Using Stone Tools by John C. Whittaker (reviewed by Katerina McDonald).

Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology by Kenneth L. Fedden (reviewed by F. Donald Pate).

Gendered Archaeology edited by Jane Balme and Wendy Beck (reviewed by Stephanie Moser).

Geoarchaeology: The Earth-Science Approach to Archaeological Interpretation by G. Rapp Jr and C.L. Hill (reviewed by Rob Gargett).

Gunyah, Goondie and Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia by Paul Memmott (reviewed by Cherrie de Leiuen).

Handbook of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology edited by Soren Blau and Douglas Ubelaker (reviewed by Judith Littleton).

Handbook of Landscape Archaeology edited by Bruno David and Julian Thomas (reviewed by David S. Whitley).

Heritage, Communities and Archaeology by Laurajane Smith and Emma Waterton (reviewed by Amy Roberts).

Heritage: Critical Approaches by Rodney Harrison (reviewed by Keir Reeves).

High Lean Country: Land, People and Memory in New England edited by Alan Atkinson, J.S. Ryan, Iain Davidson and Andrew Piper (reviewed by Sharon Sullivan).

Historical Archaeologies of Cognition: Explorations into Faith, Hope and Charity edited by James Symonds, Anna Badcock and Jeff Oliver (reviewed by Edwina Kay).

Historical Archaeology edited by Martin Hall and Stephen W. Silliman (reviewed by Jon Prangnell).

Historical Archaeology: Why the Past Matters by Barbara J. Little (reviewed by Alasdair Brooks).

Hominid Adaptations and Extinctions by David W. Cameron (reviewed by Sylvia Hallam).

How a Continent Created a Nation by Libby Robin (reviewed by Veronia Strang).

Human Evolution, Language and Mind: A Psychological and Archaeological Enquiry by William Noble and Iain Davidson (reviewed by Howard Morphy).

Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia by Tom Griffiths (reviewed by Mike Smith).

Hunter-Gatherers in History, Archaeology and Anthropology edited by Alan Barnard (reviewed by Ian McNiven).

Inauthentic Archaeologies: Public Uses and Abuses of the Past by Troy Lovata (reviewed by Denis Gojak).

Indigenous Peoples and the Collaborative Stewardship of Nature: Knowledge Binds and Institutional Conflicts by Anne Ross, Kathleen Pickering Sherman, Jeffrey G. Snodgrass, Henry D. Delacore and Richard Sherman (reviewed by Joe Watkins).

Inscribed Landscapes: Marking and Making Place edited by Bruno David and Meredith Wilson (reviewed by Michael Slack and Richard Fullagar).

Interpreting Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology by Lawrence B. Conyers (reviewed by Ian Moffat).

Introduction to Rock Art Research by David S. Whitley (reviewed by Natalie R. Franklin).

Investigating Olduvai : Archaeology of Human Origins by Jeanne Sept (reviewed by Peter Grave).

Invitation to Archaeology Second Edition by Philip Rahtz (reviewed by Simon Holdaway).

Islamic Art and Archaeology of Palestine by Myriam Rosen-Ayalon (reviewed by Alan Walmsley).

Kakadu: Natural and Cultural Heritage and Management edited by Tony Press, David Lea, Ann Webb and Alistair Graham (reviewed by Sean Ulm).

Landscapes, Rock-Art and the Dreamings: An Archaeology of Pre-Understanding by Bruno David (reviewed by Tim Murray).

Lapita Design Form and Composition: Proceedings of the Lapita Design Workshop Canberra, Australia, December 1988 edited by Matthew Spriggs (reviewed by Jim Specht).

Late Holocene Indigenous Economies of the Tropical Australian Coast: An Archaeological Study of the Darwin Region by Patricia M. Bourke (reviewed by Sandra Bowdler).

Lessons for Human Survival: Nature’s Record from the Quaternary edited by Paul Bishop (reviewed by Scott Smithers).

Lithics Down Under: Australian Perspectives on Lithic Reduction, Use and Classification edited by Chris Clarkson and Lara Lamb (reviewed by Ian J. McNiven).

Lithics in the Land of the Lightning Brothers: The Archaeology of Wardaman Country, Northern Territory by Chris Clarkson (reviewed by Richard A. Gould).

Love’s Obsession: The Lives and Archaeology of Jim and Eve Stewart by Judy Powell (reviewed by Andrew Sneddon).

Making Archaeology Happen: Design versus Dogma by Martin Carver (reviewed by Tim Murray).

Managing Archaeological Resources: Global Context, National Programs, Local Actions edited by Francis P. McManamon, Andrew Stout and Jodi A. Barnes (reviewed by Thomas F. King).

Many Exchanges: Archaeology, History, Community and the Work of Isabel McBryde edited by Ingereth Macfarlane with Mary-Jane Mountain and Robert Paton (reviewed by Martin Gibbs).

Marine Molluscan Remains from Franchthi Cave by Judith C. Shackleton (reviewed by Moya Smith).

Maritime Archaeology: A Technical Handbook by J. Green (reviewed by Iain Stuart).

Material Culture of the North Wellesley Islands by Paul Memmott (reviewed by Asa Ferrier).

Measured on Stone: Stone Artefact Reduction, Residential Mobility and Aboriginal Land Use in Arid Central Australia by W. Boone Law (reviewed by Michael J. Shott).

Motherland by Timothy O’Grady (reviewed by Tony Smith).

Much More than Stones and Bones: Australian Archaeology in the Late Twentieth Century by Hilary Du Cros (reviewed by Tracey Ireland).

Mungo over Millenia: The Willandra Landscape and its People edited by Helen Lawrence (reviewed by Josephine M. Flood).

Mystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific by Tom Koppel (reviewed by Matthew Spriggs).

Native Title and the Transformation of Archaeology in the Postcolonial World edited by Ian Lilley (reviewed by Alistair Paterson).

Neolithic by Susan Foster McCarter (reviewed by Phillip C. Edwards).

Ngarrindjeri Wurrawarrin: A World That Is, Was and Will Be by Diane Bell (reviewed by James Knight).

Nomads in Archaeology by Roger Cribb (reviewed by Ron Lampert).

Nonlinear Models for Archaeology and Anthropology: Continuing the Revolution edited by Christopher S. Beekman and William W. Baden (reviewed by Mal Ridges).

North American Archaeology edited by Timothy R. Pauketat and Diana DiPaolo Loren (reviewed by Michael Slack).

Object Lessons: Archaeology and Heritage in Australia edited by Jane Lydon and Tracey Ireland (reviewed by Celmara Pocock).

Oceania Explorations: Lapita and Western Pacific Settlement edited by Stuart Bedford, Christophe Sand and S.P. Connaughton (reviewed by Patrick V. Kirch).

Otoliths of Common Australian Temperate Fish: A Photographic Guide by Dianne Furlani, Rosemary Gales and David Pemberton (reviewed by Marshall Weisler).

Our People’ Series (reviewed by Anne Skates).

Owls, Caves and Fossils: Predation, Preservation and Accumulation of Small Mammal Bones in Caves, with an Analysis of the Pleistocene Cave Faunas from Westbury-Sub-Mendip, Somerset, United Kingdom by Peter J. Andrews (reviewed by David Cameron).

Pacific Production Systems. Approaches to Economic Prehistory edited by D.E. Yen and J.M.J. Mummery (reviewed by J.P White).

Palaeonenvironmental Change and the Persistence of Human Occupation in Southwestern Australian Forests by Joe Dortch (reviewed by Sylvia Hallam).

Palaeopathology of Aboriginal Australians: Health and Disease across a Hunter-Gatherer Continent by Stephen Webb (reviewed by Graham Knuckey and F. Donald Pate).

Patterns of Burning over Archaeological Sites and Landscapes: Prospection and Analysis by Alistair Marshall (reviewed by Kelsey Lowe).

Peopling the Cleland Hills: Aboriginal History in Western Central Australia 1850-1980 by Mike A. Smith (reviewed by Jo McDonald).

Pictures of Time Beneath: Science, Heritage and the Uses of the Deep Past by Kirsty Douglas (reviewed by Josephine M. Flood).

Pieces of the Vanuatu Puzzle: Archaeology of the North, South and Centre by Stuart Bedford (reviewed by Jennifer G. Kahn).

Pinning Down the Past: Archaeology, Heritage and Education Today by Mike Corbishey (reviewed by Craig Baxter).

Pitt Rivers. The Life and Archaeological work of Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers, DCL FRS FSA by Mark Bowden (reviewed by Ron Lampert).

Place as Occupational Histories: An Investigation of the Deflated Surface Archaeological Record of Pine Point and Langwell Stations, Western New South Wales, Australia by Justin Shiner (reviewed by Ben Marwick).

Plants in Australian Archaeology edited by Wendy Beck, Annie Clark and Lesley Head (reviewed by Bill Boyd).

Pleistocene Geology, Palaeontology and Archaeology of the Soa Basin, Central Flores, Indonesia edited by F. Aziz, M.J. Morwood and G.D. van den Bergh (reviewed by Jillian Garvey).

Port Essington: The Historical Archaeology of a North Australian Nineteenth Century Military Outpostby Jim Allen (reviewed by Charles E. Orser Jr).

Prehistoric Marine Resource Use in the Indo-Pacific Regions edited by Rintaro Ono, Alex Morrison and David Addison (reviewed by Mirani Litster).

Prehistory and Heritage: The Writings of John Mulvaney by D.J. Mulvaney (reviewed by R.J. Lampert).

Prodigious Birds. Moas and Moa-Hunting in Prehistoric New Zealand by Atholl Anderson (reviewed by Brendan Marshall).

Quantifying Diversity in Archaeology edited by Robert D. Leonard and George T. Jones (reviewed by Colin Pardoe).

Quaternary Environments by M.A.J. Williams, D.L. Dunkerley, P. De Deckker, A.P. Kershaw and T. Stokes (reviewed by F. Donald Pate).

Quaternary Environments (Second Edition) by M.A.J. Williams, D.L. Dunkerley, P. De Deckker, A.P. Kershaw and J. Chappell (reviewed by F. Donald Pate).

Quinkan Prehistory: The Archaeology of Aboriginal Art in S.E. Cape York Peninsula, Australia edited by Michael J. Morwood and Douglas R. Hobbs (reviewed by Bruno David).

Reading Material Culture: Structuralism, Hermeneutics and Post-Structuralism edited by Christopher Tilley (reviewed by Bruno David).

Recent Studies in Australian Palaeoecology and Zooarchaeology: A Volume in Honour of the Late Su Solomon edited by Jillian Garvey and Judith Field (reviewed by Joe Dortch).

Re-Constructing Archaeology: Theory and Practice by Michael Shanks and Christopher Tilley (reviewed by Bruno David).

Records in Stone: Papers in Memory of Alexander Thom edited by C.L.N. Ruggles (reviewed by R.J. Lampert).

Recovering the Tracks: The Story of Australian Archaeology by David Horton (reviewed by Sandra Bowdler).

Remains to be Seen: Archaeological Insights into Australian Prehistory by David Frankel (reviewed by Annie Ross).

Renewing Women’s Business: A Documentary by Julie Drew and Wardaman Aboriginal Corporation (reviewed by Sally Babidge).

Returning to Nothing: The Meaning of Lost Places by Peter Read (reviewed by Veronica Strang).

Rock Art and Ethnography: Proceedings of the Ethnography Symposium, Australian Rock Art Research Association Conference, Darwin, 1998 edited by M.J. Morwood and D.R. Hobbs (reviewed by Noelene Cole).

Rock Art and Posterity: Conserving, Managing and Recording Rock Art edited by C. Pearson and B.K. Schwartz (reviewed by Christopher Chippendale).

Rock Art of the Dreamtime: Images of Ancient Australia by Josephine Flood (reviewed by Annie Thomas).

Rock Art of the Kimberley: Proceedings of the Kimberley Society Rock Art Seminar held at the University of Western Australia, Perth, 10 September 2005 edited by Mike Donaldson and Kevin Kenneally (reviewed by Paul S.C. Tacon).

Roonka: Fugitive Traces and Climatic Mischief edited by Keryn Walshe (reviewed by Eleanor Crosby).


Salvage Excavation of Human Skeletal Remains at Ocean and Octavia Streets, Narabeen, Site #45-6-2747 by Jo McDonald Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd (reviewed by Judith Littleton).

Salvage Excavation of Six Sites along Caddies, Seconds Ponds, Smalls and Cattals Creeks in the Rouse Hill Development Hill Area by Jo McDonald Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd (reviewed by Fiona Hook).

Scribes, Warriors and Kings, the City of Copan and the Ancient Maya by William L. Fash (reviewed by Rene Viel and Jay Hall).

Second Nature: The History and Implications of Australia as Aboriginal Landscape by Lesley Head (reviewed by Harry Allen).

Secrets at Hanging Rock by Alan Watchman (reviewed by Claire St George).

Shamans, Sorcerers and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion by Brian Hayden (reviewed by Bryce Barker).

Shared Landscapes: Archaeologies of Attachment and the Pastoral Industry in New South Wales by Rodney Harrison (reviewed by Lynette Russell).

Sites and Bytes: Recording Aboriginal Places in Australia edited by Josephine Flood, Ian Johnson and Sharon Sullivan (reviewed by Peter Veth).

Social Theory and Archaeology by Michael Shanks and Christopher Tilley (reviewed by Bruno David).

Social Theory and Archaeology by Michael Shanks and Christopher Tilley (reviewed by Chris Godsen).

Structured Worlds: The Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherer Thought and Action edited by Aubrey Cannon (reviewed by Colin Pardoe).

Style, Society and Person: Archaeological and ethnological perspectives edited by Christopher Carr and Jill E. Neitzel (reviewed by Bruno David).

Surface Collection: Archaeological Travels in Southeast Asia by Denis Byrne (reviewed by Sarah Milledge Nelson).

Sustaining Heritage: Giving the Past a Future by Tony Gilmour (reviewed by Richard Mackay).


The Archaeologist’s Field Handbook by Heather Burke and Claire Smith (reviewed by Tim Ormsby).

The Archaeologist’s Fieldwork Companion by Barbara Ann Kipfer (reviewed by Ian J. McNiven).

The Archaeologist’s Manual for Conservation: A Gudie to Non-Toxic, Minimal Intervention Artifact Stabilization by Bradley A. Rodgers (reviewed by Brandy Lockhart).

The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts by Mike Smith (reviewed by Peter Hiscock)

The Archaeology of Contextual Meanings edited by Ian Hodder (reviewed by Matthew Spriggs).

The Archaeology of Difference: Negotiating Cross-Cultural Engagements in Oceania edited by Robin Terrence and Anne Clark (reviewed by Jo McDonald).

The Archaeology of Drylands: Living at the Margin edited by Graeme Barker and David Gilbertson (reviewed by Mike Smith).

The Archaeology of Market Capitalism: A Western Australian Perspective by Gaye Nayton (reviewed by William Lees).

The Archaeology of Montebello Islands, North-West Australia: Late Quaternary Foragers on an Arid Coastline by Peter Veth, Ken Aplin, Lynley A. Wallis, Tiina Manne, Tim Pulsford, Elizabeth White and Alan Chappel (reviewed by Goeff Bailey).

The Archaeology of the Angophora Reserve Rock Shelter by Josephine McDonald (reviewed by Val Attenbrow).

The Archaeology of the Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia edited by Sue O’Connor, Matthew Spriggs and Peter Veth (reviewed by Daniel Rosendahl).

The Archaeology of the Colonised by Michael Given (reviewed by Rodney Harrison).

The Archaeology of Time by Gavin Lucas (reviewed by Michael Morrison).

The Archaeology of Whaling in Southern Australia and New Zealand by Susan Lawrence and Mark Staniforth (reviewed by Peter Veth).

The Axe had Never Sounded: Place, People and Heritage of Recherche Bay, Tasmania by John Mulvaney (reviewed by Lyndall Ryan).

The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia by Bill Gammage (reviewed by Bruno David).

The Bone Readers: Atoms, Genes and the Politics of Australia’s Deep Past by Claudio Tuniz, Richard Gillespie and Cheryl Jones (reviewed by Iain Davidson).

The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia by Charles Higham (reviewed by Robert Theunissen).

The Cainozoic in Australia: A Reappraisal of the Evidence edited by M.A.J. Williams, P. De Deckker and A.P. Kershaw (reviewed by Scott Smithers).

The City in Time and Space by Aidan Southall (reviewed by Jim Walmsley).

The Dark Abyss of Time: Archaeology and Memory by Laurent Olivier (reviewed by Steve Brown).

The Death of Prehistory by Peter Schmidt and Stephen Mrozowski (reviewed by John Giblin).

The Dendroglyphs of ‘Carved Trees’ of New South Wales  by Robert Etheridge (reviewed by Jeanette Hope.

The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq edited by Peter Stone and Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly (reviewed by Dan Potts).

The Discovery of the Hobbit: The Scientific Breakthrough that Changed the Face of Human History by Mike Morwood and Penny van Oosterzee (reviewed by Michael Green).

The Discovery of the Past: The Origins of Archaeology by Alain Schnapp (reviewed by Heather Burke).

The Domestication of Europe by Ian Hodder (reviewed by Ron Paul Rainbird).

The Early Prehistory of Fiji edited by Geoffrey Clark and Atholl Anderson (reviewed by Yvonne Marshall).

The Fabrication of Aboriginal History. Volume One, Van Diemen’s Land 1803–1847 by Keith Windschuttle (reviewed by Sandra Bowdler).

The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilisation by Michael Balter (reviewed by Andrew Fairbairn).

The History and Archaeology of the Sydney Cove Shipwreck (1797): A Resource for Future Work by Shirley Strachan (reviewed by David Cameron).

The Illusion of Riches: Scale, Resolution and Explanation in Tasmanian Pleistocene Human Behaviourby Richard Cosgrove (reviewed by Judith Field).

The Illustrated History of Humankind edited by Goran Burenhult (reviewed by Jane Balme).

The Incas by Terence N. D’Altroy (reviewed by Dave Bulbeck).

The Languages of Archaeology: Dialogue, Narrative and Writing by Rosemary Joyce  (reviewed by Darren Griffin).

The Lost Legions: Culture Contact in Colonial Australia by Alistair Paterson (reviewed by Nan Rothschild).

The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections edited by Nicolas Peterson, Lindy Allen and Louise Hamby (reviewed by Michael Westaway).

The Meaning of Water by Veronica Strang (reviewed by Ingereth Macfarlane).

The Naïve Lands: Prehistory and Environmental Change in Australia and the South-West Pacific edited by John Dodson (reviewed by Sandra Bowdler).

The Nature of Heritage: The New South Africa by Lynn Meskell (reviewed by Keir Reeves).

The New Archaeology and Aftermath: A View from Outside the Anglo-American World by K. Paddayya (reviewed by Tessa Corkhill).

The Northern Barbarians 100 BC-AD 300 by Malcolm Todd (reviewed by M. Ruth Megaw).

The Original Australians: Story of the Aboriginal People by Josephine M. Flood (reviewed by J. Peter White).

The Origins and Spread of Domestic Plants in Southwest Asia and Europe edited by Sue Colledge and James Connolly (reviewed by Tim Denham).

The Origins of Hereditary Social Stratification by Malcolm McKay (reviewed by Ian Lilley).

The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory by Jean Guilaine and Jean Zammit (reviewed by Graham Knuckey).

The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia and the End of the Liberal Consensus by Peter Sutton (reviewed by Luke Godwin).

The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion and Science by Steven Mithen (reviewed by Catherine Mitchell).

The Riches of Ancient Australia by Josephine Flood (reviewed by Wendy Beck).

The Rock Paintings of Arnhem Land, Australia: Social, Ecological and Material Culture Change in the Post-Glacial Period by Darrell Lewis (reviewed by Kim Sales).

The Rock Paintings of Arnhem Land, Australia: Social, Ecological and Material Culture Change in the Post-Glacial Period by Darrell Lewis (reviewed by Natalie Franklin).

The Rocks: Life in Early Sydney by Grace Karskens (reviewed by Jane Lydon).

The Roth Family, Anthropology and Colonial Administration edited by Russell McDougall and Iain Davidson (reviewed by Luke Godwin).

The Science of Human Origins by Claudio Tuniz, Giorgio Manzi and David Caramelli (reviewed by Iain Davidson).

The Shore Whalers of Western Australia: Historical Archaeology of a Maritime Frontier by Martin Gibbs (reviewed by Ian Smith).

The Social Archaeology of Australian Indigenous Societies edited by Bruno David, Bryce Barker and Ian J. McNiven (reviewed by Richard Cosgrove).

The Stone Mirror: A Novel of the Neolithic by Rob Swigart (reviewed by Andy Fairbairn).

The Uses of Style in Archaeology edited by Margaret W. Conkey and Christine A. Hastorf (reviewed by Robert G. Bednarik).

The Willandra Lakes Hominids by S.G. Webb (reviewed by Phillip J. Habgood).

Thinking from Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology by Alison Wylie (reviewed by Tim Murray).

Time, Energy and Stone Tools by Robin Torrence (reviewed by Dan Witter).

Time to Quarry: The Archaeology of Stone Procurement in Northwestern New South Wales, Australia by Trudy Doelman (reviewed by Justin Shiner).

Tracks, Scats and Other Traces: A Field Guide to Australian Mammals by Barbara Triggs (reviewed by Rob Gargett).

Transitions: Pleistocene to Holocene in Australia and Papua New Guinea edited by Jim Allen and J.F. O’Connell (reviewed by Sandra Bowdler).

Treasures of the Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney edited by D.T. Potts and K.N. Sowada (reviewed by Vincent Megaw).

23°S: Archaeology and Environmental History of the Southern Deserts edited by Mike Smith and Paul Hesse (reviewed by Peter Thorley).


Uncommon Ground: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental Values by Veronica Strang (reviewed by Wendy Beck).

Uncovering Australia: Archaeology, Indigenous People and the Public by Sarah Colley (reviewed by Ian McNiven).

Understanding Sea-Level Rise and Variability edited by John A. Church, Philip L. Woodworth, Thorkild Aarup and W. Stanley Wilson (reviewed by Mike Rowland).

Uses of Heritage by Laurajane Smith (reviewed by Jane Lennon).

Virtual Archaeology: Re-Creating Ancient Worlds edited by Maurizio Forte and Alberto Siliotti (reviewed by Roland Fletcher).

Visions from the Past: The Archaeology of Australian Aboriginal Art by Mike J. Morwood (reviewed by Meredith Wilson).

Weipa Shell Mounds: Cultural or Natural Deposits? by Geoff Bailey (reviewed by Elizabeth Rich).

Whalers and Free Men: Life on Tasmania’s Colonial Whaling Stations by Susan Lawrence (reviewed by Martin Gibbs).

What is an Animal? edited by Tim Ingold (reviewed by Iain Davidson and William Noble).

What is Archaeology? An Essay on the Nature of Archaeological Research by Paul Courbin (translated by Paul Bahn) (reviewed by Allan Lance).

What’s Changing: Population Size or Land-Use Patterns? The Archaeology of the Upper Mangrove Creek, Sydney Basin by Val Attenbrow (reviewed by Brit Asmussen).

Women in Archaeology: A Feminist Critique edited by Hilary du Cros and Laurajane Smith (reviewed by Alexy Simmons).

Working with Rock Art: Recording, Presenting and Understanding Rock Art Using Indigenous Knowledge edited by Benjamin Smith, Knut Helskog and David Morris (reviewed by Sven Ouzman).

Writing Archaeology: Telling Stories about the Past by Brian Fagan (reviewed by Karen Murphy).


Obituary: Margaret Felstead Nobbs (1925-2014).


By David Mott and Chris Nobbs

Margaret Felstead Nobbs (nee Marshman) was born in Adelaide on 10 November 1925.

Margaret went to school at the Methodist Ladies College (now Annesley College) in Wayville, opposite the Adelaide Parklands. She matriculated in 1942. The same year brought tragedy to the Marshman family, when her brother John was killed in the Battle of Britain.

Margaret was an active teenager, playing many sports and notably playing hockey at State level. Margaret began studying physiotherapy in the mid-1940s and then studied medicine for two years at Adelaide University.

Margaret met Jack Nobbs (deceased) and on 3 February 1951 they were married. They lived in Woodford Wells, north London, UK, for the first two years of marriage, where they had two sons: John and Tony. Margaret and Jack enjoyed London and this is where she developed a love for archaeology. Indeed, Margaret and Jack both shared a passion for natural history and the environment that was to set the scene for a long life together exploring and enjoying the great outdoors.

In the early 1950s Margaret, Jack and the boys returned to Adelaide. They built a home in Hazelwood Park, where they had two daughters: Jackie and Sally. For ten years Margaret worked as a physiotherapist and in the early 1970s she became heavily involved in the Field Naturalists Society of South Australia (SA) and the Anthropological Society of SA.

Margaret’s continuing interest in the natural world, and particularly archaeology, led her to undertake a Master’s Degree at Flinders University examining Aboriginal rock art of the Olary Province. Professor Vincent Megaw remembers her fondly, saying, “Margaret was my first MA student at Flinders and before that, in their Sydney days, Jack carried out analytical work for me on a number of British Bronze Age artefacts in Australian collections”. Since her passing, other ex-students and lecturers have also reflected on her passion, dedication and enthusiasm that was so heartening to all those interested in Aboriginal rock art. She inspired many in the field of archaeology.

Her early days in the Olary Province, SA, were spent with the mineralogist J.E. Johnson, who was also interested in Aboriginal culture, but it was his drawings of rock art sites in which the art was no longer clearly discernible that impressed her. Margaret’s analysis and records of the petroglyphs engraved in the outcrops of dolomitic siltstones by Aboriginal people in the region confirmed their long habitation and the antiquity of their art. This was of particular interest to Margaret and she determined that the petroglyphs were made by Aboriginal people in the distant past. Margaret’s records and her analysis of the engravings located on dolomitic siltstone pavements and outcrops of rocks at Karolta were significant. These engravings were extensive and included tracks, lines, circles and complex linear motifs, but it was the existence of desert varnish which formed on the skin of the rocks and in the engravings that captured her interest. Margaret surmised that the desert varnish which formed in layers could be used to determine the age of the petroglyphs. A technique known as cation ratio (CR) dating was used by Ron Dorn in collaboration with Margaret and T.A. Cahill at Karolta, in an attempt to date the distinctive coating of desert varnish in the petroglyphs. Alan Watchman, from the School of Anthropology and Archaeology, James Cook University, Townsville, cast a shadow of doubt over the fundamental assumptions of the method. He cited the unreliable dating of the formation of varnishes using cation-ratios as a problem, which was demonstrated by examples of environmental and textural observations reflecting localised leaching, and by chemical analyses that contradicted the fundamental assumptions of the method.1 Needless to say this was disappointing for all involved. Despite this conclusion, Margaret continued her research and documentation of the Olary rock art.

Margaret embarked on numerous field excursions in the Olary region in order to record rock art located primarily on private pastoral leases—quite often with family in tow who provided excellent free labour! Over the years she developed strong relationships with traditional owners, pastoralists and station managers, as well as university staff and students, amongst many others.

In 2004 Margaret’s beloved husband Jack passed away. Typically stoic, she immersed herself in her work, cataloguing and archiving her many decades of research. It was also time to move out of the family home and into smaller and more manageable accommodation in the adjoining suburb of Leabrook.

On 10 November 2014, in her 90th year, Margaret passed away peacefully at the Royal Adelaide Hospital with her family by her side. She remained happy to the end, showing her typical sense of humour, great warmth, kindness and dignity that she displayed throughout her life.

Margaret was a much loved mother to her children, a cherished wife to Jack and an adored grandmother to her grandsons. She was also simply an inspirational figure as an archaeologist and a great friend to many.

1 Watchman, A. 1999 A review of the history of dating rock varnishes. Earth-Science Reviews 49:261–277.

1, 2, 3, 4, I believe I thought I saw: a preliminary examination of Normanville Beach

Peta Straiton

Flinders University, Master of Maritime Archaeology, June 2015

Normanville Beach is a key feature in the District of Yankalilla, South Australia. Operating as a port for much of the area’s colonial history, Normanville Beach is now a recreational foreshore environment. With this significant change in use this study sought to determine how an archaeological examination of Normanville Beach would add to our understanding of the development of the District of Yankalilla. It focused on three primary objectives. First, to identify the extent of the archaeological record at Normanville Beach. Second, to discover links between the growth of the townships and the use of the port. The final objective was to establish the limits of communal memory regarding the historic port. Through archaeological examination, public opinion surveys and the analysis of historical data, this thesis was able to determine that the historic port at Normanville Beach was, and still is, a significant feature in the community. The study of maritime cultural landscapes and the links with anthropological studies of current communities has not yet been fully explored. Clear opportunities exist for the study of current communal interactions with reused sites. It is hoped this thesis will be one of many steps in this direction.

Experimental exploration of ‘intent’ in early hominin stone flaking: the Levallois method.

Mathew Smith

Department of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, University of New England, BSc(Hons), June 2015

Traditional views of the evolution of cognition in hominins hold that two early industries and an early stone working technique—the Oldowan, Acheulean and Levallois—reflect increases in complex cognitive ability and progression in intentional stone tool design. Results of recent experimental work, featuring random platform selection, challenge this view (Moore and Perston in preparation). This work found that many characteristics of Oldowan, Acheulean and Levallois stone tools could be recreated using basic methods of knapping, although the experimental cores did not completely match archaeological assemblages. One prediction of this prior work was that by modifying the experimental design to include platform preparation, experimental by-products might better simulate the Levallois Method in formal characteristics and frequency. This study tested this prediction by retaining random platform selection but applying ‘complex flake units’ that allowed platform preparation. The experiments created Levallois-like flakes more frequently, which exhibited some, but not all, of the characteristics in the typological definition of the Levallois Method.

“And so ends this day’s work”: industrial perspectives on early nineteenth-century American whaleships wrecked in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Jason T. Raupp

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, PhD, July 2015

The pelagic whale fishery was one of the most important contributors to the development of the early American economy. Although oil extracted from whales taken along the New England coast was a valuable commodity in the colonial trade for centuries, it was the expansion of the fishery during  the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that resulted in unprecedented financial success for American whaling. During that time, extensive hunting grounds discovered in the Pacific Ocean led to an ever increasing demand for sperm whale oil, which was considered the ideal lubricant and illuminant for the burgeoning industrial revolution. To meet demand, the geographic focus of the majority of whaleships was shifted to the Pacific region in the early decades of the nineteenth century and trading centres were subsequently established at island groups like Hawaii to support their activities.

The ships employed in pelagic whaling in the early to midnineteenth century were workplaces which incorporated complex industrial processes that resulted from wider social, cultural and industrial changes. Due in large part to technological innovations and systemic standardisation by American whalers in the mid- to late eighteenth century, whaleships were organised as self-contained and fully integrated industrial platforms that incorporated both the equipment necessary to carry out whaling operations and the domestic spaces needed for officers and crews. Thus equipped, the geographic restrictions that previously limited their operational range were removed and the search for new hunting grounds led to voyages to ever more remote regions, greatly extended the duration of voyages, and resulted in an increase to the size of the vessels employed and changes to their rigs.

This dissertation explores the industrial nature of the pelagic whaling ships that operated in the Pacific Ocean in the early to mid-nineteenth century. It combines historical and archival research, the results of archaeological site inspections and recording, and comparative studies of museum collections to contextualise the industrial experience and the working environment that existed onboard these vessels. To understand the systems that operated on pelagic whaleships of this period, relevant data is analysed using three themes adapted from industrial archaeological practice to explore the concepts of ‘maritime industrial workplace’, ‘maritime resource extraction’ and ‘maritime industrial seascapes’.

Here, there and everywear: development of provenance technique for mother of pearl buttons

Celeste M. Jordan

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Master of Maritime Archaeology, June 2015

The principal innovation of this research is to marry hitherto dispersed approaches to the analysis of shell, nacre and mother of pearl (MOP) buttons. Previous research has concentrated on three chief areas: the Australian pearling industry; the identification and classification of buttons in the archaeological record; and elemental and isotopic analyses of shell to determine environmental factors, climate change and minimal provenancing. The present research seeks to draw on all three areas in order to investigate the potential for a new set of analytical techniques for provenancing Australian MOP products and shells from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.

Pairs of shell samples of Pinctada maxima, P. margaritifera, P. fucata, and Ptera penguin were obtained and one half of each shell pair made into buttons by George Hook & Co. One button and a sample of the unmodified control shell half for each pair were elementally tested for 20 elements using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and 13C and 18O isotopes using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS). Each button was compared to its control sample and each control sample was compared to each other to try to identify if there were geochemical differences. Both analytical tests were run to ascertain whether the button manufacturing process affected the elemental or isotopic composition of the button.

It was subsequently discovered, with the current sampling strategy, that the results of both ICP-MS and IRMS were inclusive at determining if there were elemental and isotopic variations between the button and its control shell. However, there were clear differences between each control sample for both elements and isotopes, which indicates that each sample has its own geochemical signature that relates to its location of growth.

Now, are you going to believe this or not?’ Addressing neglected narratives through the maritime cultural landscape of Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission/Burgiyana, South Australia

Madeline Emma Fowler

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, PhD, October 2015

This thesis investigates the maritime cultural landscape of Point Pearce  Mission/Burgiyana, in the Yorke Peninsula/Guuranda region of South Australia. The research seeks to understand Indigenous maritime activities within a defined conceptual framework through a case study-based, inductive and interpretive approach. This interpretation perceives the participation of Indigenous peoples in Australia’s maritime industry as an important component of Australian maritime heritage with the potential to shed light on a number of areas including boatbuilding, labouring in the shipping trade—both at sea and on land—and working in the fishing economy. Previous archaeological research has not employed a maritime cultural landscape framework to explore issues of importance to Indigenous communities. The framework, arguably one of the most popular in the maritime archaeology field, is derived from research conducted in Europe and hence has had a Western focus and research agenda. Further, maritime archaeological studies have neglected Indigenous missions as potential sites/landscapes and, similarly, archaeological research at missions has largely ignored maritime aspects.

This study is based upon the collection of 13 oral histories, as well as terrestrial, coastal and underwater archaeological investigations and primary archival research. The data was collated taking into account the 11 thematic facets of the maritime cultural landscape as advocated by Westerdahl (2008, 2011). The latter information was then used to explore the usefulness and suitability of the maritime cultural landscape approach in an Indigenous Australian postcontact context. In particular, an assessment of the maritime cultural landscape was conducted in this research to consider whether it provided the necessary suite of methods (and associated rationale) to accommodate a cohesive recording of areas important to Indigenous Australian communities (i.e. beliefs, knowledges and lived experiences) and whether it provided a useful interpretive structure.

The research revealed that the maritime cultural landscape framework is generally, with qualifications, suitable for the investigation of Indigenous Australian post-contact contexts and is worthwhile in the sense that it can foreground the contribution of Indigenous peoples to Australia’s maritime industry. The aforementioned 11 thematic facets of the maritime cultural landscape are demonstrated in this research to be flexible across contexts, but several issues emerge from this case study. These issues have been broadly grouped into five themes as follows: 1) colonial archives and local histories often silence Aboriginal peoples; 2) maritime cultural landscape facets need to encompass non-Western systems of knowledge; 3) maritime archaeology discourse and underpinning attitudes need to be deconstructed; 4) maritime archaeology in Australia is generally Eurocentric; and 5) oral histories are an integral source for exploring Indigenous maritime cultural landscapes. Consequently, it is argued that the maritime cultural landscape approach should be adopted more frequently, taking into account Indigenous themes in maritime archaeology, although the research process should be carefully examined for Eurocentricity. Additionally, the outcomes of the project illustrate that Indigenous maritime cultural landscapes are not only a prominent part of the Australian landscape, but also provoke reconsiderations regarding how we see the relationship between maritime and Indigenous archaeology. The implications of these findings are that the seascape framework is not the only concept available within maritime archaeology for investigating Indigenous contexts. As a result, it is proposed that maritime archaeologists should consider employing a maritime cultural landscape framework within other themes of cultural contact, as well as at missions situated on other waterways and in similar contexts in other countries.

Messages in paint: an archaeometric analysis of pigment use in Aboriginal Australia focusing on the production of rock art

Jillian Huntley

Archaeology, School of Humanities, University of New England, PhD, December 2014

Anthropogenically modified pigments are held to be some of the earliest, most unambiguous and persistent evidence for behavioural modernity, frequently (and often tenuously) invoked as material expression of symbolic thought and action. Recent finds, increases in the sophistication of analytic techniques and theoretical frameworks have renewed interest in ochre. This is reflected by a spike in actualistic studies, investigations of pigment morphology and geochemistry. Archaeological studies continue to display a bias towards Pleistocene pigments, while archaeometric research continues to focus on ochre from known source locations, and, in Australia, ethnographically documented mines. Here I take a different tack, targeting Holocene ochres, focusing on pigments with at least one known, indisputably symbolic function—the production of rock art. As part of the physical and metaphorical (cultural) landscape, rock art offers a unique pigment archive as it remains in the location in which it was created.

A decade since the first published application of portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) to rock art there has been an absence of critical scrutiny and methodological development. Aiming to redress this, I use conventional and Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction, Micro Computed Tomography and Scanning Electron Microscopy to explain and evaluate pXRF. I develop novel methods of using geochemical data to identify paint mineralogy (including differentiating between paints of the same colour), recognise the chemical signatures of taphonomic processes and compare ochres from excavated contexts with rock art. Interpreting the resultant elemental profiles relies on understanding the complex taphonomy of pigments and the chemical expression of non-cultural phenomena, something not adequately addressed previously. This work therefore offers a non-invasive means by which large scale studies of archaeological pigments can be undertaken.

By expressly separating characterisation from the assignment of provenance, I describe and interpret pigment geochemistry within the frameworks of object biography and intentionality. I demonstrate how pigment characterisations make available additional strands of chronological and behavioural evidence within regional prehistories. In the Sydney Basin, I report the first archaeological identification of calcite rock art paint at Yengo 1 shelter, where calcite pigments are present from 1500 BP. I provide the first archaeological description of a mulberry ochre quarry in northern Australia, showing that these pigments are available locally within the King Leopold formation of the northwest Kimberley and that ochre quarries occur in sites with large rock art assemblages. Ultimately, this work demonstrates that it is not always the highest resolution scientific data that produces the most insightful archaeological findings.

Giving a name to a place: shipwrecks in Port MacDonnell, South Australia

Madeline Emma Fowler

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, BArch (Hons), October 2011

This investigation into shipwrecks in the Port MacDonnell region addresses the extent to which archaeological signatures inform the impact of shipwrecks, as processes and places, in the community and vice versa. A review of archaeological, archival and oral history data is undertaken to achieve several aims. These include identifying the remains of a wooden shipwreck seasonally exposed on the beach and a group of timbers located at the Port MacDonnell Maritime Museum. Also, the concept of shipwrecks as places in the landscape and local attitudes towards shipwrecks is explored. Finally, the impacts that shipwrecks have on rural coastal communities are identified using a framework based around shipwreck response, exploitation and memorialisation landscapes. This research is archaeologically significant as it contributes to the theme of shipwrecks as places, an understudied area which has the potential to reveal meaningful interpretations about human behaviour. Furthermore, it is significant as the behaviours, attitudes and values of a community with a strong maritime identity and a history of responding to, exploiting and memorialising shipwrecks are recorded.

Picking up the pieces: the story of a shipwreck

Lauren Davison

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University Masters of Maritime Archaeology November 2014

This thesis uses a case study from the Gold Coast, Queensland, to examine how archaeological investigative processes aid in the identification of disarticulated contextfree shipwrecks. The exposure of a vessel, Shipwreck X, on North Kirra Beach in 1974 resulted in the removal of the remains by the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC). Authorities included sections of the shipwreck in sculptures, memorials, trophies and gave fragments as presents to visiting public figures. Other sections were stored at the GCCC depot, Tugun. Today, remains of Shipwreck X are located across three sites: the GCCC depot, the Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Society (GCHHS), Surfers Paradise and Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP), Coolangatta. The identification of Shipwreck X remains under scrutiny and its identity as the “Coolangatta” ship is uncertain. A debate exists and suggests two potential candidates, “Coolangatta” and “Heroine”, both of which were wrecked in similar circumstances. “Coolangatta”, built in 1843 at Shoalhaven River, was wrecked north of Point Danger in 1846 after breaking its anchor cables and blowing ashore. “Heroine”, built in 1894 at Nambucca River, broke its mooring lines in 1897 and beached two miles north of Point Danger. This study set out to record the archaeological remains of Shipwreck X, using photographs, scale drawings, full-sized tracings, detailed descriptions and material analyses and to undertake historical research to assist with its identification. Without any proper conservation treatment of the remains, Shipwreck X allowed a study of the constraints that highly degraded materials place on available research methods. This research evaluates those methodological constraints.

From shipyard to seabed: a multiphasic vessel biography of “Leven Lass” [1839–1854]

Chelsea Colwell-Pasch

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University Masters of Maritime Archaeology November 2014

On 12 December 1854, the Clyde-built brig “Leven Lass” was intentionally run aground off the northern shore of Phillip Island, Victoria, due to a substantial leak in the hull, ending its working life as a merchant sailor. The majority of the cargo and all the crew were saved, but “Leven Lass” was a total loss and eventually foundered. Many factors contributed to the life and death of “Leven Lass”, including the trade and exchange of Scottish maritime technology, the activities of everyday seafaring in mid-nineteenth century colonial Australia, tramping based globalisation, and Australia’s reliance on old wooden, rigged vessels to build a nation economically and outrun the Age of Steam. Through the production of a multiphasic vessel biography, using a Build, Use, Loss, Survival, Investigation (BULSI) system methodology, unique inferences of these wider maritime themes and a more holistic historic shipwreck study was achieved. The vessel biography, when compared and contrasted against a contextual chronology, expands beyond the history and archaeology of a single ship. The interrogation and synthesis of these two independent datasets, archaeology and archival/historical documents, effectively demonstrate how one particular ship can provide a broad insight into the sociocultural issues of the midnineteenth century maritime world.

Phased redevelopment of an ancient Gunditjmara fish trap over the past 800 years: Muldoons Trap Complex, Lake Condah, southwestern Victoria

Ian J. McNiven, Joe Crouch, Thomas Richards, Kale Sniderman, Nic Dolby and Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Critics point out that a weakness of Lourandos’ ‘intensification’ paradigm for southwestern Victoria is a lack of dates for iconic fish traps of the Lake Condah region. McNiven et al. (2012) detailed excavations at Muldoons Trap Complex at Lake Condah in Gunditjmara Country, where charcoal recovered from channel infill sediments indicated initial construction at least 6600 cal. BP, making the site one of the world’s oldest known fish traps. Channel excavations also revealed the addition of basalt block walls dating to ca 600–800 cal. BP. Subsequent excavations at a second location at Muldoons demonstrate that a barrier/dam feature associated with artificial ponding of flood waters and containment of eels was added to the site complex ca 300–500 cal. BP and possibly elaborated in the nineteenth century. These results show that Muldoons Trap Complex underwent phased redevelopment and major elaboration over the past 800 years. This redevelopment followed little or no activity during the preceding 4000 years, which we argue reflected drier climatic conditions and the inability of flood waters to reach the site. Use of the site complex 5400–6600 and <800 years ago took advantage of regional increases in effective precipitation and lake water levels. Redevelopment of Muldoons Trap Complex within the past 800 years coincided with increased use of occupation sites across the broader region. Importantly, our research presents a methodological way forward to document the history of construction and use of stone-walled fish traps in the Lake Condah region.

Direct dating of resin hafted point technology in Australia

Tim Maloney, Rachel Wood, Sue O’Connor and Rose Whitau

The rare recovery of hafting technology from archaeological deposits around the world prevents a clear picture of Palaeolithic hafting arrangements. Without the recovery of hafted stone tools, our understanding of this technology is limited to extrapolation from artefact morphology and ethnographic analogy, and such is the case in Australia. Here we present a direct date of 3160–2954 cal. BP, obtained from resin on a stone point recovered from Carpenters Gap 1 rockshelter in northern Western Australia. This artefact fits the description of point technology in Australia, being a retouched flake with converging margins, and provides the first direct date of hafting resin in situ on a stone tool from the Australian continent. The hafting arrangement of a stone point during the mid- to late Holocene is archaeologically visible for the first time in Australia. This point was hafted using resin adhesive as well as wound binding material. This rare artefact is used to discuss the current interpretations of technological change in the Holocene record of Australia and the direct dating process.

A composite model of scraper variation: a case study from the Stud Creek catchment, northwest NSW

Trudy Doelman and Grant W.G. Cochrane

Morphological variation of scrapers from two artefact concentrations in the Stud Creek catchment, northwest New South Wales (NSW) is examined to investigate whether variation in retouch fits best with a segmented, continuum or composite model. Technological and typological analyses are used to characterise morphological variation. The results clearly show that a composite model, associated with a plurality in the purposes of retouching and in the nature of tool-use prior to discard, is applicable. We argue that the cautious use of typology, requiring phases of hypothesis development and testing, can play an important role in elucidating the nature of morphological variation.

Beyond a suggestive morphology: were Wardaman stone points exclusively spear armatures?

Jared Brindley and Chris Clarkson

Stone points were introduced across northern Australia during the mid-Holocene. The reasons behind this novel technological development are unclear but, given their morphology, an obvious interpretation is that they were used as spear tips. However, others have theorised that points, along with backed artefacts elsewhere, may have been multifunctional tools. This paper tests the hypothesis that lithic points were primarily spear tips by applying a macrofracture analysis, supported by experimentation, in order to identify diagnostic impact fractures on a large sample of points from Wardaman Country in the Northern Territory. The analysis suggests that points were rarely used as spear tips overall, though they were more commonly employed as projectiles when first introduced to Wardaman Country and when transported away from large residential sites to regions where mobile hunting equipment might be expected.

Broadcasting, listening and the mysteries of public engagement: an investigation of the AAA online audience

Jacqueline Matthews and Lynley A. Wallis

For several years now the Australian Archaeological Association (AAA) has been expanding its online presence through the Association’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account. In order to ascertain whether these activities are worth the investment of time and energy required to pursue and maintain them, an audience survey was undertaken. Coupled with interrogation of Facebook and Twitter user data, the survey results were assessed to understand better AAA’s online audience, the value of particular kinds of content, and the online platforms and their use, in order to tailor the Association’s efforts. Results show surprising uptake and use by all age groups, despite the common perception that social media users are predominantly ‘young’. Our overall assessment is that a strong understanding of one’s audience leads to more sophisticated use of online media, which is proving essential to achieving the objects and purposes of the Association in terms of public education and the dissemination of archaeological information, allowing a much broader audience beyond the Association’s own membership base to be reached.

Editorial December 2015

Sandra Bowdler, Vicky Winton, Kate Morse, Joe Dortch and Jane Balme

It is a great privilege to take over the editorial duties for Australian Archaeology, the premier academic journal for the dissemination of Australian archaeological research. Perhaps our most important task is to acknowledge the previous editorial team, Heather Burke and Lynley Wallis and, before them, Annie Ross and Sean Ulm, who together have raised the journal to the level it now occupies, as a Tier A journal of international reach and consequence, which covers the gamut of archaeological inquiry (Indigenous, historical, maritime, rock art) in Australia and its near neighbours. It is our task to carry on and extend the traditions of academic quality and stringent research standards already established.

To introduce our team, Emeritus Professor Sandra Bowdler, with a background of research mainly in Aboriginal Australia, assumes the role of Editor, and her job is to oversee the team and co-ordinate their efforts in distributing submissions to appropriate referees, compiling referees’ reports and providing appropriate feedback and assessment to submitters, proof-reading all papers and seeing them through to the final publication process. Two Assistant Editors have been appointed, Dr Kate Morse and Dr Vicky Winton. Kate’s expertise lies in Aboriginal Australian archaeology with extensive experience in Western Australia. Vicky formerly specialised in lithics of the British Palaeolithic and now researches Aboriginal archaeology in Western Australia. Dr Jane Balme and Dr Joe Dortch are AA consulting editors, whose breadth and depth of experience in Australian archaeology provide a solid sounding-board for resolving editorial quandaries. We would also like to introduce you to our Editorial Assistant, Wendy Reynen.  Wendy, now a PhD student in Archaeology at UWA after more than five years’ experience as a consulting archaeologist, will have contacted some of you already with respect to submissions and book reviews for AA.

In our bid for the editorship (presented at the AAA Annual Conference in 2014), we expressed the hope that we would continue with the current breadth of approach, without losing the original focus on Australian archaeological research, and to be the place to which people naturally turn for the latest research and ideas about Australian archaeology. We hope also to maintain the desire expressed by both sets of previous editors to recognise diversity by achieving an acceptable gender balance amongst contributors, encouraging contributions from non-university based researchers, and increasing participation at all levels by our Indigenous colleagues. We hope also to play a positive mentoring role for younger members of the profession.

Without taking unwarranted credit, we would like to note, with respect to diversity, that in our first issue there are five articles by 16 named authors. Of the latter, seven are women and one is an Aboriginal Corporation, so that is setting a good standard! For the future, we will be seeking to increase Indigenous involvement in the journal, not just in terms of contributors, but also in terms of referees, book reviewers, members of the Editorial Advisory Board and any other appropriate capacities. We urge non-Indigenous contributors to continue to think of creative ways to involve our Indigenous colleagues, who, while they may not be trained academics, will have other intellectual and productive contributions to make.

In particular, we encourage our younger scholars to submit articles, even knowing they may not yet be quite perfect (and bear in mind, nothing is). At AA, your paper will be read by appropriate senior colleagues and we want you to get the best possible advice. We recognise that the shift from writing as a supervised student to undergoing criticism as an independent researcher can be tough. Do not give up! Take constructive advice on board, and benefit from the experience.

With this in mind, we also reiterate to our reviewers that we want you to be as positive and constructive as you can. High-handed negative assessments, personal allusions or sarcastic commentaries are not appropriate. We suggest that all our referees think hard about the need for hiding their identity. In a relatively small profession, there will sometimes be perceived animus amongst colleagues, and discretion may be best. On the other hand, allowing your name to be associated with your report will ensure that you remain within the bounds of civility and positive comment. It also allows the recipient of your comments to appreciate your experience in a particular area of interest, and lets them know what experience you are sharing with them.

Many of you will know that we are moving towards a new and exciting (or terrifying) mode of journal production and, possibly by the time you read this, AA will be being published under the aegis of international publishers Taylor and Francis. We believe there are great benefits to be had here in terms of finance, and also with respect to a new, smoother handling of subscriptions, and a more streamlined mode of production for the editorial team. You will be receiving three issues a year rather than two, and the new arrangement will also provide a much wider international access for AA, with respect to its dissemination through world-wide institutions.

There are also some possible drawbacks, with respect, for instance, to the availability of recent issues to non-members. We will, however, do our best to maintain a personal editorial connection with our contributors particularly, so that you do not find yourself dealing only with impersonal simulacra of ourselves.

We are adopting some new publication policies in-house. Foremost among these is that we would like to redefine the “Short Report”. Currently, it is functioning more as a somewhat short article, rather than a research report. In future, we would like to see Short Reports of no longer than 1500 words which consist of a crisp announcement of research projects, preferably with a summary of results.

Editorial June 2015


Heather Burke and Lynley A. Wallis

We are pleased to commence this Editorial with some information about AA’s international standing. When compared to the major archaeology journals according to the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) scheme, AA sits just outside the top ten, with an SJR value of 0.874 for 2013 (2014 data are not yet available). This is the highest SJR the journal has received, up from 0.499 in 2012 and 0.842 in 2011. In 2014, for the first time, AA was also listed in the Thomson Reuters Current Contents/Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Social Sciences Citation Indices. For the latter we received an impact factor of 1.268, placing us 22nd out of all archaeology-related journals in the world. These are extremely pleasing results that are testimony to the high quality of the contributions received and published by AA.

One challenge that the journal will face in coming years is the increasing focus on journal metrics. With AA primarily reaching a domestic audience, we have noticed a concerning trend whereby some Australian archaeologists are choosing to publish their significant research findings in international journals with a presumably wider reach. Consequently, these papers—likely to be highly cited—are not enhancing or improving local impact factors. If this trend continues, the strong international standing of journals such as AA will potentially decline, so we encourage authors to remember that AA is a highly regarded publication internationally and should be a genuine first choice for publishing significant material. With our online availability through JSTOR, and the ability of authors to circulate their papers on platforms such as Researchgate and, as well as through the AAA Twitter and Facebook platforms, international colleagues are easily able to access papers published in AA.

Moving beyond our colleagues, the world of social media, including Twitter, the blogosphere and Facebook, has greatly enhanced the opportunities for AAA to reach members of the general public, a goal that is part of the core business of the Association. As recent research has demonstrated (see Matthews and Wallis 2015; Wallis and Matthews 2013), followers of these social media platforms have increased substantially in recent years. While very few members of the general public will ever take the time to read a journal article aimed at academics, many of them do seek out high quality information such as that delivered by the commissioned blog posts of AA. Experience has shown that few authors (though there are some notable exceptions) have the inclination to prepare blogs about their research, since such posts do not ‘count’ as publications on their CVs, or understand how writing a blog for a general audience is different to writing an article for an academic one. The service that AA provides for authors by disseminating research to a wider general audience via the journal blog is another benefit of choosing to publish with us. This is an excellent means by which local communities and the people with whom researchers work can find out about the outcomes of research, and is an important part of ethical practice.

On a completely different note, we would like to congratulate Sean Ulm, Julie Jerbic and the rest of the Organising Committee and volunteers for organising an excellent conference in Cairns in December 2014. It was exciting to see so many new faces and hear about the range of research being undertaken, at least some of which we know will be featuring in future editions of AA. We’d also like to offer our hearty congratulations to Jo McDonald and Peter Veth, who were awarded the 2014 Ulm-Ross Prize for their paper entitled ‘Rock art in arid landscapes: Pilbara and Western Desert petroglyphs’. Thanks to Sean Ulm, ben Gunn and Vincent Megaw who served on the judging panel. Congratulations to all of those who won other prizes and awards at the conference, including the recipients of Small Boy and Big Man awards, especially Tom Sapienza for taking out the top gong with a Twitter rant about the size of Peter Veth’s head (a warning to those attending the conference in Fremantle in 2015: don’t sit behind Pete!).

In terms of research funding, archaeology did very well in the late 2014 ARC round grant announcements. Congratulations to Martin Polkinghorne, Sarah Hayes, Tiina Manne, Jessica Thompson and Rachel Wood, who were all awarded DECRAs, and to Judith Field, Glenn Summerhayes, Alison Betters, Marika Vicziany, Angelo Di Castro, John Dodson, Dexin Cong, Xiao Li, Philip Salzman, Annie Clarke, Jude Philip, Robin Torrence, Chantal Knowles, Richard Cosgrove, Jillian Garvey, John Webb, Nicola Stern, Zenobia Jacobs, Simon McClusky, Ian Williams, Colin Murray-Wallace, Rainer Grun, Tim Denham, Colin Hope, Gillian Bowen, Iain Gardner, John Tibby, Patrick Moss, Melanie Leng, Jeremy Shakun, Nigel Spooner, Hsiao-chun Hung, Michael Carson, Dougald O’Reilly, Louise Shewan, Richard Armstrong, Samsung Lim, Nigel Chang, Kate Domett, Sian Halcrow, Sally Treloyn, Nicholas Thieberger, Mary Anne Jebb, Kimberley Christen and Andrew Dowding, who were all awarded archaeology or heritage-related Discovery grants (apologies if we missed anyone!). And a final, extra large congratulations to Matthew Spriggs, Michael Bird and Alan Cooper, who were all awarded Australian Laureate Fellowships.

This volume brings another veritable feast of research from around Australia. Kicking off AA80, freshly minted Dr Daryl Wesley (with Mirani Litster) looks at glass beads from sites in the Wellington Range, and their role in cross-cultural interactions between Indigenous people, Macassans and Europeans. We then have several rock art-related offerings, two of which address issues of stylistic variation in particular motifs and the persistent problem of emic vs etic meaning that underlies rock art analysis. The first, by Alandra Tasire and Iain Davidson, tackles macropod motifs in the Sydney Basin, using anatomical design elements to construct stylistic zones and then compares and contrasts this patterning with existing arguments for rock art styles. Moving to the north of the continent, David Welch reassesses the claims for the presence of the extinct carnivore Thylacoleo in northern Australian rock art. Contrary to previous claims, he suggests that these are a case of mistaken identity, with the images actually having been meant to represent the now extinct thylacine. In South Australia, Amy Roberts and colleagues unravel the mystery of a dark coating associated with engraved motifs in the Ngaut Ngaut rockshelter on the Murray River, exploring its implications for rock art dating and site conservation.

David Guilfoyle and Myles Mitchell shift the focus to heritage management issues as they reflect on their experiences working with the Noongar community in southwest Australia and their attempts to use place-based participatory mapping to derive negotiated outcomes in a commercial consulting context. Presenting two case studies, they argue that this approach affords a best practice outcome that moves beyond mere compliance, offering food for thought for those working in the consulting arena. Also on the CHM front, Alice Buhrich and colleagues consider management issues relating to a particularly interesting though rare form of material culture, dendroglyphs in the Wet Tropics region.

Janelle Stevenson and colleagues report on a recent palaeoenvironmental study of Big Willum (Waandriipayn) Swamp on Cape York Peninsula and explore how these changes may be linked to changes in the archaeological record, particularly the most intensive period of shell mound formation and the commencement of earth mound building at nearby Wathayn.

Two further offerings will sate the interests of lithic-minded readers. Marika Low looks at the issue of standardisation in backed artefact production at two Hunter River valley sites originally excavated in the 1960s (when the imperial measurement system was still in use). In turn, Mike Smith and colleagues consider what residues and use-wear on a classic ethnographic seed-grinder reveal, finding that the long use-lives and opportunistic use of these implements for other tasks greatly complicate interpretation of their microscopic signatures.

Several short reports present results from recent excavations. In another paper that draws inspiration from Charlie Dortch (who was the focus of AA79’s themed section), Carly Monks and colleagues present results from two midden excavations on the central Western Australian coastline. Kat Szabo and colleagues present results from the analysis of the first known natural pearl recovered from a shell midden deposit in a cave on the Kimberley coastline. Turning to the Northern Territory, another recently minted PhD, Denis Shine, and colleagues present results from the excavation of Bindjarran rockshelter.

Finally, there are some major changes in store for the journal which will be unfolding over the coming year. In terms of recent changes to the AA Editorial Advisory Board (EAB), we offer thanks to retiring members Val Attenbrow and Judith Littleton, and issue a formal welcome to Nathan Woolford, who joined the team in late 2014. More importantly, if you were at the Cairns AAA Conference in December you will know that the decision was made by the EAB and the Executive to progress a proposal to move AA to an online publishing house. You will also know that this is our last editorial, and that a new Editorial team, comprising Sandra Bowdler, Kate Morse, Vicky Winton, Jane Balme and Joe Dortch, will be taking over the helm in July. The new Editors will let members know what the implications of the move to on-line publication will be in the near future, but suffice it to say here that this option will offer a range of benefits to members and authors, and should result in an even better service and product for all involved.

We would like to offer a final thanks to everyone who has assisted us with the production of AA over the past several years, but particularly Susan Arthure, Tiina Manne, Claire St George, Alice Gorman, Jane Lydon, Sean Winter, John Reid, Grant Woolard, Mark Pearce, Sarah Lelliott, Don Caldwell, Richard Arrowsmith and all the Flinders University ArchSoc volunteers—producing the journal was genuinely a team effort every time and we were blessed to work with some of the best. We wish the best of luck to the new Editorial team for AA81, and hope to see many of you at AAA2015 in Fremantle in December.

Goodbye from Wallis and Grommet!


Matthews, J. and L.A. Wallis 2015 Broadcasting, listening and the mysteries of public engagement: An investigation of the AAA online audience. Australian Archaeology 81 (accepted for publication).

Wallis, L.A. and J. Matthews 2013 Is social media just for laughs? Insights from AAA’s 2013 social media survey. Unpublished poster presented at the AAA Annual Conference, Coffs Harbour, December 2013.

Erratum for AA79 

The following acknowledgements were inexplicably not printed with the paper entitled ‘Transforming the inedible to the edible: An analysis of the nutritional returns from Aboriginal nut processing in Queensland’s Wet Tropics’, by Anna Tuechler, Åsa Ferrier and Richard Cosgrove:

This work was conducted under an ARC Discovery grant (DP 0986579) and with the support of La Trobe University as part of a BA(Hons) thesis. We would like to thank late Jirrbal elder Maisie Barlow, Corrine Barlow and Ngadjonji elder Ernie Raymont for generously sharing their knowledge of traditional foods and the preparation of the four nut species studied in this project. Thank you to Ron and Deanna Stager, and Doug and Audrey Morris for their hospitality, and to Lars Larsson, Lawrence May, Paul Kajewski, Brad Ferrier, Melissa Dunk, Lincoln Steinberger, Duncan Jones and Helen McConnell for their help with the experimental work. We thank Jennie Brand-Miller and Judith Field for their advice on the chemical analyses and Wei Ming for production of the map. The nut specimens used in this work were collected under permit number WISP07417410 issued by the Department of Environment and Resource Management to AT.

The Brremangurey pearl: A 2000 year old archaeological find from the coastal Kimberley, Western Australia

The Brremangurey pearl (published in Australian Archaeology 80:113).

The Brremangurey pearl (published in Australian Archaeology 80:113).

Katherine Szabo, Brent Koppel, Mark W. Moore, Iain Young, Matthew Tighe and Michael J. Morwood

A small marine pearl was recovered at the Brremangurey rockshelter, on the Kimberley coast, from layers dating to approximately 2000 years ago. In an area famous for its pearls and history of cultured pearl production, public interest centred on whether the pearl was as old as the layer in which it was contained, or whether it was a recent cultured pearl that had infiltrated down from above. The near-spherical shape of the pearl hinted at a possible cultured origin. Owing to the uniqueness and historic cultural significance of this find, non-invasive analytical techniques were used to investigate whether the Brremangurey pearl was cultured or natural. Midden analysis was further used to assess the likely origin of the pearl within the stratified deposits. Analysis confirmed that the pearl is of natural origin and a dense midden lens of Pinctada albina shells is its likely origin.

The archaeology of Bindjarran rockshelter in Manilikarr Country, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

A male human figure with spears penetrating his body at Bindjarran (published in Australian Archaeology 80:106).

A male human figure with spears penetrating his body at Bindjarran (published in Australian Archaeology 80:106).

Denis Shine, Melissa Marshall, Duncan Wright, Tim Denham, Peter Hiscock, Geraldine Jacobsen and Sean-Paul Stephens

Archaeological excavations at Bindjarran rockshelter in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, have revealed evidence of human settlement on the East Alligator River floodplain from the terminal Pleistocene through to the twentieth century. This excavation report summarises the archaeological, ethnographic and rock art research from the site, focusing on dated distributions of stone artefacts. The findings from Bindjarran conform to archaeological findings from previously investigated sites in the region and contribute to a greater understanding of Aboriginal society in this region during the Big Swamp phase, Freshwater phase and in the last 600 years.

Mid-Holocene exploration of marine molluscs in the lower Mid West, Western Australia

Map of the lower Mid West Coastline showing location of midden sites (published in Australian Archaeology 80:100).

Map of the lower Mid West Coastline showing location of midden sites (published in Australian Archaeology 80:100).

Carly Monks, Bob Sheppard and Joe Dortch

This paper presents the results of investigations of two newly recorded sites: the Oakajee midden north of Geraldton, and the North Head midden near Jurien Bay, both in Western Australia (WA). The Oakajee midden is situated in a dune complex containing open artefact concentrations and other archaeological sites. The North Head midden is eroding from a shallow dune atop a limestone cliff overlooking a wavecut rock platform. These middens contribute to the sparse data on mid- to late Holocene marine resource exploitation along the WA coastline. The results of radiocarbon analyses show that midden deposition ceased ca 3000 cal. BP. We suggest that this change reflects a decline in littoral resource exploitation following the stabilisation of Holocene sea levels, when environmental and geomorphological conditions altered the availability and accessibility of estuarine and littoral molluscs.

Attributes, preservation and management of dendroglyphs from the Wet Tropics rainforest of northeast Australia

Alice Buhrich taking measurements of the Culpa dendroglyph (published in AA80:94).

Alice Buhrich taking measurements of the Culpa dendroglyph (published in Australian Archaeology 80:94).

Alice Buhrich, Asa Ferrier and Gordon Grimwade

This paper describes the attributes, preservation and management of Aboriginal dendroglyphs in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of northeast Australia, the only known dendroglyphs recorded in a tropical rainforest environment worldwide. Our research identifies that dendroglyphs are usually single trees with abstract linear or figurative designs carved into their outer bark and are often associated with Aboriginal walking tracks and other cultural sites. Using existing historical field notes and records, including a fibreglass model of one carving made in 1991, we conclude that the dendroglyphs have changed little over 20 years. They appear to be more resilient to extreme climatic events than previously predicted, and the main threat to their preservation appears to be vulnerability from the effects of ageing, such as insect and fungal attack. Difficulties for traditional owners in accessing dendroglyphs within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area highlight tensions between natural and cultural site management practices.

Compliance-based archaeological heritage management and place-based participatory mapping for negotiated outcomes

View of the coastal zone of the project area, near the archaeological site known as 'Kurda Canyon' (published in Australian Archaeology 80:83).

View of the coastal zone of the project area, near the archaeological site known as ‘Kurda Canyon’ (published in Australian Archaeology 80:83).

David R. Guilfoyle and Myles B. Mitchell

This paper examines how place-based participatory mapping in a commercial context creates a framework for negotiated outcomes in the protection and management of cultural heritage. The analysis presents a critical reflection on two case studies from southwest Western Australia, with particular focus on how the work was undertaken in a commercial context, and the contrasting outcomes between the case studies. The approach directly addresses many of the limitations of compliance-based (or commercial) heritage management, with greater scope to integrate traditional owner values and knowledge. The negotiation of archaeological and Aboriginal values, regulatory frameworks and the aspirations of proponents can pose a range of ethical, theoretical, methodological and practical challenges. These challenges are best met by further development of participatory approaches via practical application and a commitment by consulting archaeologists to work beyond compliance, towards best practice solutions through negotiated outcomes.

Mapping a millstone: The dynamics of use-wear and residues on a Central Australian seed-grinding implement

The Central Australian millstone used in this study (published in Australian Archaeology 80:71).

The Central Australian millstone used in this study (published in Australian Archaeology 80:71).

Mike Smith, Elspeth Hayes and Birgitta Stephenson

Despite continuing interest in whether plant residues and microwear can give an archaeological ‘signature’ for the grinding of grain, few studies have looked at what is actually present on ethnographic seed-grinders. In this paper, we map the distribution of use-polish and residues on a classic Central Australian millstone. We begin by setting out an explanatory ‘cradle-to-grave’ model of the dynamics of millstones to assist our interpretations. We then apply various methods of functional analysis to map the distribution of microwear and residues across the millstone. Several dynamics are evident: (1) the kinetics of grinding create spatial variability in use-polish and residues; (2) systemic factors lead to a palimpsest of different residues, not all of which relate to the major function of the implement; and (3) various systemic factors degrade some of the traces on millstones well before they are buried. Our results for this Central Australian millstone show that there is substantial variability within and between grinding grooves, reflecting the continuing attrition of these surfaces. Starch, which was presumably a primary residue, is poorly preserved, even on the most recent ground surfaces. There is a diversity of other residues present, reflecting secondary use of this millstone as an impromptu work surface. We conclude that the long systemic use-lives of these durable implements can complicate their identification as seed-grinders, and raise issues for future functional research.

Investigating standardisation in the form of backed artefacts at two sites in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

Example of a Bondi point from Bobadeen (published in Australian Archaeology 80:62).

Example of a Bondi point from Bobadeen (published in Australian Archaeology 80:62).

Marika A. Low

Backed artefacts formed a significant component of hunter-gatherer stone tool-kits dating to the mid- to late Holocene in Australia. A popular model explaining this pattern views backed artefacts as standardised components of reliable and maintainable composite tools designed to reduce risk associated with foraging in a drier, more variable climate. Implied is the idea that there is a minimal range of variation in form. The degree to which backed artefacts were standardised, however, remains unclear. Re-analysis of backed artefacts from Sandy Hollow and Bobadeen in the Hunter River valley, excavated in the 1960s, was undertaken to assess standardisation in the metrical attributes of backed forms. Results highlight the standardisation of backed artefacts, though the degree to which different dimensions appear uniform varies between the two assemblages. The width of backed artefacts, however, appears to be an important dimension, and minimal variation in width was produced by knappers at both sites, irrespective of whether the samples were arranged into technological subtypes. Overall, the results of this analysis provide support in favour of the model which views backed artefacts as standardised tool components. Future research must be directed towards gaining a better understanding of the reasons for this standardisation.

A fine-grained analysis of the macropod motif in the rock art of the Sydney region, Australia

Examples of stylistic categories of macropods: (a) naturalistic, (b) perceptual, (c) schematic and (d) intended (published in Australian Archaeology 80:50).

Examples of stylistic categories of macropods: (a) naturalistic, (b) perceptual, (c) schematic and (d) intended (published in Australian Archaeology 80:50).

Alandra K. Tasire and Iain Davidson

The purpose of this study is to determine whether a fine-grained analysis of variation in the macropod motif across the Sydney region demonstrates similar or different patterns when compared with previous stylistic studies of the area. Here we discuss the figurative representation of the macropod motif. We discuss the syntax of the rock art using concepts of conventions, language and symbols to interpret macropod stylistic representation. We show how a fine-grained assessment of both frequencies of design elements and measurements of shape complements previous regional stylistic studies by demonstrating how stylistic regions are multilayered and not definite. The paper suggests new stylistic zones that future work can test, and demonstrates that these zones do not correspond simply with one widely used reconstruction of language distributions.

Thy Thylacoleo is a thylacine

Man spearing a 'large' striped quadruped alleged to represent Thylacoleo (published in Australian Archaeology 80:41).

Man spearing a ‘large’ striped quadruped alleged to represent Thylacoleo (published in Australian Archaeology 80:41).

David Welch

In 2009 two Kimberley rock art paintings were reported as representing Australia’s extinct marsupial lion, Thylacoleo carnifex (Akerman 2009; Akerman and Willing 2009). The first painting was re-examined and confirmed as a representation of Thylacoleo (Woodhouse 2012). Some researchers now refer to the presence of Thylacoleo in Kimberley rock art to support further theories about northern Australian rock art and prehistoric events. This paper argues the case that both paintings represent the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus, Tasmanian tiger) and not Thylacoleo. Distinctive attributes of the thylacine, present in both paintings, are described. Thylacine paintings are common in the Kimberley and appear in a variety of shapes, sizes, postures and artistic styles. Neither painting is from the Pleistocene; the first is superimposed over earlier human figures, and, stylistically, neither belongs to the Archaic Period in the Kimberley rock art sequence. Thylacines became extinct on mainland Australia following the arrival of the dingo approximately 3500 years ago (Paddle 2000:20), while Thylacoleo is argued to have become extinct approximately 46,000 years ago (Roberts et al. 2001).

A multidisciplinary investigation of a rock coating at Ngaut Ngaut (Devons Downs), South Australia

An example of a tortoise motif at Ngaut Ngaut engraving into the dark rock coating (published in Australian Archaeology 80:34).

An example of a tortoise motif at Ngaut Ngaut engraving into the dark rock coating (published in Australian Archaeology 80:34).

Amy Roberts, Isobelle Campbell, Allan Pring, Graham Bell, Alan Watchman, Rachel S. Popelka-Filcoff, Claire E. Lenehan, Christopher T. Gibson, Natalie Franklin and the Mannum Aboriginal Community Association Inc.

This paper presents the results of a multidisciplinary investigation into a dark rock coating at the Ngaut Ngaut heritage complex in South Australia (SA) using geological and botanical examination, Raman microscopy, x-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and infrared analyses. The coating analysed contains a mixture of calcite, quartz, gypsum and weddellite. The presence of calcite and quartz can be explained by the underlying clastic fossiliferous limestone, while the most probable explanation for the origin of the gypsum is via ground water. The weddellite was likely formed from solutions derived from the reaction of calcite with oxalic acid through the intervention of surface microflora, such as algae. This article provides the first record of weddellite in any context in SA. These findings have a number of implications—one being that the oxalate mineral in the rock coating could potentially be used to conduct accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon analysis and thereby refine our understanding of the rock art chronology at Ngaut Ngaut. A greater understanding of the rates of accumulation may also be useful for management purposes, as the nature of the rock coating may be contributing to long-term exfoliation. Indeed, it is argued that algal colonisation of the limestone (together with other probable microfloral activities) is likely involved in the production of a film over the porous surface, leading to salt weathering.

The palaeoenvironmental history of Big Willum Swamp, Weipa: An environmental context for the archaeological recordThe palaeoenvironmental history of Big Willum Swamp, Weipa: An environmental context for the archaeological record

Location map for Big Willum Swamp, Weipa, western Cape York Peninsula (published in Australian Archaeology 80:20).

Location map for Big Willum Swamp, Weipa, western Cape York Peninsula (published in Australian Archaeology 80:20).

Janelle Stevenson, Sally Brockwell, Cassandra Rowe, Ulrike Proske and Justin Shiner

The environmental history of Big Willum (Waandriipayn) Swamp and the surrounding landscape is reconstructed for the last 8000 years through the analysis of pollen, charcoal and mineral magnetics. The data provide a Holocene record of vegetation and fire in an area where few records exist. Swamp initiation at Big Willum began prior to 8000 cal. BP, with swamp-like conditions maintained until 2200 cal. BP, after which it became a permanent deep water body, reaching its present day extent between 600–400 cal. BP. From 7000–1200 cal. BP the surrounding woodland was essentially stable. Fire is present throughout the record, with only one period of pronounced burning outside of the historic period, at around 1000 cal. BP, leading to a slightly more open understorey/woodland. The hydrological change at 2200 cal. BP that led to Big Willum becoming a more permanent water body overlaps with the end of the most intensive period of shell mound formation and the commencement of earth mound building at nearby Wathayn. This is suggestive that change in, or diversification of, mound types may in part be linked to environmental transformations in the late Holocene. One possibility is that greater water security allowed for increasing and more permanent exploitation of inland locations.

Obituary: James Semple Kerr (1932-2014)


Jim at Fremantle Prison.

Jim at Fremantle Prison (courtesy of Fremantle Herald).

By Richard Mackay, AM

GML Heritage, 78 George Street, Redfern NSW 2016, Australia

James Semple (‘Jim’) Kerr, (b. 6 July 1932 d. 15 October 2014) AM, was a pioneering heritage administrator, architectural historian and heritage practitioner. Jim influenced cultural heritage management practice in Australia over a long time and made an immeasurable contribution, from key roles in heritage organisations, through involvement in drafting key doctrinal material for Australia ICOMOS, to his magnum opus, The Conservation Plan. Reflecting on the scope of this contribution, perhaps readers who are professional practitioners might contemplate how often each has cited him in submissions or reports and, conversely, how often Kerr cited each of you?

Jim was born William James Semple Kerr on 6 July 1932, in Rockhampton. To his family he was known as ‘Billjim’. With his sisters he was initially schooled at home on Hampden Downs Station, but later attended Toowoomba Preparatory School and then King’s School, Parramatta. After school, Jim was a member of the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve and represented Queensland, and later New South Wales (NSW), in rowing, narrowly missing selection as part of the Australian team for the 1956 Olympics.

In 1960 Jim married Joan Lyndon (1938–2004) (whom he had met in 1956), at All Saints, Brisbane. Joan was an art and architectural historian, as well as a critical thinker, but above all, she was a lifelong soul mate for Jim. Together and separately the ‘Drs Kerr’ (as James Broadbent would come to call them), were scholarly, rigorous, intellectually formidable and socially convivial. However, at the time of their wedding, their shared interest in art, architecture and heritage was yet to assert itself.

Jim landed a job with Qantas in 1961 and worked in Geneva and London in the early 1960s. During this period, as well as commencing their family together, Jim and and Joan enjoyed lectures on art and architectural history at the Warburg Institute and the Courtauld, and later with Nikolaus Pevsner at Birkbeck College. After a stint in Sydney between 1968 and 1972 they both returned to the United Kingdom, where Jim enrolled in the then brand new Diploma of Architectural Conservation at the University of York. In 1974 both Jim and Joan commenced PhDs at the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, also at the University of York. Jim’s doctoral thesis was published in 1984 as Design for Convicts, which remains a classic reference for Australian convict architecture.

After returning to Australia the Kerr family settled in Murdoch Street, Cremorne, in Sydney. Jim was appointed Assistant Director at the NSW National Trust, then in 1978 became Assistant Director at the relatively-new Australian Heritage Commission. Resigning in 1980, (having served exactly the two years he had promised when accepting the position), he returned to Sydney and spent the next 30 years as consultant, author, volunteer, expert and mentor. His connection with the NSW National Trust was invigorated by roles as Chair of the Historic Buildings Committee and advisor on historic cemeteries.

Jim is rightly honoured and should be remembered for his contribution to the discipline and process of cultural heritage management. Edward de Bono, of the Six Thinking Hats fame, has perspicaciously observed that brilliant people are apparent because they can see, looking forward, the side tracks away from the ‘path most travelled’ that often lead to highly productive innovation. Looking back, these side routes are readily apparent, but many cannot see them looking ahead—Jim’s contribution to cultural heritage was like this.

He was able to determine, looking ahead, paths for heritage conservation that today, with the benefit of hindsight, seem

self-evident as best practice. Through a distinguished career Jim determined processes and standards that are now commonplace and obvious, but they weren’t at the time of their inception. At the heart of the Kerr approach was the rigour that separated understanding heritage ‘values’ (to be conserved) from ‘issues’ (to be managed). While focused on buildings, the Kerr methodology engaged with both the importance of evidence and the tension between those who saw the heritage as something for experts alone, and those who conceived heritage significance as something much broader, that might involve divergent community views. He valued places for their formal ‘aesthetic’ qualities, as physical ‘evidence’ and for their ‘association’, whether represented by fabric or not. This thinking profoundly influenced and supported a multidisciplinary approach and was particularly accommodating of the emergence of archaeology as a legitimate element within the heritage discourse of the 1970s and early 1980s. Along the way, Jim was a tireless contributor to the drafting of the Burra Charter of Australia ICOMOS and its related practice guidelines.

Jim’s best known volume, The Conservation Plan, was first published by the NSW National Trust in 1982 and quickly became a standard reference; it is still widely cited and used by heritage professionals, government agencies and property owners. Its strength, throughout seven editions and 12 printing impressions, has been a simple, logical process and alignment with the philosophy and principles of the Burra Charter. The Conservation Plan explains, through examples, how to read the fabric of places, to understand their multiple values and to use that knowledge to make well-informed decisions. Importantly, this work (and the Burra Charter) moved the underlying message and approach of conservation from preventing change to managing change intelligently. The Kerr methodology has exerted global influence, and can be readily seen in contemporary conservation principles in China, England, Wales and Scotland.

Jim was a thorough researcher; one of a rare breed who can undertake primary research, read the fabric of a site and synthesise practical approaches for management. But, reflecting his commitment to reach wider communities through dissemination of his work, and a love of sharing the fruits of his endeavours, he was also an inveterate author and publisher. His numerous published conservation plans comprehensively chronicle major cultural heritage sites such as Goat Island, Cockatoo Island, Admiralty House, Parramatta Gaol, the Sydney Observatory, Yungaba Immigration Depot, Tamworth Gaol and Fremantle Prison. His Conservation Plan for the Sydney Opera House, now in its second phase, reflects and acknowledges the design principles of this twentieth century icon, while recognising that it must evolve to continue as an internationally-significant performance space.

Jim’s contribution has been well recognised with a NSW National Trust Lifetime Achievement Award (jointly with Joan) (1995), Honorary Life Membership of Australia ICOMOS (2003) and the NSW National Trust (2007), and as a Member of the Order of Australia (1999) ‘for service to heritage conservation through organisations including the Australian International Council on Monuments and Sites, and The New South Wales Branch of the National Trust of Australia’.

Jim died on Wednesday 15 October 2014, at Willoughby, NSW. Ordering and cataloguing of his extensive personal papers, and those of his wife, Joan, as well as records of the family history that had been his last project, were, as always, completed to specification and on time. As well as a vast array of primary and published material, Jim kept detailed records of his own research and site analyses; generally prepared by hand and carefully filed in multiple drawers of elegant card files. It now falls to his family to lodge this outstanding research archive—comprising both primary documentation and evidence of a seminal period of conservation thinking and methodology—with the National Library and other institutions.

Jim is survived by his children, Tamsin and James, five grandchildren, a cohort of grateful colleagues, and an extensive set of exemplar publications.

Jim always took particular aversion to the use of the word ‘unique’ and I have had draft material duly returned to me with the word crossed out and the word ‘unusual’ written in its place in his famously neat handwriting. However, that acknowledged, in the current circumstance, the term unique does apply—Jim Kerr was, and is, a unique part of our shared heritage.

Obituary: Gaye Nayton


Archaeology, School of Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia <>

Dr Gaye Nayton suffered a suspected embolism and passed away in her sleep on 5 December 2013, aged 59. As a result, Australia lost a vocal champion of heritage, and our discipline lost a practitioner with an extensive knowledge of Western Australian historical archaeology.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Gaye arrived with her two daughters, Jennie and Kellie, in Western Australia (WA) in 1982, intending to make a new life for her family. Gaye had developed a passion for archaeology after a trip to Egypt as a teenager and, after settling in to her new home, commenced an Arts degree in the newly established Archaeology Department at The University of WA. She completed her undergraduate degree in 1989, writing her honours thesis on the wreck of the Sirius.

After graduating, Gaye set up her own archaeology consultancy in the early 1990s, specialising in historical archaeology. This was a significant event for historical archaeology in WA, as, for much of the time it was operating, Gaye’s company was the primary organisation working on historical archaeological sites in the state. Her company eventually completed over 200 heritage projects and, in her contribution to countless conservation plans, provided a basis for the protection and management of many heritage places. She worked on numerous significant sites, including Fremantle Prison, Government House, Mundaring Weir, the Moir Homestead, numerous convict and early settler sites, and in particular, Old Onslow, Broome and Cossack.

It was these three latter places on which Gaye focused her PhD, which was awarded in 2012. Her thesis examined market capitalism and its impact on shaping the development of WA during the 19th century. Based on her doctoral research she subsequently produced a book, The Archaeology of Market Capitalism: A Western Australian Perspective, which, to date, is the only published work that concentrates solely on the historical archaeology of WA. Gaye was in the final stages of writing a second book at the time of her death, which is to be published posthumously.

Gaye’s contribution to both academic and commercial archaeology in WA was significant. However, Gaye’s greatest contribution to the state’s heritage was her tireless public service in the promotion of archaeology and heritage advocacy. She was the State Coordinator for National Archaeology Week, the State Representative for the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology and was intrinsically involved in grass roots education initiatives. She was also a regular and active participant at national and international conferences. She was a strong advocate for heritage matters, providing an expert perspective on endangered sites, especially Cossack, which was particularly dear to her heart.

Gaye also had a passion for public archaeology. She regularly involved volunteers in her work, and worked hard to engage the public in the history and heritage of their state. She spent countless hours visiting schools, working with children and passing on her love of archaeology. Gaye developed a range of archaeological educational materials, including lesson plans for primary school teachers, hands-on archaeology kits, and videos explaining the archaeological process. She developed these simply because of her passion for archaeology, and disseminated them for free. At the time of her death she was involved in developing ‘Archaeological Fun Boxes’, which are kits containing a range of archaeological materials to be used by teachers to explain archaeological procedures to students. It was exciting to see the public getting behind this initiative via crowd sourcing efforts.

After her death her family felt that her archaeological field equipment should be bequeathed to the UWA Archaeology Department, to be used in the training of up-and-coming student archaeologists. Her large library of books, reports and other material was also bequeathed to various libraries and historical societies. In particular, the various archaeological reports she produced have been included in the catalogue of the Battye Library, WA’s repository for historical documents.

Gaye was an integral part of our national archaeological community, a tireless promoter of heritage issues in WA and someone who regularly championed endangered archaeological sites and heritage places. Her contribution to the discipline was not through academic output—she did not write hundreds of papers and books, win major grants, or lead major projects. Instead, she worked at the grass roots level, quietly championing archaeology and heritage, working with countless children, and using her enthusiasm and humour to infect others with her passion. As such, her personal contribution was equally important, and she made a significant contribution to the discipline of Australian archaeology. She will be missed.

Obituary: Emmett Connolly

Emmett in Pilbera LRBy Sue Carter

8 Clover Place, Bibra Lake WA 6163, Australia <>

Emmett Connolly was 32 years of age, from Rockcarry, County Monaghan, in Northern Ireland. Emmett was murdered on the evening of 29 September, 2013, in Cootehill, Ireland, leaving behind his parents, Mary and Frank, and his two sisters, Danielle and Leah.

Having studied at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Emmett went on to gain his Masters in Landscape Archaeology at the National University of Ireland in Galway. His studies were followed by archaeological work at the County Monaghan Museum, and then a move to Perth, Western Australia, in 2012.

As a heritage consultant, Emmett travelled a lot with his work, which he enjoyed very much. He had an adventurer’s spirit and this certainly showed during his trips and especially in his four wheel driving! Emmett loved flying off somewhere at a moment’s notice and this was reflected in his jovial personality both in the office and out in the field. His travels carried him to various sites around the Pilbara, and also to Exmouth, Leonora, Laverton, Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie and Adelaide, to name a few. His trip to Bali was an exotic holiday from which he returned glowing and happy.

I can best describe Emmett as a gentle soul, yet one who knew what he wanted and was not afraid to speak his mind. His unique way of looking at life and larrikin ways would always bring a smile to my face—he could wind you up, tease you, call your bluff, but would always use that smooth Irish charm when he knew he had to.

Working in the field alongside Emmett was always interesting—many times we retired in the evening in tears from the humour and laughing that accompanied Emmett wherever he went. On one trip I was laughing so much I actually choked (thanks mate!!). In the office he was always smiling and winding his colleagues up about one thing or another, but never with malice. Dedicated to his work and always showing professionalism and loyalty, Emmett was unique. I swear he must have kissed the Blarney Stone more than once!

Outside of work Emmett was a keen gardener and assisted regularly at the Perth City Farm. His knowledge of farming was an added bonus and he made many friends quickly with his easy-going nature. He has left a void for the many who knew him.

Emmett left Australia in late 2013 after being made redundant on his sponsored visa. He was sad to be leaving but vowed to return to the red dirt and the friends he had made. He was excited about seeing his family again and telling the tales of his travels around Australia, especially the one about being airlifted out by the Royal Flying Doctors following a snake bite near Alice Springs! His trip home, however, was to be his last. On the evening of 29 September he was stabbed to death in the home of an acquaintance—he had only been home for 10 days and this was his first evening out on the town.

The sun may have gone down on Emmett but he is far from absent in the minds of his friends and work colleagues. His light shines on and he will always, for me, be remembered as the laughing larrikin from Ireland.

Review of ’Consultation and Cultural Heritage: Let us Reason Together’ by Claudia Nissley and Thomas F. King

Consultation and Cultural Heritage LRConsultation and Cultural Heritage: Let us Reason Together‘ by Claudia Nissley and Thomas F. King. 2014. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, 173 pp. ISBN 978 -1-61132-399-3 (pbk).

Reviewed by Lynley A. Wallis

Wallis Heritage Consulting, 1/b Swan Street, Brighton SA 5048, Australia <>
Don’t take your guns to town son, Leave your guns at home Bill, Don’t take your guns to town. (Johnny Cash)

Consultation and Cultural Heritage: Let us Reason Together is based on Claudia Nissley’s and Thomas F. King’s collective 70 years of experience in cultural heritage management, so I think it’s safe to say they’re well qualified to have written this latest offering from one of my favourite academic publishing houses, Left Coast Press. Nissley’s and King’s experience is primarily North American and thus this book draws on many US examples, and cites American legislation; hence the need for them to reiterate the advice of Johnny Cash regarding the requirement to attend consultation meetings disarmed (seriously! see p.67). The occasional Americanism aside, there is much in this book that’s directly applicable to an Australian context and I can thoroughly recommend it as a worthwhile addition to every archaeologist’s bookshelf.

Nissley’s and King’s justification for writing the book was because they’d noticed that, in recent years and in many cases, consultation had regressed to a purely administrative, tick-the-box exercise, the outcomes of which were essentially predetermined (p.7). As they note, while ideally consultation should be undertaken with the intent of groups coming together to exchange their views, there must be a desire ‘to accomplish something’ from the process (p.11, their emphasis). Yet ‘the intent and meaning of consultation seems to have been lost on a lot of those charged with doing it’; hence, their aim in this book is to help arrest this trend (p.11). Helpfully, early in the book the authors distinguish between ‘public participation’ and ‘consultation’, noting that, while the former might form a part of consultation, it does not constitute consultation in and of itself (p.20); this is a valuable distinction that a few proponents and regulators in certain Australian states perhaps need reminding of.

After the first couple of chapters that introduce the basic concepts and set out for readers the reasons why consultation is important—drawing on the wisdom of John Cleese in the role of Her Brittanic Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from ‘Decisions, Decisions’ and Jesus of Nazareth: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’— Nissley and King delve into the nitty-gritty of the actual process itself. They summarise consultation as generally comprising four components, which are then used to structure the subsequent chapters:

  • Seeking, during which time you figure out with whom you need to consult;
  • Discussing, involving a back and forth dialogue between the parties;
  • Considering, when you genuinely consider the viewpoints of the various parties and what their issues are; and,
  • Reaching agreement (if feasible).

Chapter 3 deals with the ‘Seeking’ phase of consultation, with the main advice being to commence the process as soon as possible, bearing in mind that you need to have sufficient information available to hand to make your interactions with stakeholders meaningful (p.34). As Nissley and King point out, talking to stakeholders during the latter stage of a project when it is too late for the discussion to have any influence on decision-making—a situation seen time and again in the Australian context—is not consultation. This practice is, in fact, pointless and contributes to the frustration that many stakeholders experience during engagement with proponents (p.35). Within this chapter, the section on ‘Respecting Cultural Differences’ (pp.40–45) is of particular relevance for those consulting with Australian Indigenous communities, as is that titled ‘Consider Differences in Capabilities, Knowledge and Intents’ (pp.48–50); the importance of recognising cultural difference is a consistent, valuable theme that runs throughout the remainder of the book. Without explicitly stating so, or being drawn into it in detail, much of this chapter goes to the heart of the social/cultural versus scientific values debate that has been so often prevalent in recent years in heritage assessment and management.

In one of the few theoretical parts of the book, ‘Respecting Cultural Differences’, the authors contextualise their discussion in terms of Hall’s (1976) ‘low’ and ‘high’ context cultural groups (pp.40–41). They follow this with the presentation of some informative examples of the failure to consult meaningfully with the Sandia Pueblo, Commancho and Quechan tribes in a series of short case studies. From these they conclude that, at the heart of effective consultation, are three simple questions that proponents should put to stakeholders:

  1. Do you have concerns about our proposal?
  2. If so, would you like to consult with us about your concerns and how we can resolve them?
  3. If so, how would you like to consult? (p.45; their emphasis).

The final section of Chapter 3, ‘Inviting People to Consult’, offers some simple but sage advice on consultation invitation letters, including presenting a real, ‘slightly modified’ letter that highlights some common traps to help avoid putting stakeholders offside from the outset (pp.54–57). This is supplemented by Appendix 2, which contains an even ‘better’ example of ‘bureau-speak’ in a consultation invitation letter, followed, thankfully, by an example antidote to the condition.

Chapter 4 deals with the ‘Discussion’ phase of consultation. The sub-section, ‘Exchanging Views’ (pp.59–69), looks at setting up meetings, and reminds organisers explicitly to take into account factors such as timing, venue, cost, values and power differentials between parties. It also emphasises the thought and preparation the individual personally needs to undertake in preparing for meetings, and this is where the advice about not carrying side-arms comes in. The short section on ‘Interests, not Positions’ (pp.68–69), is another of the few theorised parts of the book, this time drawing on the work of Fisher et al. (2011). Here, Nissley and King suggest consultants focus on the often-times negotiable interests that underlie seemingly intractable positions during consultation meetings. Again, readers are reminded of the importance that cultural awareness can play during such discussions.

Chapter 5 deals with the need actually and genuinely to consider the views of stakeholders. The issues of recognising and understanding community concerns, and working out how those concerns relate to the relevant legislation, comprise the first few pages of this chapter. While the specific examples described are US-based, it’s not hard to figure out how they relate to the Australian scene. In deriving ‘Solutions’ to the concerns and challenges of stakeholders (pp.85–87), Nissley and King remind us that rote solutions should often be re-examined rather than rolled out automatically—sometimes all that is needed is a little ‘creative tweaking’ to generate a successful outcome. In all cases, the critical element of a solution is ensuring that you’ve discussed with the community what they regard to be the best way to move forward. They also wisely point out that, just because a proposed solution might make a proponent ‘squirm’, it shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed out of hand (p.89).

Chapter 6, ‘Seeking Agreement’, makes the important distinction between ‘consultation’ and ‘negotiation’, noting that often the terms are used interchangeably when they shouldn’t be (p.97); negotiation that works towards a binding agreement is a much more effective and satisfying process than mere public participation in a consultation process. And while this is not a ‘how to negotiate’ guide, the authors present a short, though useful, annotated bibliography of other resources to consider if you require advice on the negotiation process. One of the most important points the authors make in this chapter is what consultation is not, i.e. where consultation commences with the proponent presenting a draft document to the community with whom they are consulting and seek their ‘sign off’ on it (p.101). Rather, this is the epitome of the ‘tick the box’ administrative approach to ‘pseudo-consulting’, and is often seen in the Australian context during the development of cultural heritage management plans in certain states and ‘Right to Negotiate Agreements’ with Indigenous communities. Another gem in this chapter, with which many of us working in Australia will surely empathise, is the cautionary advice about the involvement of lawyers in the meeting room (p.66) and during the preparation of any agreements or documents drawn up through the consultation process (p.111).

The concluding chapter of the book, ‘Reasoning Together—Or Not’, presents an interesting case study examining the consultation process with the Hualapai, Hopi, Navajo, Southern Paiute and Zuni tribes regarding non-native fish management in the Grand Canyon. This is followed by a list and summary discussion of the authors’ key principles to guide consultation (pp.126–131):

  1. None of us is God;
  2. A made up mind impedes (or dooms) consultation;
  3. All solutions deserve a fair shot;
  4. Everyone should be at the table;
  5. Comprehensive beats special-purpose consultation;
  6. Comprehensive consultation can be made to happen;
  7. Consultation should have an end-point; and,
  8. Any agreement reached should be implemented.

As are many of the offerings from Left Coast Press, Consultation and Cultural Heritage is written in a conversational, non-academic tone (i.e. minimal references, citations and notes cluttering up the authors’ message), and I consequently finished it in just a few hours. And yes, it’s true that a lot of the information presented is simple, common sense—but it’s common sense worth heeding. For newly minted consultants, reading this book will enable you to approach the process of consultation with a greater degree of confidence. For those who’ve been in the sector for a long time, the book is a useful refresher that might help you avoid falling into the same malaise that Nissley and King identified in US-based consulting. I’m even going so far as to suggest that this book should be placed on the required reading list for all undergraduate and graduate topics in cultural heritage management. Further, there is also much of value in here for research-based students required to undertake consultation for their research projects. Finally, I can see a great deal of sense in encouraging both proponents and our environmental management colleagues to read this book—I imagine it could prove quite enlightening to some of them. If you can’t convince them to read it themselves, putting into practice some of Nissley’s and King’s suggestions yourself will help you go a long way in ensuring that any consultation you undertake is a meaningful and worthwhile process—and that can only be a good thing for all involved.


Fisher, R., W. Ury and B. Patton 2011 Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. New York: Penguin Press.

Hall, E.T. 1976 Beyond Culture. New York: Anchor Books.

Review of ‘The Dendroglyphs or ‘Carved Trees’ of New South Wales’ by Robert Etheridge

Dendroglyphs of NSW LRThe Dendroglyphs or ‘Carved Trees’ of New South Wales‘ by R. Etheridge. 2011 [1918]. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of New South Wales, Ethnological Series 3, Sydney University Press, vii+104 pp. ISBN 978-1-92089-976-9 (hbk).

Reviewed by Jeannette Hope

River Junction Research, Wentworth NSW 2648, Australia

In central-western New South Wales (NSW), traditionally the graves of important Aboriginal men were marked with trees whose trunks were incised with complex geometrical patterns. Perhaps the best known of these is Yuranigh’s Grave, near Molong, now an historic site managed by the National Parks Service, Office of Environment and Planning. Yuranigh was guide and adviser to explorer Thomas Mitchell on his last expedition into the tropical interior of Australia in 1846. When Yuranigh was buried in about 1850, with four carved trees marking his grave, Mitchell arranged for a European headstone to be added in 1852 honouring his life and work.

Carved grave marker trees of NSW, often associated with earthen mounds, ridges and paths, were first recorded by explorers John Oxley and Charles Sturt, and caught the attention of later 19th century ‘gentlemen ethnographers’, who drew and photographed, but also removed them. The most assiduous recorder and remover was Edmund Milne, Deputy Commissioner for Railways and Tramways of NSW, a collector of Aboriginal artefacts for over 40 years. Upon his death in 1914, he left his collection to the first national museum to be built in Canberra; after languishing for many years in the Canberra Institute of Anatomy it formed the basis of the Aboriginal collection in the National Museum of Australia (NMA) (Kaus 2003).

This beautiful book—a large format hardback with a stunning sharp photograph of a carved tree on the cover— was based on Milne’s work, using his extensive notes and photographs. It was originally produced and dedicated to Milne in 1918 by Robert Etheridge Jnr, the then Director and Curator at the Australian Museum. The back cover of this facsimile edition has two inset photos, both showing Milne posed next to a carved tree, holding a steel axe.

Etheridge was in fact a geologist with a long career in the NSW Department of Mines, which may explain why the original publication appeared in the Memoir Series of the Geological Survey of NSW. It was the final of only three publications in the ‘Ethnological Series’, the other two titles being Aboriginal Carvings of Port Jackson and Botany Bay (Campbell 1899) and The Cylindro-Conical and Cornute Stone Implements of Western New South Wales: The Warrigal, or ‘Dingo’, Introduced or Indigenous? (Etheridge 1916).

Etheridge, perhaps following Milne, distinguished between taphloglyphs (also known as ‘carved trees’ or grave indicators), and teleteglyphs (also known as ‘bora trees’). The volume lists and illustrates both forms in an extensive catalogue, including 37 plates which are mainly photographic but also include reproductions of earlier etchings and drawings. There are two maps of the state of NSW with coded locations of both taphloglyphs and teleteglyphs illustrating the localised distribution of both forms.

Etheridge was apparently not immune to massaging data to fit a theory. He concluded that ‘the distribution of teleteglyphs culture coincides, on the whole, with that of taphloglyphs’ (p.89), whereas the catalogue and the map show that they differ considerably: taphloglyphs occur in a tight cluster centred on Dubbo, while teleteglyphs are more widely distributed east of the mountains and on the Darling River headwaters (with only one in the Dubbo area). Recent widespread archaeological survey seems to confirm that carved trees were restricted to central and eastern NSW, with the only other known cluster occurring in a small area around Cairns (Grimwade et al. 1995).

These misgivings notwithstanding, the book is an historic goldmine—a remarkable compilation of historic records Australia-wide, including mentions of Melville and Bathurst Island burial poles and stone arrangements. Much of the information about specific trees was collected by Milne from named local informants, surveyors, pastoralists and a so-called ‘forest-ranger’, and the date of the information is provided.

Reading The Dendroglyphs or ‘Carved Trees’ of New South Wales, it would appear that none of Etheridge’s informants were Aboriginal, though the names of some of the dead honoured by the trees are given. This may reflect the bias of Etheridge rather than Milne. In 1913 Milne and his associates relocated the site of the first European record of carved trees associated with a burial, illustrated by John Oxley, at Gooboothery Hill, Lachlan River, in 1817 (Plate 1 in Etheridge 2011[1918]). According to Kaus (2003), ‘Billy Boyd, an Aboriginal man working on a nearby pastoral station informed Milne that the man buried in the grave was ‘a great Lachlan chief’ who had drowned while trying to cross the flooded Lachlan River’. The NMA holds an album, ‘The Oxley-Lachlan Arborglyph’, relating to this rediscovery, containing newspaper cuttings, letters, photos and a 1939 ‘listing of Aboriginal relics and their locations’ in the Hay District (No. 1992.0098.0001); thus Milne’s original material holds more information than was included by Etheridge.

Many of the trees collected by Milne were placed in the Australian Museum. Should they have been removed? They were vulnerable to clearing, cutting and bushfire. In the 1980s, working for NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, I visited a collection in a station garden near Collarenabri. The Aboriginal elders with me were somewhat ambivalent; while they were disturbed that the trees were garden ornaments, they recognised that their survival was due to their removal to the garden. Otherwise, few of the trees recorded in 1918 are still extant (Bell 1982; Geering et al. 1991).

The re-publication of Etheridge’s monograph in 2011 coincided with an exhibition by the State Library of NSW entitled ‘Carved Trees: Aboriginal Cultures of Western NSW’. This toured small community libraries in western NSW, bringing Milne’s beautiful photographs back to their homeland. Some trees have returned home too: in 2010, Museum Victoria repatriated a carved tree to the Baradine community in northwest NSW. It had been removed 90 years earlier and acquired by the museum in 1921 through an exchange with the Australian Museum. The tree was carved in 1876 to mark the burial site of five Gamilaroi men (however, strangely, this tree does not seem to be listed in The Dendroglyphs or ‘Carved Trees’ of New South Wales).

Sydney University and the State Library are to be commended on reprinting this volume. It makes accessible an important and beautiful aspect of Aboriginal culture that has been mostly lost and, until now, largely forgotten.

Review of ‘Documentary Filmmaking for Archaeologists’ by Peter Pepe and Joseph W. Zarzynski

Book Cover Pepe Filmmaking for Arch LRDocumentary Filmmaking for Archaeologists‘ by Peter Pepe and Joseph W. Zarzynski. 2012. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, 230 pp. ISBN 978-1-61132-202-6 (pbk).

Reviewed by Karen Martin-Stone

In Depth Archaeology and Heritage Conservation, PO Box 344, Nightcliff NT 0814, Australia <>

The dissemination of research results is a core focus of archaeological practice, and filmmaking is one of the best ways to reach and engage with a broad audience. Consequently, there has been a glaring gap in the market for a book such as Peter Pepe’s and Joseph W. Zarzynski’s Documentary Filmmaking for Archaeologists. Archaeologists often have unique untold stories about the human past that are very well-suited to a documentary format, but do not have the necessary training to produce archaeological films. Pepe and Zarzynski aim to fill this gap with a guide for archaeologists and other social scientists wanting to partner with filmmakers to create documentaries.

Pepe is a corporate and documentary filmmaker with over 30 years experience in the industry. His production company, Pepe Productions, has produced three feature length underwater archaeology documentaries with Zarzynski. Zarzynski is an underwater archaeologist and co-founder of Bateaux Below, a not-for-profit corporation that studies shipwrecks in Lake George, New York. They describe their collective experiences in developing these collaborative projects as examples in a step-by-step process for creating an archaeological documentary.

The book is structured with 26 short chapters covering the history of filmmaking, pre-production, production, postproduction and distribution. The appendices also include practical examples of a documentary proposal, treatment, script and budget. Disappointingly, while the structure of the book is straightforward, delving into the chapters reveals the content to be quite disorganised and repetitive.

The chapters on the history of filmmaking focus heavily on technological developments, without taking into account changes in documentary genre and style. The historical chapters are also written with heavy emphasis on the ‘fathers’ of particular filmmaking developments, giving an impression of a conservative, privileged and singular view of a maledominated industry. Indeed, throughout the book, women and their contribution to filmmaking and archaeology are rarely mentioned, and the only narrative style promoted is the tired old ‘detective story’ or ‘quest’ that has been used ad nauseum in archaeological documentaries for the last few decades. Exploring the incorporation of alternative voices and storytelling styles would have improved the book significantly.

The chapters on the various stages of documentary film production are useful for introducing the concepts and documents required for getting an idea off the ground. However, the language used is basic, repetitive and sometimes condescending (for example, describing how to format a list of pros and cons), while often leaving out important information, such as how to write a treatment, saying the ‘documentarian will know how to write a treatment’ (p.72). It would have been more useful for the authors to have described the fundamentals of each step of the process, even if the division of tasks means that archaeologists will not need to undertake all of them. This criticism can particularly be made of the book’s approach to editing (Chapter 19); the archaeologist is completely removed from the editing process, and not even a simple description of non-linear editing is provided. Having an understanding of the way that scenes and stories are constructed with specific audio and visual elements would provide a better idea of what footage needs to be obtained in the field. Practically speaking, you can’t edit what you don’t shoot, so it is fundamentally important for archaeologists to have an understanding of what the film editor will be looking for from the outset, before shooting begins.

Pepe and Zarzynski dedicate less than two pages to ethics, skimming briefly over a complex topic that should be paramount in the production of professional archaeological films. They provide a rudimentary checklist of ethical considerations that include such basic procedures as obtaining consent, while failing to consider such important aspects as the conservation of the archaeological resource and the risk imposed on it through the making of the film and its subsequent distribution. Their approach to ethics is summed up by saying, ‘Of course, archaeologists constantly preach ethics in all archaeological endeavours. That holds true in documentary filmmaking, too’ (p.81). As can be seen from recently aired television shows inappropriately dealing with heritage in the United States, however, a much more active discussion about the application of ethics is required in archaeology-related filmmaking.

Explaining and providing examples of the various documents required to move the story from an idea to a film proposal, this book serves as a very basic introduction to the development of a pitch package for a documentary idea. However, wider reading will be required by archaeologists wishing to develop a working understanding of how films are made, how archaeological stories can be told and how to make films that don’t fit the commercial broadcast genre, such as films for community ownership, corporate promotions, museum/educational films and online mini-documentaries.

Review of ‘Dirty Diggers: Tales from the Archaeological Trenches’ by Paul Bahn

Cover BahnDirty Diggers: Tales from the Archaeological Trenches‘ by Paul Bahn. 2013. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, 120 pp. ISBN 978-1-61132-978-0 (pbk).

Reviewed by Duncan Wright

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Humanities and the Arts, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia <>

In preparation for this review I browsed the web for similar publications which explored the lighter side of archaeology. Having heard so many humorous and bizarre stories at conferences and met some excellent archaeology raconteurs I expected to be bombarded with examples. Strangely not. Is it possible that archaeologists are reserved when it comes to publishing misdemeanours? Happily, Paul Bahn has rectified this situation somewhat, while reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously!

So what is Dirty Diggers? In this 120 page romp across the archaeological world, Bahn amalgamates stories sent to him by colleagues from around the world. In the first chapters, ‘Fieldwork Fun’, ‘Excavation Encounters’ and ‘Dig Dialogues’ the reader is introduced to some of the more bizarre aspects of fieldwork. Standout examples include a camel shaved in the Sahara to remove a spill of latex (rock art specialists are to blame for this one; p.24); an attempt to explain why excavation was necessary to a local man in Nigeria (‘Are you sure you haven’t lost one of these?’; p.27); and a poignant story about a brown bear’s exploration of a field camp (pp.34–39).

Bahn leaves the somewhat sensitive issue of archaeologists and alcohol until Chapter 4, presumably slowly fortifying the reader for the carnage that is to follow. We are introduced to the alcoholic underpinnings of the ‘Hambledon Hill’ excavations (p.78), the dangers of over-ripe camembert at Chegar, Syria (as recounted by Agatha Mallowan nee Christie) and Chuck Riggs’ eloquent recount (pp.82–87) of chipmunks in the Arizonan water supply. It would be excellent to resolve the identity of the ‘posh [and hungover] British archaeologist’ (p.74) who demanded the removal of the ‘frightfully bright light’ in a lecture, only to be told that this was his slide projector! Need I say more? The final chapter, ‘Archaeology After Hours’, dispels any lasting doubts the reader may retain about the sanity of archaeologists, recounting the bizarre, extracurricular activities (including marriage) of some of our more colourful colleagues. This section provides a window into the lives of some illustrious founding figures of archaeology (more on this to follow).

So where do Australian archaeologists figure in all of this? Bahn writes, ‘to our great surprise we were let down by Australian sources despite their reputation for wildness’ (p.9). I suppose we can take some comfort that we are known for some wildness; however, it is sad that the only reference to Australia I could find was a throwaway mention of the Jack Golson lecture at the very end of a story that takes place elsewhere. For the second edition, Paul, PLEASE contact us. We have plenty of crazy tales. For a start, the wonderfully eccentric Rhys Jones could surely figure in any one of these chapters. More recent forays could include Ian McNiven’s excellent story about the floating Toyota 4WD or Sally May’s tale of the beer can midden.

Having described the content let me briefly turn to the value of this book. As Bahn writes, there is a pressing need to dispel the myth that ‘archaeologists are notoriously dull and unimaginative’ (p.9); it is excellent that we now have this irreverent text to do so. In addition, there are some wonderful vignettes about past archaeologists (better known for their publications, theories and excavations) which can only benefit those of us who are interested in the history of archaeology. I can promise that you will never think the same way again about Mortimer Wheeler and his famous grid system after reading this book. The description of Abb. Henri Breuil and his, let’s just say, ‘rather personal’ interaction with ancient art (‘Merde! Une truite!’; p.87), is another image that sticks in the mind. It would be excellent, should another edition be forthcoming, to include stories about other key figures. Some real gems surround the early days of typology and relative chronology in Scandinavia, such as the disparaging attacks by J.J.A. Worsaae on a number of eminent Danish and English historians (Rowley- Conwy 2007:65–81). If Lewis Binford, Ian Hodder and Michael Shanks could also provide a few juicy stories I am sure it would be appreciated by lecturers and students alike.


Rowley-Conwy, P. 2007 From Genesis to Prehistory: The Archaeological Three Age System and its Contested Reception in Denmark, Britain and Ireland. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Review of ‘Secrets at Hanging Rock’ by Alan Watchman

Book Cover Watchman Secrets at Hanging Rock  LRSecrets at Hanging Rock‘ by Alan Watchman 2013. Vivid Publishing, Fremantle, 191 pp. ISBN 978-1-92220-468-4 (pbk).

Reviewed by Claire St George

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia <>

On Valentine’s Day 1900, a group of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock, near Mt Macedon in Victoria. During the afternoon three members of the party disappeared without a trace. In 2008, a group of archaeologists are excavating the interior of a rockshelter when they discover a narrow opening blocked by a fallen slab of stone. Within this cavern, they discover human skeletons—are these the remains of the missing girls Miranda St Clare, Marion Quade and their governess Miss Greta McCraw, or has the archaeological team uncovered something else?

While Hanging Rock is an actual geological feature near Mt Macedon, the story of the missing girls is fictitious, and Watchman’s novel extends upon this storyline by presenting a fictional account of the potential archaeological discovery of the girls’ remains at Hanging Rock. The reader alternates, chapter by chapter, from the nineteenth century investigations that occurred immediately following the disappearance of the girls (with a particular focus on an inquest in August 1900), to the potential discovery of their remains by a team of archaeologists in 2008. While an excellent tool for providing background to readers unfamiliar with the history of Hanging Rock, each time period could arguably be a stand-alone story—there are no links (other than the topic of the missing girls) to bring each time period together into a directly cohesive storyline. As a fictional novel, Watchman had the potential to tie the two time periods inexorably together, perhaps by inserting clues or unanswered questions during the 1900 inquest (mystery artefacts, perhaps), which the archaeologists uncover and resolve during their 2008 investigations.

Initially, the chapters are kept very short, which, coupled with different writing styles for each time period, created a somewhat uneven tone. The 1900 flashbacks are told from the point of view of Michael Fitzhurbert, who was present at Hanging Rock the day the girls went missing and became integral in their search in the week following their disappearance. These flashbacks present an eloquent reimagining of the day the girls disappeared, the experiences of those involved in the search and the August 1900 inquest that followed. This style of writing is in stark contrast to the 2008 archaeological investigations, where language is very casual and occasionally feels a little stilted and unnatural. Watchman may have purposefully done this in order to highlight the different time periods; however, this also has the potential to create a somewhat disconcerting experience for some readers. Towards the end of Secrets, the focus shifts entirely to 2008, and the pace picks up as clues build and some answers are forthcoming. While the main characters of the 2008 investigations are fictional, Watchman has them interact with, and refer to, presentday, real-world archaeologists, in an interesting interplay between fiction and non-fiction.

Throughout Secrets there is a strong focus on the relationships between archaeologists. Three chapters in particular (Chapters 8, 14 and 17) are devoted to people in the archaeological team agonising over current, past and potential future relationships. In fact, most chapters set in the 2008 time period contain some level of relationship tension and/or sexual innuendo. While such content has its place (and perhaps is an accurate reflection of the discipline?!), it did feel unnecessarily heavy-handed and diverted without a clear purpose from the overall storyline.

Secrets contains very few grammatical errors, although the incorrect spelling of Wurundjeri (Wirundjeri e.g. pp.16, 93) is surprising, and abbreviations used are not always appropriate (e.g. id for identification would be best spelt out in full [pp.35, 158], as would JCU for James Cook University [p.35] and XRD/SEM [p.35]).

Secrets at Hanging Rock is a short, easy read aimed at a general readership with only minimal technical information. It takes a little while to find its stride, but once it does it presents an interesting fictional account of what it might be like for a group of archaeologists to, over 100 years later, potentially solve the mystery of the three missing girls at Hanging Rock. My main criticism is that, as the storyline reaches its peak, the book ends with many questions left unanswered. Is a sequel forthcoming, perhaps?

Review of ‘Late Holocene Indigenous Economies of the Tropical Australian Coast: An Archaeological Study of the Darwin Region’ by Patricia M. Bourke

Book Cover Bourke Late Holocene Economies 300dpiLate Holocene Indigenous Economies of the Tropical Australian Coast: An Archaeological Study of the Darwin Region‘ by Patricia M. Bourke 2012. BAR International Series 2340. Archaeopress, Oxford, 202 pp. ISBN 978-1-40730-923-1 (pbk).

Reviewed by Sandra Bowdler

Archaeology, School of Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia <>

Data-rich, detailed site reports are never going to appeal to the general public, but they are the essential building blocks of local archaeologies, without which regional, continental and global syntheses cannot exist. It is unfortunate that university presses in general are turning away from being organs delivering basic knowledge to academic communities, and seeking to establish themselves more often as producers of academically informed, but not necessarily academic, books. In the present instance, this monograph is the published version of a PhD thesis submitted in 2000. The British Archaeological Reports (BAR) series provides a good service in publishing such works, although it does have a certain reputation for unrefereed and unedited editions—useful, indeed essential, but not necessarily elegant offerings. Bourke’s volume typically provides basic archaeological information, informed by not just detailed analysis but also thoughtful interpretations, but it would have benefitted from a heavier editorial hand.

The subject matter is Bourke’s survey and excavation of sites in the region of Darwin in northern Australia, mostly shell ‘middens’ of one sort or another, which are aged within the last 2000 or so years. Some of these are of the large mounded kind, better known perhaps from the eastern coast. The basic data sets are sites on Middle Arm, a peninsula within Darwin Harbour, and around the adjacent embayment, Hope Inlet.

In the introduction, Bourke provides a snappy account of previous research (p.1), then muddies the waters with a far-too-detailed paragraph on Anadara (which might be considered the protagonist of her thesis), that would have been better positioned later in the book. She then lists her aims and ‘specific objectives’, but these are vague, inductive and not really specific at all. A useful introduction to the study area and the ‘context of the research’, with an interesting sidelight on the tribulations of working in a tropical climate (p.2) are, however, followed by a cogent discussion of previous research and current ideas which generate far more interesting and engaging aims and objectives. A brief discussion of the ‘notional disappearance of Indigenous groups’ (p.5) is well taken. Bourke’s lucid discussion of ‘intensification’ theories in Australian archaeology (pp.6–7) makes a much better context for the aims of her research.

The second chapter, ‘Changing environments, seasons and resources’ is clear, detailed and professionally produced. Chapter 3, concerning ethnography and ethnohistory, is perhaps a bit thin, especially given the significance of these sources to the later interpretive part of the book. The discussion about the use of ethnographic analogy has a distinctly dated feel, and this was always really more relevant to the old world than the newer ones (p.22, also p.137). Betty Meehan’s view(1) that ethnographic/ethnohistoric information is the ‘top layer’ in Australian Indigenous archaeology makes more sense than a debate about analogical reasoning.

The fourth chapter on methodology is well written, if inevitably bearing traces of its dissertation origins with the referencing of every tiny methodological decision or option. The penultimate paragraph (p.33) is rather opaque and possibly self-serving, with its ‘would haves’ and ‘could haves’, and lacks clarity. Chapter 5 presents the results of survey and is overall clear and well written. Some small niggles: why is much of the Darwin Harbour foreshore inaccessible (p.36)—environmental reasons, private property, government property? Some tables could bear with a more compact summary presentation, such as the raw materials table (Hope Inlet, Darwin Harbour, pp.54–55). The following chapter ‘Considerations in midden analysis’ seems not to be in quite the right place, and perhaps should have been in the methodology chapter. Chapters 7 and 8 are basically the results of the excavation of selected sites and, as such, are not exactly racy but sound and well-presented.

Chapters 9, 10 and 11 are, to me, the most problematic and could have used an editorial hand. Dealing with, successively, a summary of the evidence for the past occupation of the Darwin coast, chronological change in the resource exploration in the late Holocene, and late Holocene economies in the Darwin region, it is immediately apparent that these are overlapping issues. The presentation does seem to jump around from topic to topic, and also methodologically, as some results are presented here seemingly for the first time, which makes for a thorny reading path. This is not at all to dispute Bourke’s findings, nor their interpretation, which comprises a sensitive picking over of various cultural vs environmental options, but just to suggest that the presentation could have had more clarity if it had been better organised.

Some substantive comments of more and less importance arise. Radiocarbon dates should be reported with their laboratory numbers (p.67 and elsewhere), although I note these are shown for H181. ‘Claassen … found that mollusc gathering by humans occurred mostly during the mollusc’s fast growth period’ (p.139); is rather a misleading quote— has this been found to be the case anywhere other than the specific region of the US about which she is writing?

I do have some small issues with the use of ethnographic/ historic data. I really don’t think J.G. Frazer can be cited as an ethnographic source in the same breath as A.P. Elkin– Elkin was a twentieth century anthropologist who actually worked firsthand with Indigenous people, while Frazer was a nineteenth century collector of other people’s data; so who was Frazer citing (p.139, also p.150)?

Similarly, with respect to evidence for Aboriginal people drying plant or animal foods in the ethnographic present, Mulvaney (1975) is hardly a proper source in the way Thomson (1949) and Withnell (1910) are. The first is a secondary, if not tertiary in many instances, source, devoid of references, although in the second instance he is clearly referencing Withnell. In any case, none of them mentions drying mollusc meat, nor has anyone else I know of in Australia, and I think without some evidence the idea is drawing a very long bow.

The final chapter, comprising two pages of ‘Summary, discussion and conclusions’, is admirably concise, but a more balanced presentation with shorter preceding chapters and a final chapter including more actual discussion would have provided a smoother read and a better highlighting of the not-inconsiderable achievements of the work. In sum—and hardly doing justice to the intricacies of the argument— Bourke finds that to a large extent the human history evident in the archaeology of the Darwin region over the last 2000 years reflects a successful response to a changing environment, particularly the development of coastal wetland systems in high rainfall areas of northern Australia, and the impacts of the ENSO phenomenon. She rejects the concept of a mid-Holocene ‘intensification’, including population growth, but argues the archaeological signature of the area under consideration is ‘the very visible remains of a small part of a broad-based and flexible economy characteristic of the earliest human foragers’ (p.173). With respect to the ‘highly visible mounds’, she argues that these are aggregation sites indicative of ‘ceremonial gatherings and/or exchange associated with alliance systems of social relationships extended beyond kinship to wider regional systems … which were always an integral part of forager social organisation’ (p.174). Thus she combines environmental with cultural factors in accounting for the evidence to hand, although there is a lurking materialist explanation here, of culture being primarily an adaptive force in relating to the environment. The socio-economic system she depicts is not quite the interface with the ethnographic ‘upper layer’, as she sees it changing within the last 500 years, probably under the stimulus of Macassan visits to coastal northern Australia, leading to a different resource procurement system which saw sea-going canoes enabling a reliance on saltwater turtles and dugong (p.175).

The actual presentation of the book is very nice. There are lots of good quality black and white photos in which salient details can usually be clearly descried, and figures, graphs and tables are nearly all sufficiently large and clear to be easily read and interpreted, if, as mentioned above, they sometimes seem to comprise rather too much insufficiently digested data. In Figures 7.3 and 8.3, however, it is impossible to distinguish ‘shell cap’ from ‘shell layer’. The sub-editing is excellent, with very few typographical, grammatical etc. errors. The author should, however, make up her mind whether ‘data’ is a single or plural entity (I would support the latter on etymological grounds): p.98 ‘the data suggests’ on p.98, but on p.127 ‘the data … suggest’ and again p.138, but on p.163, ‘the data supports’.


Mulvaney, D.J. 1975 The Prehistory of Australia. Ringwood: Penguin Books.

Thomson, D. 1949 Economic Structure and the Ceremonial Exchange Cycle in Arnhem Land. Melbourne: Macmillan.

Withnell, J.G. 1910 The Customs and Traditions of the Aboriginal Natives of North Western Australia. Retrieved 8 October 2013 from < ebooks06/0607011h.html>.


(1) Personal communication about 30 years ago, but she may have said it in print somewhere.

Review of ‘Mystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific’ by Tom Koppel

Mystery Islands coverMystery Islands: Discovering the Ancient Pacific‘ by Tom Koppel 2012. University of the South Pacific Press, Suava, Fiji, xv + 339 pp. ISBN 978-982-01-0888-2 (pbk).

Reviewed by Matthew Spriggs

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia <>

This is not a book for Pacific specialists and so it is quite a challenge for one of them to review it. Indeed, the audience is a bit unclear, particularly given its publication by a university press in Fiji. I can imagine it being placed on reading lists for interested first year geography or history students, say, at the University of the South Pacific—it is certainly more up-to-date than much of their current class materials on archaeology in the region. But it doesn’t seem to be addressed to Pacific Islanders per se. The author is a travel and science writer and the book mixes both—I would have thought distinct—genres. Given Koppel’s own travel experiences, I would plump for an intended audience of interested Canadian and American ‘yachties’.

That said, the interest of such general or ‘popular’ works to Pacific archaeologists is perhaps twofold. Firstly, it is always interesting to see what the wider public out there understand about our findings, and what we have so far failed to convey about them. Secondly, we should be producing more works aimed at various audiences in the region, including Indigenous, visitor and non-Indigenous residents; and we don’t do enough of this. Could a specialist have written such a book as this? Probably not. We are hopefully more conscious of the limits of our knowledge than to take on the overly-ambitious range of issues covered in this book, and our continual cautious hedging of bets on issues would tend to bore the reader.

I was impressed by a generally very knowledgeable coverage of sometimes arcane archaeological issues in the text, including long and short chronologies for Polynesia, recent debates on contacts with the Americas, arguments about how useful modern canoe replicas are in judging prehistoric voyaging capabilities and navigation techniques, as a few examples. These debates are covered in a readable and informed manner that any archaeologist attempting to reach a general audience can learn from. Of course, coverage of issues we would see as key is uneven. Koppel misses almost entirely the significance of the Kuk Swamp data for New Guinea as an early and independent centre of agriculture, implicated in the movement of major crops west into Island Southeast Asia at an early date, as well as the source for those carried eastwards out into the Pacific. His knowledge of what is happening in Melanesian archaeology in general, as opposed to Fiji, Polynesia and parts of Micronesia, is minimal, despite Lapita being a focus. Much could have been made of the extinction of large vertebrates in Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji with the arrival of humans into the region, to flesh out the picture of bird extinctions in places that do get some coverage, such as Hawaii and New Zealand. But also much could have been made of the adjustments the early settlers in the entire region made after an initial phase of massive environmental impact following initial colonisation. Seeing what they had done, people of necessity developed methods of soil conservation, reef protection, and intensive but sustainable agriculture on many of the islands.

The style is uneven, slipping as I noted between travel and science writing. This is not helped by a series of colour photographs which are largely just holiday snaps of little or no relevance to the main topics being discussed. A single, truncated map on the inside does not even include New Zealand, and doesn’t do justice to the text. On occasion the author, clearly here in travel writer mode, gives way too much credence to the ‘traditional’ knowledge purveyed by smallbusiness tourist operators as representing something deep and meaningful about the pre-contact era in the Pacific; the science writer’s necessary scepticism should have been alerted on such occasions.

Much of the final 100 pages, apart from the discussion of possible contacts between Polynesia and the Americas, could have been omitted. Attempts to prove that the average Pacific Islander would have had a truly miserable existence under their brutal chiefs, completely omit any useful comparisons, except a vague reference to medieval serfs in Europe. While the chapter can only help modern Westerners feel superior, this bubble could very usefully have been pricked by noting that life in many places that the complacent readers may have come from was undemocratic, dangerous, brutish, nasty and short until not very long ago. If we look at many of the trouble spots of the world it remains so today. Can one describe European history until well into the twentieth century without suggesting endemic warfare was a major cause of grief almost everywhere? It is presented here as entirely a Pacific problem.

The sections on European contact, where archaeological evidence is suddenly jettisoned as having no interest or contribution, are particularly weak. There is a massive underplaying of the facts of military conquest and savagely repressed revolt on island after island; the overthrow of Hawaii’s independence by American business interests aided by US Marines doesn’t even merit a mention. Indeed, one has to be slightly irked by how easy the Americans get off in general in relation to their colonial adventures compared to some other colonial powers, notably the Japanese and French. The author is of course of US origin and knows his most likely audience is probably not going to want to be reminded of their own dark past!

All that said, there is some very good popular science writing here about Pacific archaeology. If the author had remained focused on that topic and left out the travelogue and embarrassingly naive and ethnocentric judgments on Pacific ways of life, this would have become a very impressive project. To me, the book shows that a good science writer could put together a better up-to-date summary of the state-of-the-art in Pacific archaeology than a practising archaeologist; but we still await that science writer.

Review of ’Prehistoric Marine Resource Use in the Indo-Pacific Regions’ edited by Rintaro Ono, Alex Morrison and David Addison

Terra Australis 39Prehistoric Marine Resource Use in the Indo-Pacific Regions‘ edited by Rintaro Ono, Alex Morrison and David Addison. 2013. Terra Australis 39. Canberra: Pandanus Press,  x + 204 pp., ISBN 978-1-92502-125-7 (print version),  ISBN 978-1-92502-126-4 (online version).

Reviewed by Mirani Litster

Department of Archaeology and Natural History, College of Asia  and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT  0200, Australia <>

Discussions surrounding  human impacts on  marine ecosystems  have often been limited  to the post-industrial  era, when changing  technologies enabled the  large-scale acquisition of  marine resources. The  archaeological discipline,  with its capacity to  examine trends to a  greater time-depth,  provides older evidence  for such discussions. Archaeological studies into marine  resources also provide information about cultural uses of  such resources beyond known contemporary and historical  examples, whilst ethno-ecological studies deliver insight  into contemporary exploitations.

The recent addition to the Terra Australis series, entitled Prehistoric Marine Resource Use in the Indo-Pacific Regions, examines such exploitations across the Indo-  Pacific region within a human ecology framework. This  regional focus extends from the North Pacific (San Miguel  Island), to insular South East Asia and east Africa (the Mafia Archipelago). Edited by Ono, Morrison and Addison, nine of the 11 contributions derive from a conference session  entitled ‘Historical Ecology and Marine Resource use in the Indo-Pacific Region’, held at the 19th Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Congress in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2009. The volume is divided into four sections, partitioned largely according to  temporal case studies and thematic categories, and within  each section a range of methodological and analytical issues  are presented.

The first section of this volume contains five contributions  detailing prehistoric and historical marine resource use.  Chapter One by Olmo discusses the analysis of fish bones  from middens in Guam. He highlights issues associated with  the lack of information below family level and concludes by  suggesting that the use of modern fisheries data may resolve some of these problems. The second chapter by Amesbury  discusses pelagic fishing in the Marianas, from the period of initial colonisation through to recent times. Amesbury  points out that the initial colonisers were skilled at acquiring  open-ocean species, which is supported by archaeological remains of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) and  marlin found in prehistoric period contexts. Amesbury then  discusses recent changes in Chamorro fishing practices,  including a brief hiatus in pelagic fishing during the  18th century Spanish period, and the introduction of more  boats in the 1950s which enabled the Chamorro to reinstate  open-ocean fishing practices. The third chapter, authored  by Ono and Addison, examines the archaeological record of  Tokelau, specifically the presence of marine resources dating  from initial colonisation. They discuss the contemporary  and prehistoric sourcing of both inshore and pelagic fish  species, with archaeological results used in concert with the  ethno-ecological record to highlight the possibility of longstanding  marine conservation measures. With a focus on  San Miguel Island, the fourth offering from Braje, Erlandson  and Rick examines historical maritime resource use in the  North Pacific. Through a comparison of datasets ranging  from the early Holocene through to contemporary times,  the authors propose that an apparent abundance and size  increase of red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) was attained  through human predation on local sea otter populations.  This information provides important insights into human impact and is the basis for the authors suggesting that  abalone fisheries would be sustainable with both a recovered red abalone population and a controlled sea otter population.  The final paper in the opening section, authored by  Christie, is the only contribution addressing Indian Ocean marine resource extraction. Christie discusses maritime exploitation and its social context on the east African  coast during the 12th–18th centuries by examining faunal  assemblages from Juani Island. She suggests that status was a causal factor in differential patterns of archaeological  faunal remains; areas associated with lower status groups revealed a relatively higher presence of marine fauna when compared to higher status areas, suggesting that low status  groups supplemented their diet through marine resource  procurement. Christie concludes by arguing that the  social context of maritime exploitation can be better  understood through the examination of faunal remains within spatial frameworks.

Case studies associated with specific marine resource use  are presented within the second section of the volume. The  presence and significance of baler shell (Melo sp.) at Neolithic and metal age sites in the Philippines is examined by Vitales.  Baler shells have been extensively exploited throughout the  Indo-Pacific, including Australia, but the ‘richest’ evidence  for their use emerges from the Philippines, with 30 recorded  sites yielding Melo sp. remains. Vitales concludes that these  shells were selectively exploited during the Neolithic and  Metal Ages for artefact production, often for ‘scoop forms’  of objects. Such shells have also been found in many burial  contexts, highlighting their social significance. The next  chapter by Osamu presents a cultural history of dolphinfish  fishing in Japan, east Asia and the Pacific. Osamu highlights that Japanese exploitation appears to be the oldest at 11,000 years BP, with dolphinfish remains also having been found  in later archaeological deposits in Guam, Taiwan and the Philippines. The paper examines shifts in dolphinfish consumption patterns, indicating how it has more recently acquired a lower prestige status, despite a high social  significance during the Edo Period.

The third section presents two discussions of material culture associated with marine exploitation in the western  Pacific. The first, by Goto, examines a ‘hybridised marine  exploitation culture’ in the Bonin and Hachijo-jima Islands.  Goto presents several examples, including the use of the  single outrigger canoe which was introduced to the Bonin  from Hawaii in the 19th century. He examines a range of modifications, including hull building, which eventually  incorporated Japanese cedar and boat-nails. He concludes  by stating that these examples of ‘technological integration’  are not a result of diffusion, but of agency. This paper is paired with an ethno-ecological study conducted in the  Mactan Islands, Philippines, by Tsuji, who examines the ecological and environmental impacts of moray eel capture  through the use of bamboo basket traps (bantak). Tsuji  concludes that further work is required documenting details  on fishermen’s strategies for trapping grounds, as well as a greater focus on the management of moray supply.

The edited volume closes with contributions discussing  modern marine resource use. Suda presents changing  subsistence activities in Oceania following the arrival of  Europeans, and highlights the impact of modernisation  and globalisation resulting in a focus on commercial  fishing in lieu of traditional subsistence fishing in Ha’ano  village, Tonga. Suda argues that, despite impacts not being  noticeable thus far, attention must be paid to the possible  deleterious outcomes of resources shifting beyond the  immediate village area. Segi presents the final paper,  exploring territoriality over traditional fishing areas on Cebu  Island in the Philippines. He highlights the importance of  further research into informal territoriality over designated  fishing grounds and emphasises the deployment of feasible and sustainable strategies of co-management between  authorities and fishermen.

The editors of this volume were faced with the challenge of connecting a set of topically wide ranging case studies  within a geographically expansive region. The papers present  varied data sets from prehistoric, historical and modern  contexts, and the chronological and thematic organisation  of these case studies provides clarity and cohesion. Owing to  the wide scope of material, however, the volume has underrepresented  certain geographical areas, such as the Indian  Ocean, with a disproportionate focus on island South East  Asia and the Pacific. Additionally, despite a well-established  practice of mollusc procurement and use in the region, a  focus on vertebrate marine fauna is pronounced, with only  two studies specifically dealing with shell. To my mind, the  stand out papers are those by Christie, who examines status  and differential resource patterning in the archaeological  record in east Africa and Braje et al.’s examination of red  abalone, sea otters and kelp forest ecosystems. This paper  effectively illustrates the significant role that archaeology  can play in providing insight into future sustainability plans.

In summary, Prehistoric Marine Resource Use in the Indo-Pacific Regions offers readers a range of data associated  with marine resource use in the Indo-Pacific from varied  temporal contexts. The volume is successful in highlighting  the relevance of a human ecology framework and the use  of different methodological approaches to gain insight into  past and present marine resource use and management.

Review of ‘Archaeology of the Chinese Fishing Industry in Colonial Victoria’ by Alister M Bowen

Arch of the Chinese Fishing Industry Book CoverArchaeology of the Chinese Fishing Industry in Colonial Victoria’ by Alister M Bowen. 2012. Studies in Australian Historical Archaeology  3. Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology,  Sydney, xiv, 177 pp. ISBN 781920899813 (pbk).

Reviewed by Neville Ritchie

Department of Conservation, Private Bag 3072, Hamilton 3240,  New Zealand <>

Every so often a graduate  student identifies  a research topic and  finds a great representative  site from which  considerable knowledge  can be gained  by the application  of historical archaeology.  This book, based  on PhD research and  now published in the  Australasian Society  for Historical Archaeology  (ASHA) series,  encapsulates the  results of the all-butforgotten  contribution of the Chinese fishing industry in eastern  Victoria during the second half of the nineteenth century.  The book is much more than just a story about catching  and preserving fish; it is a revealing insight into many facets  of traditional Chinese social and business structure and the  way these developed in colonial Australia.

Prior to the 1860s, the development of the fishing industry  in Australia was hampered by the problems posed by the  transportation of fish to markets: during the 1850–1860s it  was common for whole catches to putrefy before getting to  market. The influx of Chinese gold miners, who regarded  fish as a dietary staple, increased its demand and prompted  the creation of many Chinese fish-curing establishments. As  they were purchasing large quantities of fish, the Chinese  created a new and reliable market for European fishermen.  The fish-curers supplied their compatriots in Melbourne and  on the goldfields with both fresh and cured fish. They made  sums of money far greater than any contemporary European  fishing operation and for many years created hundreds of  jobs for both Chinese and Europeans in the fishing industry.

Archaeology of the Chinese Fishing Industry in Colonial Victoria is a fascinating story through which Bowen  ably demonstrates the major role that Chinese migrants  played in the southeast Australia fishing industry for  nearly three decades (late 1850s–1870s). Fundamental  to their dominance was the use of long established  traditional methodologies (such as salting and pickling) to  overcome the problems of preservation and transportation  prior to the availability of ice-cooling and refrigeration.  The story also highlights how the Chinese fish-curers  lived, worked and interacted in colonial society and why  they seemingly disappeared from Australian history, both  literally and figuratively. They did not disappear without  trace, however, as Bowen cogently demonstrates through  his research based on sparse documentary evidence,  archaeological surveys and his detailed investigation of the  Chinaman’s Point site (the best preserved of the remaining  Chinese fish-curing sites).

The monograph begins with a succinct review of  theoretical perspectives and an outline of previous relevant  archaeological and historical research in Australia. Chapter  2 traces the history of commercial fishing in Australia and  gradually focuses in on Victoria and coastal Gippsland  in particular. Chapter 3 examines China’s nineteenth  century fishing industry and the importance of fish in the  Chinese diet. The following chapter is a thorough  examination of the documentary evidence about Chinese  fish-curing in colonial Australia and the Chinese involvement  in commercial fishing. This reveals a far greater level of  participation than previously realised and puts to bed the  notion that Chinese fish-curers were ‘down on their luck’  ex-gold miners. On the contrary, Chinese fish-curing was  an established practise in Australia nearly a decade before  the Victoria gold-rush era, and involved a complex interrelationship  between entrepreneurial Chinese merchants  and those working for them.

Chapters 5 and 6 outline the field methodology and results  of the survey and excavation of the Chinaman’s Point site.  Comparative analysis (including extensive recourse to  American and New Zealand literature and assemblages)  indicates that the Chinaman’s Point site assemblage  represents a fairly typical colonial period Chinese site.  The industrial artefacts and structural remains confirm that  it was a fish-curing establishment and the site’s occupants  caught the fish themselves. The author has made special  effort to verify hypotheses about the use or role of artefacts  found in overseas Chinese sites which are often taken for  granted, on occasion offering alternative explanations.  The detailed analysis and interpretation of the recovered  materials and remains of structures is particularly  informative about the means and operations of the Chinese  fish-curers at Chinaman’s Point and their wider interactions  with both Chinese communities and Europeans.

Chapter 7 continues to focus on the site by dating as accurately  as possible the occupation period at Chinaman’s Point, while  the second half of this chapter discusses the more significant  information gleaned from the artefact analysis. The final  chapter brings together the evidence from all avenues of the  inquiry. The conclusions confirm the significant contribution  this published volume makes to developing an informed  viewpoint about the Chinese experience in colonial Australia,  especially regarding their massive contribution to Victoria’s  fishing industry during the mid- to late nineteenth century.

This highly readable, well-illustrated monograph provides access to the knowledge gained from a very good PhD project. It elucidates a forgotten or missing chapter in the overall history of Chinese settlement in Australia (there are other missing chapters too), and highlights the significant role a small specialised sector of the nineteenth century Chinese migrants (the fish curers) played in the development of the Victorian fishing industry.

Review of ‘An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement. The Hyde Park Barracks, 1848-1886′ by Peter Davies, Penny Crook and Tim Murray


Arch of Institutional Confinement LR‘An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement. The Hyde Park Barracks, 1848–1886’ by Peter Davies, Penny Crook and Tim Murray. 2013. Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology 4, Sydney University Press, North Parramatta, 132 pp. ISBN 978 1 92089 979 0 (pbk).

Reviewed by Susan Piddock

Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia <>

In the last 20 years historical archaeologists have turned their focus to consider nineteenth and twentieth century institutions in England, America, New Zealand and Australia. Taking various forms (e.g. asylums, workhouses, prisons, schools and various ‘homes’), these institutions were often focused on the reform of the individual. The major difficulty facing archaeologists working within this area has been linking artefacts to the residents, whether inmates or staff. The Hyde Park Barracks presents a unique opportunity for archaeologists in that there is an extensive artefact collection, reasonably confined spaces where inmates and staff lived, and a limited time period of use for the building. This allows the artefacts to be securely linked to people inhabiting portions of the barracks.

The Hyde Park Barracks was constructed between 1817 and 1819 to accommodate male convicts. Over the years it was added to, with makeshift buildings gradually surrounding the main building. It was home to an Immigration Depot on the first and second floors from 1848–1886 and the Destitute Asylum for Infirm and Destitute Women on the third level from 1862–1886.

Over the years the Barracks has been subject to multiple excavations by different archaeologists and the records of artefacts recovered were housed in different catalogues, with incomplete records making the analysis of artefacts difficult. As part of the Exploring the Archaeology of the Modern City (EAMC) project, a joint investigation was undertaken by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and Tim Murray (La Trobe University), with funding by the Australian Research Council. This project (undertaken from 2008–2011) resulted in a detailed, refined and expanded artefact catalogue, in particular the correction of 4885 existing records and the addition of 1225 new records from a new analysis of unsorted bulk material. Penny Crook, Peter Davies and Tim Murray use this artefact catalogue, along with historical research, to explore the world of the Hyde Park Barracks.

The monograph consists of seven chapters. The first chapter provides a brief history of the Hyde Park Barracks and its architecture. The second explores the archaeological history of the barracks’ main building by detailing excavations, deposition processes and the nature of the artefact collection, while Chapter Three considers the history of charity and immigration in nineteenth century New South Wales and focuses on institutional care. Chapter Four considers the working of the institution, including room use, inmates, sanitation, medicine, visitors and special occasions. Chapter Five draws on the artefact collection to explore life within the barracks and contains good quality, clear photographs of artefacts. Chapter Six explores the life of the Matron and her family by considering what artefacts from their living spaces can tell us and Chapter Seven considers the theoretical background of institutional archaeology, as well as the findings of the authors in respect to consumption, labour and spirituality. Each chapter ends abruptly and there are no conclusions which draw together the themes and ideas of each chapter, making them seem unfinished.

In this monograph the descriptions of artefacts provide a glimpse into life within the asylum and are a highlight of this volume. The authors discuss objects that can be associated with known activities, in particular sewing, smoking, reading, religious activities and the giving of medicine. For those not familiar with institutions, the artefact-based discussion in the chapter focusing on daily life provides a good insight into the artefact assemblage and the varied day-to-day life experienced by women within the institution. While household assemblages are often dominated by ceramics and bottles (which can provide information about economic activities, status, trade and access to material culture), artefacts within institutions were selected by authorities as being suitable for the social status of the women and with practical considerations taken into account. Within an institution, items that are not highly interpretative in a domestic household, such as matches, have meaning attached to them—for illicit smoking, providing light and as trade objects. This is discussed to some degree within the monograph, but without much detail—obviously the authors cannot include an endlessly detailed discussion of the artefacts without making the monograph unwieldy. However, the sheer wealth of artefacts available for analysis provides a unique opportunity to consider their meaning to the inmates and the internal economy generally.

Unlike households, the inmates of institutions were generally many and the staff as numerous. Hyde Park Barracks is fairly unique in having one matron for such a long period and limited housing for destitute women. This would offer the opportunity to discuss artefacts in a unique way, in particular the question of intentional concealment. The asylum world is one where the women had little power and the need to secrete items of personal importance away from other inmates’ hands is an interesting one. Hopefully future publications will be undertaken that expand this discussion.

Of interest to the archaeologist is the sheer diversity of artefacts recovered, from hat elements, a cap, books, matches, matchbooks and cutlery to a whole bodice and gloves, most of which are related to their wider period of use in Sydney. The authors consider commonality of use and use archival records to explore their use within the asylum. The clear photographs make the volume of use to those working in historical archaeology, not just those working in institutional archaeology.

Interestingly, the theoretical chapter is at the end of the volume; however, it would have been useful to have had this at the beginning as it informs the analysis of artefacts. It is impossible to view artefacts and their meaning without the mental framework we all carry about both institutions and how artefacts are used in daily life. The authors state in this final chapter that they do not view institutions as distinct from factories and the military, and hold the view that a critical element of modernity is institutionalisation of many aspects of life ‘outside of totalising institutions’ (Davies et al. 2013:94). The reader needs more than a sentence to understand this important point and how it affects their analysis of the artefact collection, as this is far from the usual approach taken in institutional archaeology. The authors needed to argue their case for this approach and demonstrate how their beliefs informed their work in order to enable the reader to make an informed decision about whether they supported the argument by following the path of the evidence. The authors seem to assume that all institutional archaeology is about total institutions. It must be noted that the field is more diverse in its view, and is not limited to discussions of social control and discipline, and, as such, it would have been nice to have a more detailed theory section. The appeal of this volume is likely to be much wider than just those interested in institutional archaeology because of the buildings’ use as a museum where the artefacts can be viewed on site. Overall, while this reviewer has some questions about the theory used, this does not detract from the value of this monograph as a unique opportunity to discuss an institutional artefact assemblage closely linked to a group of defined people. It fulfils this role very well and provides an insight into the private world of an asylum.

Review of ‘Archaeological Dimensions of World Heritage: From Prevention to Social Implications’ edited by Alicia Castillo

Castillo Arch Dimension of World Heritage‘Archaeological Dimensions of World Heritage: From Prevention to Social Implications’ edited by Alicia Castillo. 2014. Springer, New York, xi+114 pp. ISBN 978 1 4939 0283 5.

Reviewed by Ian Lilley (1)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit, The University of Queensland, St Lucia Qld 4072, Australia <>

This volume results from the inaugural International Conference on Best Practices in World Heritage: Archaeology, held on the Spanish Balearic island of Menorca (aka ‘Minorca’). The Editor worked with a team of Spanish colleagues and an international scientific committee to bring practitioners from around the world, including a number from Australia, to discuss a range of pressing issues in archaeological world heritage management. The next conference is scheduled for April–May 2015.

The conference was developed with the imprimatur of the ICOMOS International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM). Described in National Geographic’s (Tourtellot 2012) conference report as ‘One of the most significant global committees that you never heard of’, ICAHM ‘advises ICOMOS and the World Heritage Committee on matters that pertain to all aspects of the management of archaeological sites and landscapes’. On that basis, it is focused on developing internationally accepted ‘standards and best practices for both archaeological research and cultural heritage management’ (<>). The volume under review is part of ICAHM’s Archaeological Heritage Management series, produced by Springer in its SpringerBriefs in Archaeology project1.

According to the publisher’s online blurb (<http:// +archaeology/book/978-1-4939-0282-8>), the volume ‘presents exemplary models’ from a diverse array of World Heritage sites around the globe, including Australia, and is intended as ‘a resource for management and treatment of archaeological World Heritage properties’. It is not just about World Heritage sites listed for their archaeological values, however, ‘but also World Heritage properties where the analysis of their archaeological dimension provides a deeper and better understanding of the assets’.

To these ends, the volume comprises eight chapters, including an introduction by the Editor and her colleague María Ángeles Querol Fernández, and a conclusion by the Editor alone. The introduction is a brief but substantive paper setting out the parameters of archaeological heritage and its management, as well as a rationale for selection of the papers included in the book. The authors’ central point is that there is a pressing need to ‘re-educate the gaze’ (p.10) on archaeological world heritage, away from monumental sites towards something more social and representative. That is not news to people from our part of the world who have been trying to drive that point home for many years, but it is still a major issue elsewhere around the planet, where non-monumental sites are rarely listed.

The six other chapters cover historic central Havana in Cuba, where there are very difficult issues for archaeological heritage managers, including damage to the archaeological record caused by the restoration of built heritage; Cyprus, which luxuriates in its archaeological riches on the one hand but on the other has real problems with accurate documentation of those riches owing to the ways in which they physically intersect and overlap in the landscape; Willandra Lakes in Australia, where work with a range of stakeholders, including local Aboriginal people, farmers and pastoralists, is substantially improving the management of archaeological heritage values; Brazil, which has seen the development of innovative educational programs to connect World Heritage sites with local communities; Libya, where continuing warfare is exacerbating differences in approach that are likely to leave the cultural landscapes of the south neglected while the Classical-age sites of the north are restored; and, in the final chapter before Castillo’s conclusion, the archaeologically-fascinating island of Menorca where the conference was held, specifically how forward-looking urban planning seeks to connect local people to the archaeology and thus help underpin a bid for World Heritage nomination.

The concluding chapter is a declaration of principles and proposals regarding a range of best practices characterised as ‘actions’ (p.108) and ‘tools’ (p.110). It is ‘intended to be a reference for a proactive and dynamic practice of archaeological property management’ (p.105). ICAHM has adopted an abbreviated version of this declaration as the Menorca Statement on the Development and Use of Best Practices in the Management of Archaeological World Heritage Sites, which is posted at < icahm/documents/MenorcaStatement.pdf>.

There is no question that the Menorca conference and a resulting publication and declaration or statement were all good in principle for archaeological heritage management, but does this volume succeed in being what Springer’s website says is: ‘a new, original source presenting model strategies … to improve the consideration and treatment of the most outstanding valued sites considered by UNESCO’? I wish it had included more papers, but it is definitely a good start. For me its most valuable dimension, to bounce off the title, is that the work very usefully extends the scope of discussion beyond the ‘usual suspects’, geographically-and linguistically-speaking, to include a variety of insightful perspectives and approaches to what are at root common problems for archaeological heritage practitioners right around the world. It is good to know that one is not alone

when grappling with problem x or y, not out of some sort of personal or professional schadenfreude, but because one gains moral and practical support from people thinking up and bringing to fruition clever ways to approach this or that issue. It can be very wearing to be reminded of the Sisyphean task we all face in managing archaeological heritage, pushing one set of solutions to the top of the pile only to have to start again when a new or recurring set of problems rolls back down towards us. Yet I am always energised by efforts such as the volume in focus here, because they show that the attempt is always worth the effort, despite our never-ending difficulties. As Camus (1955) concluded in the The Myth of Sisyphus, ‘The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart’.


Camus, A. 1955 The Myth of Sisyphus. Translated by Justin O’Brien. London: Hamish Hamilton.

Tourtellot, J. 2012 Archaeologists Blast Hasty World Heritage Listings. Retrieved 25 November 2014 from <http://voices.>.



1 For the record, I am a member of ICOMOS and Secretary- General of ICAHM. I was on the conference Scientific Committee (as I am for the 2015 meeting) and presented a paper in Menorca, but I am not directly involved with the SpringerBriefs in Archaeology project or its ICAHM Archaeological Heritage Management series.

Review of ‘The Death of Prehistory’ edited by Peter Schmidt and Stephen Mrozowski

Death of prehistory cover‘The Death of Prehistory’ edited by Peter Schmidt and Stephen Mrozowski. 2013. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 377 pp. ISBN 978 0 19 968459 5 (hbk).

Reviewed by John Giblin

The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom <>

Schmidt and Mrozowski’s edited volume, The Death of Prehistory, traces the rise and fall of the concept of prehistory and, in so doing, outlines the many ways in which it has problematically bolstered an untenable sense of Western superiority and obscured the deep and complex histories of non- Western peoples. Importantly, in addition, through a collection of case studies, the volume offers practical ways in which post-colonial archaeologies can deconstruct and move beyond the prehistory/history divide.

The volume is based on papers that were presented at the 2010 Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting, Amelia Island, Florida, in the session ‘Prehistory as History or the End of Prehistory: Deep-Time Non-Western Histories and Issues of Representation—Their Implications for ‘Prehistory’’, which was organised by the Editors, Peter Schmidt and Stephen Mrozowski.

Following the Editors’ introduction, the volume is separated into three parts, ‘Part I: Histories of Prehistory’, ‘Part II: Perspectives Arising out of Africa and India’, and ‘Part III: Perspectives Arising out of the Americas’. Unfortunately, despite the advertisement that the book contains 14 essays by ‘notable archaeologists of the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia’, which suggests a broad geographical spread, the volume is heavily weighted toward the Americas (six case study chapters), with Africa (three eastern African case study chapters) and Asia (one India case study chapter) receiving much less attention, and Europe none at all. Furthermore, with direct relevance for this journal, it is surprising that the Editors do not include specific chapters about issues of prehistory in Australia and New Zealand.

Although it is always difficult, if not impossible, to generate a thematic and geographically proportional spread in an edited volume, the lack of focus on these regions is problematic here, especially with regards to European- and Australian-specific responses, considering that this is where the term prehistory is, in my experience, still in most use. Indeed, even though I fully agree that prehistory should meet its end, in the absence of a sufficiently strong counter argument to those included from Africa, Asia and the Americas, this volume runs the risk of only preaching to the converted.

For example, although the life and death of prehistory is a fascinating part of the history of archaeological thought, at first glance as an archaeologist with a research focus on African material culture it feels a little bit like old news. Indeed, by the time I began archaeological studies in London in the late 1990s, despite the persistence of units on ‘European Prehistory’, the notion of an African prehistory had been thoroughly unpacked, debated and firmly rejected. The difference at the time presumably was that, in contrast to studies of African pasts, prehistory was not felt to have been comparably used to deny the cultural accomplishments of European peoples and thus was not politically problematic within that context and consequently retained some usefulness. However, this latter point is now increasingly contested, as the history of non or less literately defined European heritages, such as those of the Sami, which have been marginalised due to the lack of written histories and classed as prehistoric, are receiving more attention.

Nevertheless, despite progress in this area, as Schmidt’s and Mrozowski’s introduction, and Kehoe’s and Lane’s ‘Histories of Prehistory’ chapters identify, prehistory remains alive and well as a functioning concept in European archaeology. For example, at an Indigenous archaeology workshop I attended in Uppsala in October 2013, ‘Africanist’ archaeological colleagues were surprised by, and some publicly questioned, the unproblematised use of ‘prehistory’ by ‘Europeanist’ colleagues, only to find that they were equally surprised by the problems we attached to such use.

Furthermore, despite efforts by some in Australia, including the journal of Australian Archaeology, to avoid the use of the term prehistory (as also identified by Lane), based on two years recent university teaching experience in Sydney, I would contend that ‘prehistory’ is alive and well as an unproblematic concept in the discipline of archaeology with regards to pre-European contact Indigenous Australian periods.

Thus, it seems a shame not to have archaeological perspectives from these and other areas of the world that defend and contest the use of the term to potentially expand the debate here beyond the converted. For example, from the perspective of African archaeology, having recently attended the 14th Congress of the Pan African Archaeological Association at the University of the Witswaterand in South Africa (July 2014), I doubt anyone at that conference would have used prehistory without considerable problematisation of the term.

Nevertheless, whether this volume is as pertinent and as original as its Editors suggest, the chapters within it make a highly valuable contribution to the continued progress toward a decolonial, or more post-colonial, archaeology—a project to which Schmidt, Lane and others have long committed themselves. For example, within Part I, Lane’s chapter reflects on the way in which the prehistory/history divide has been used as a tool of modernity that constructs some people as modern and others as premodern and in so doing deliberately or unwittingly supports a social evolutionary hierarchy. However, Lane contends, ‘modernism is a myth’ (p.65), a construct much the same as the prehistory/history divide and thus one that can be deconstructed and replaced. In response, and as a way of moving toward a more post-colonial archaeology, Lane powerfully suggests that if we understand ‘archaeology [as] a form of presencing the past in the present, through the use of material remains from the past, far from being unique to the modern era and a purely

European construct, archaeology forms a central strand of practice in all societies whether past, present or future’ (p.66). In this way, the presencing of the past through archaeological work is a material memory practice that unites all societies and thus may replace the prehistory/ history divide.

Moving on to Part II and eastern Africa, the chapters by Waltz and colleagues, and La Violette again tackle the issue of the problematic prehistory concept but, most importantly (in my view), contribute toward an invigorated post-colonial archaeology by highlighting general issues inherent to the colonial development of archaeology in the region and by outlining ways in which to create more nuanced, locally informed, pasts.

For example, firstly, in Tanzania Waltz exposes how the concept ‘hinterland’ is linked and comparable to ‘prehistory’ in the way that the two have often been combined and constructed as almost unknowable, marginal masses. In contrast, by deliberately targeting these constructed margins, and by exploring local living oral accounts, Waltz finds that these supposed margins actually have deep and dynamic histories that should be central to our understanding of the region’s history. Indeed, it is Waltz’s ‘hope that others will seek the forgotten people at spatial and temporal edges to make new, more integrative histories that dissolve rather than reinscribe essentialisms like prehistory and hinterland’ (p.91).

Secondly, moving from the conflation of time and space in Tanzania, Schmidt tackles the conflation of politics and past in Uganda and the way in which some oral histories, once considered prehistory, have, over recent times, been variously authorised as truth or dismissed as myth by the colonial and neocolonial West dependent on their political usefulness. In this way, Schmidt associates the choice whether to identify something as prehistoric or not with the shifting political landscape. In response, Schmidt promotes a return to structuralism as a way to analyse oral histories and produce new, more critically informed, historical perspectives.

Thirdly, and finally for eastern Africa, Pawlowicz and La Violette analyse the relationship between the supposedly historic Swahili coast of southern Tanzania and the supposedly prehistoric but contemporary non-Swahili coastal and interior sites. In their chapter, they summarise how their deconstruction of a selection of Swahili chronicles exposes biases associated with the context of their construction, for example, the heavy focus on external, foreign origins, and then use these new perspectives in combination with archaeological analyses to reinterpret coastal relations and ultimately to challenge the interpretation of some contemporary neighbouring communities as prehistoric and others as historic.

Consequently, by challenging the notion of prehistory, the authors move us into familiar, but still highly relevant, ground regarding the disenfranchisement of local peoples from their pasts and the need to engage with those communities, and the way in which colonial and neo-colonial archaeological practices have imbued the past with Western politics and thus the need to deconstruct and revise those pasts with new perspectives.

Following the India and Americas chapters, which I have not summarised here due to a lack of space and because they are outside of my field of experience, the Editors conclude with a series of questions, the answers to which are intended to clarify their positions at the close of the volume. These include: ‘How does recent writing in ‘deep history’ particularly the popular new book, Deep History by Shryock and Smail, relate to this volume?’; ‘Many archaeologists engaged in prehistoric research do not interact with indigenous or local communities. It is commonly said by prehistorians that ‘we deal with dead people and do not have to worry about the living’. Given this disposition what advantage does a collaborative approach have for prehistorians?’; ‘Why in an era of postcolonial study is it necessary to dwell on prehistory?’; ‘Why do time and space issues arise in this discussion and why are they important? How does place relate to space?’; ‘The concept of entanglement with different temporalities is used throughout the volume. Why is this pertinent to contemporary archaeology?’; ‘Oral traditions are mentioned in many chapters as central to understanding how other, non-Western cultures construct their histories. When oral traditions are widely felt to have limited usefulness, why are they emphasised?’; ‘How does the concept of liminality contribute to a different approach in making histories?’ and ‘Is there a difference in the way the authors of this book approach their work compared to other archaeologists?’ (pp.292–300).

In summary, if you do not have time to read this volume all you need to know is that prehistory is a problematic term that creates an artificial divide between Western valorised pasts and others. And if that is all you want to know then perhaps this review will save you some considerable time. However, as a volume of chapters that continue to push the envelope of the post-colonial archaeological past in the Americas, India and eastern Africa this is an important work.

Review of ‘Working with Rock Art: Recording, Presenting and Understanding Rock Art Using Indigenous Knowledge’ edited by Benjamin Smith, Knut Helskog and David Morris

Working with Rock Art LRWorking With Rock Art: Recording, Presenting and Understanding Rock Art Using Indigenous Knowledge edited by Benjamin Smith, Knut Helskog and David Morris. 2012. Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg, xv+312 pp. ISBN 978 1 86814 545 4.

Reviewed by Sven Ouzman

Centre for Rock Art Research + Management, School of Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia <>

A telling sign of rock art’s disciplinary maturity is a publication in which the illustrations are mostly inessential. Though the 24 chapters each average just under six illustrations, the focus is firmly methodologically and theoretically on aspects of rock art documentation, interpretation and presentation. This focus also helps to destabilise rock art’s ocularcentrism. Both Janette Deacon (‘Expressing intangibles: A

recording experience with /Xam rock engravings’) and Knut Helskog (‘The routine of documentation’) express frustration and caution respectively with regards to routine forms of rock art documentation, which can close off key non-visual understandings of rock art. Deacon’s use of narrative photography and mapping powerfully projects archived images and words of /Xam San on their rock engraved hinterland. This is done literally and at night, when normal vision gives way to a wider sensorium. This strongly locative intervention ventures into territory that text alone cannot. Helskog warns against repetitive routines and argues for regularly varying one’s recording techniques and habits (including the seasons and times of day) in order to gain additional visual and more-than-visual perspectives on rock art. These two author’s perspectives set up a productive tension with the Editor’s foreword lament that ‘we have no internationally agreed upon methods or standards of practice’ (p.xi). Perhaps the diversity of rock art makes such methodological standardisation impossible. Indeed, perhaps we should encourage still further methodological diversity to help expose and overcome ingrained biases of practice. Technologies of vision crop up again in Paul Taçon’s ‘Presenting rock art through digital film: Recent Australian examples’. The salient issue—apart from the surprising paucity of popular archaeological films in Australia and thus the importance of this medium in sensitising non-Indigenous Australians to the deep history they have stumbled upon— is the speed and skill with which Indigenous youth take to digital recording methods. These are skills and technologies they can transfer to other spheres of their lives.

The transfer of skill and knowledge applies to the book as a whole as it is the product of a 2006 Scandinavian-South African rock art conference that also drew in researchers from west and east. This intellectual geography provincialises western European notions of heritage and management as but one of a range of possibilities rather than the normative standard. But for a volume so focused on complex theoretical and methodological issues, more space could have been given to northern and southern understandings of indigeneity, especially as the term Indigenous knowledge governs the book’s subtitle. This term is notoriously ambiguous (e.g. Haber 2007) as it can mean using ‘Indigenous knowledge’ as one of a range of contextually relevant data sets to understand rock art—preferably in something approaching an insider’s understanding. It can also mean a future vision for rock art research in which the descendants and custodians of rock art traditions play an ever-greater role in interpreting, managing and presenting rock art. A hint of the latter is provided in a nice personal touch from David Morris, who dedicates his chapter to the late Batista Salvador, ‘the first San guide of rock art in South Africa’ (p.242). The former approach attracts criticism that it seeks to contain and colonise Indigenous knowledge within a normative archaeological approach. The latter runs the risk of centring Indigenous knowledge for politically correct and expedient reasons (Sylvain 2014).

Interestingly, several of the book’s authors could claim Indigenous status, but do not, preferring to align their insights through a broadly archaeological lens. This separation between archaeologists and the producers of rock art both past and present leads to thinking of indigeneity as a product rather than as a process. An instructive exception is Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu’s chapter on three Drakensberg rock art site ‘museums’ in which he sketches the complexity of this rock art’s authorship and afterlife. Today’s approximately 120,000 self-identified San have, sensu stricto, little geographic or genetic link to Drakensberg rock art. Stronger links are found sublimated in local African Nguni-speakers who were—until the overthrow of Apartheid in 1994—too ashamed to admit their San ancestry. But they do so now, acquiring a dual identity that is as inconvenient to the modern nation state as it is challenging to ‘real’ San. Further north, Leslie Zubieta writes on gendered art in south-central Africa in ‘Animals and humans: Metaphors of representation in south-central African rock art’. She is able to show close links between Indigenous knowledge and rock art even though the latter is no longer produced. In the northern hemisphere this relationship is much more tenuous. For example, Antti Lahelma in ‘Politics, ethnography and prehistory: In search of an ‘informed’ approach to Finnish and Karelian rock art’ points out that today’s Indigenous Sàmi have, at best, vestigial or derived knowledge, traditions and practices relating to ca 1500–5000 year old engraved and painted traditions on the land they now inhabit. But he suggests that these vestiges are nevertheless still part of Braudel-like ‘slow-moving deep bone structures’ (p.117) and may be used in multistranded analogical arguments.

While analogy is central to our interpretation of culture it remains contentious. It is vigorously championed by David Whitley in a western United States Numic rock art and ethnographic context, and by David Pierce on methodological grounds using painted burial stones found in southern African coastal excavations. Whitley’s salient point is that we have to read not only through the bias of flawed anthropological interlocutors, power relations and historical contexts, but also through emic notions of secrecy. The latter point situates agency beyond the human. Numic people disavow rock art’s anthropic authorship, locating it in a network of people,

supernatural agents, and evolutionary psychology. Five authors explore ways other than analogy to attribute authorship and meaning. Thus, Tilman Lenssen-Erz tries to calibrate Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs with common archaeological criteria in a pragmatic, rather than phenomenological, approach that uses Namibian hunter-gatherer rock paintings and rock painting site types as a case study. Thembi Russell usefully advocates the use of geographical information systems for ‘the large-scale analysis of horizontal spatial patterning and the small-scale analysis of vertical patterning in rock art’ (p.37) to consider the age and authorship of especially southern African Khoekhoe or geometric art. Juha Pentikänen, in his chapter ‘Symbols in stone: Following in the footsteps of the bear in Finnish antiquity’, carefully deploys multiple evidential sources including archaeology, place names, oral and written histories, and shamanic drums to investigate the curious mismatch between apparently pan-Scandinavian bear cult beliefs and practices, and their absence or patchy presence in Finnish rock art. This sobering work shows how materially evanescent even seemingly long-lived ritual lifestyles can be. Andrzej Rozwadowski also seeks to go beyond analogy by looking through, and beyond, understandings of shamanism using rock art and cognate material culture, especially enlivened objects such as drums in ‘Rock art, shamanism and history: Implications from a central Asian case study’. Finally, Trond Lødøen relies on a phenomenological approach in a fascinating study of the Vingen engraving complex in western Norway. He uses a shaped stone engraver, argued to come from a potentially dangerously liminal coastal location, to think through how the conceptualisation, production and consumption of engraved images can empirically tether a wider set of human engagement with stone.

Here the Scandinavian partnership works particularly well. Southern African rock art research is overly concerned with visually spectacular hunter-gatherer rock paintings. This prejudice persists despite the exegesis for these rock paintings being derived from San who lived in rock engraving areas. Making engravings offers entirely new theoretical and methodological potential through which to advance knowledge, beginning with the definition of the nature and extent of a rock art site in both etic and emic terms. Further, the ability of engravings to take rock art research beyond a sub-disciplinary niche is demonstrated by the potent paring of Lindsay Weiss’ and David Morris’ chapters on the Wildebeestkuil rock engraving site museum in central South Africa. Weiss’ ‘Rock art at present in the past’ recasts rock art as just one of many human marks left on this place, a remnant ‘archipelago of histories’ (p.223). She situates the archipelago not in a linear chronology, but suggests rock art defies such neat and seemingly inevitable chronologies and the power-hungry interests that invest in such fictions. David Morris encourages a similar ‘jostling of voices’ (p.224) by promoting a bricolage approach where San guides— albeit from two non-local San groups displaced by war—create and blend their own narratives of the place rather than parrot standard rock art orthodoxies to visitors.

The Wildebeestkuil chapters thus have very little to do with putative past meanings and they group well with the chapters on rock art as heritage. Heritage and its management remains a critically undertheorised field, which is often reduced to boilerplate site management plans and impressive-sounding but deeply-flawed platitudes promoting positive heritage while supressing less palatable thanatic episodes. Terje Norsted’s innocuously titled ‘Aspects of documentation from conservation purposes exemplified by rock art’ belies a most thoughtful piece that transcends the normal route such articles take. He does this by interrogating notions of authenticity, what we deem heritage-worthy and unworthy, and ceding human agency to natural processes larger than our theory or technology can comprehend. Similarly, Anne-Sophie Hygen and Alexey Rogozhinsky immediately identify the paradoxes and contradictions not just inherent in, but essential to, rock art management. They use a Kazakhstani context, another welcome non-Anglophone case study, to suggest the real challenge is in managing meaning. This challenge is borne out in a starkly contrasting pair of papers by Gitte Kjeldsen and Pieter Jolly. Kjeldsen in ‘Norwegian rock art in the past, the present and the future’ acknowledges that working in a small, well-resourced northern country tends towards a UNESCO-style universalising of value and connection to rock art because it is perceived and presented in an imagined original state. Yet there is also an underdeveloped commentary on the state-sponsored Norwegian practice of painting engravings for visitors’ visual comfort, a contested practice that bears out Norsted’s insights on our anxieties of authenticity. Jolly describes a much more resource-constrained project in the southern alpine country of Lesotho where most people are unaware of, and unconnected to, rock art. Here, visitors’ visual comfort is tended to opportunistically by self-appointed guides who wet rock paintings to bring out their colour. To stop this practice and also to prevent graffiti damage, Jolly initiated a poster and radio project explaining the importance of rock art. The project was rather too successful, as the intended recipients of the 1000 posters—schools—seldom received them because people hijacked them for the beautiful and colourful addition they made to their home décor.

The book’s cross-feritilisation of northern methodological expertise and southern interpretive strength works well, but is undermined slightly by the six years between conference and publication. For example, Dipuo Mokowe’s article ‘Representing southern African San rock art: A move towards digitisation’ provides a valuable overview of recording over the last 200 years, but devotes less than two pages to digitisation, much of which has been superseded. The concluding chapter by Catherine Namono and Chris Chippindale comparing cultural heritage management in Yellowstone, where rock art is absent or, at least, not mentioned, and Kruger and Kakadu National Parks misses the last half-decade’s painful evolution as they try to understand and manage cultural heritage. Sadly, the relatively upbeat forecast for the Wildebeestkuil rock art site museum in 2006 has since deteriorated, having been victim to the fiction that heritage must pay for itself (Morris et al. 2009; Morris pers. comm 2012).

I greatly enjoyed this volume, as much for the trajectories of thought it stimulated as for its content. The real challenge is to southern-based researchers, who tend to have well established and successful ways of thinking and working. This makes it harder to explore alternative ways of thinking about rock art. Conversely, the dearth of ethnography, but similar cherishing of hermeneutics, frees the northern and Asian-focused researchers from orthodoxies and opens the potential for radically new ways of working with rock art.


Haber, A. 2007 This is not an answer to the question ‘Who is Indigenous?’. Archaeologies 3(3):213–229.

Morris, D., B. Ndebele and P. Wilson 2009 Who is interested in the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre? Preliminary results from a visitor questionnaire. The Digging Stick 26(2):17–18, 23.

Sylvain, R. 2014 Essentialism and the Indigenous politics of recognition in southern Africa. American Anthropologist 116:251–264.

Review of ‘A Companion to Rock Art’ edited by Jo McDonald and Peter Veth

Book Cover A Companion to Rock Art‘A Companion to Rock Art’ edited by Jo McDonald and Peter Veth. 2012. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, xxxiv+680 pp. ISBN 978 1 44433 424 1 (hbk).

Reviewed by Ken Mulvaney

Centre for Rock Art Research + Management, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia <>

This is a book of essays edited by Jo McDonald and Peter Veth, two leading scholars in contemporary Australian engagement in archaeological fieldwork and Indigenous involvement. It provides an artistic and archaeological précis of selected rock art studies and thematic research, and the list of contributors is a who’s who of international rock art intellectuals. The inclusion of ‘Notes on Contributors’ is a sensible addition for such a publication, affording insight into the intellectual foundation of each author. At near 550 pages of text with figures, it is a weighty tome (17.78 x 25.4 cm and 3.8 cm thick) and many of the articles include extensive reference lists. In addition there are 16 pages of colour plates and 51 pages of front and end matters.

One of the values of this book is that it offers a range of international examples on the current thinking and methodologies employed in the field of rock art studies around the world. It includes case studies from Africa, Australia, the Pacific, India, North and South America, Siberia and Europe. The inclusion of entries based on research in the Indian subcontinent (Blinkhorn et al.), New Caledonia (Sand), and Puerto Rico and it’s neighbouring islands (Hayward and Cinquino), are particularly useful in a global book, for they are rarely considered.

The contributions are arranged into themed groupings, offering both a useful packaging of articles and a sense of the issues covered. They include subjects on landscape, gender, identity as ownership, understanding and management, as well as technological and methodological advances in rock art analyses. Each contribution is referenced as a chapter; although there is some thematic grouping of articles, there is not a linking flow between book chapters. The over-arching themes are:

  • Explanatory Frameworks: New Insights (three papers);
  • Inscribed Landscapes (three papers);
  • Rock Art at the Regional Level (four papers);
  • Engendered Approaches (three papers);
  • Form, Style and Aesthetics in Rock Art (four papers);
  • Contextualising Rock Art (four papers);
  • The Mediating Role of Rock Art (two papers);
  • Rock Art, Identity and Indigeneity (three papers);
  • Rock Art Management and Interpretation (four papers);
  • Dating Rock Art: Technological Advances and Applications (three papers); and,
  • Rock Art in the Digital Age (three papers).

The foreword, written by Meg Conkey, places rock art studies within the history of archaeological research and thought, and sets the context of rock art research in the framework of paradigms and theoretical approaches. The Editors’ opening chapter positions rock art studies within current conceptual constructs and activities, arranging them, as they say, to fit university teaching structure. The book is thus primarily designed as an educational aid, with the selection of themes and authors evidencing the particular bias of the Editors. This by no means detracts from the book’s overall value to general readers interested in rock art. The opening chapter in particular provides a useful introduction to rock art research methodology and a guide to specific chapters containing discussion of the relevant subject. If possible, read this chapter before investing in the book; it may help in deciding your reading focus.

Students and practitioners alike will benefit from the diverse aspects covered by this book. There are many excellent papers, providing models for approaches to the discipline and offering theoretical frameworks that examine ways of understanding the cultural context and production of rock art. Not all may agree with a specific research approach or results presented in this book, nevertheless their arguments are well presented and it will aid students when it comes to essay writing or tutorial discussion.

As Meg Conkey observes in the foreword, the value of Lewis- Williams’ paper (Chapter 2) is that shamanism is only one explanation for a component of rock art, not that all rock art is produced within a shamanistic context. This is a reality that many Australian scholars have long recognised, but it is little acknowledged in other parts of the world. Yet this erudite discourse on the subject is useful.

A variety in the quality of writing is evident, which is not unexpected in a book covering such a wide geographic range and authorship. Some of this results from the mundane reporting of information rather than strong analytical constructs. The value of many individual articles is that they provide useful analytical tools and hypothesis testing which may be applied to other places and rock art corpuses. Other papers provide an historical slice through rock art studies, highlighting how the discipline has changed and developed over time through theoretical and analytical approaches.

This is less a technical book on rock art and more a timely collection of articles highlighting the diversity of the subject and ways to understand the past. It is not a technical book per se, rather it provides insight into how things are being recorded and interpreted around the world and what might be of interest. This book establishes that rock art studies are as diverse in their approach and research methodology as any other branch of archaeology or anthropology.

Review of ‘Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conservations, Criticisms’ edited by Ian Alden Russell and Andrew Cochrane

978-1-4614-8989-4_Cover_1.indd‘Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms’ edited by Ian Alden Russell and Andrew Cochrane. 2014. One World Archaeology, Springer, 252 pp. ISBN 978 1 46148 989 4.

Reviewed by June Ross

Archaeology, School of Humanities, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2051, Australia <>

As the Editors state in their introduction to this volume, art and archaeology are not recent bedfellows. What then can we, as archaeologists, gain from a union between the two? Contributor Doug Bailey implores us to take ‘greater risks’ (p.231) and promises that such risk-taking will reward those ‘who explore the radical potential that lurks within the connection’ (p.233) between archaeology and art. Bailey acknowledges that art and archaeology are radically different disciplines and warns that rewards will not be realised simply by one discipline visiting the other, but, instead, success requires each practitioner to move into novel spaces in order to find new ways of thinking about the past. To help the reader find such novel spaces, the Editors have compiled a volume of 15 papers that aim to identify the commonalities between art and archaeology, demonstrate the ways that archaeologists can learn from the practice of visual arts and provide successful examples of these synergies.

The book is divided into four thematic sections Part I, ‘Exploration and Experimentation’, brings together the work of five archaeologists, all of whom have engaged with modern and contemporary art as a source of inspiration. Fortunately, none become bogged down in lengthy haggling over what constitutes ‘art’. Colin Renfrew discusses the current acceptance of archaeological objects exhibited as art, but warns against the simple appropriation of these objects by contemporary artists or the romanticising of the past that must inevitably result in superficiality. Instead, he urges artists to consider archaeological objects in terms of materials, or the thought processes of the original artists. Turning more to archaeology, Andy Jones considers Upper Palaeolithic sculptural forms and challenges the interplay between passive material environments, the characteristics of materials and their influence on human agency. He espouses an experimental gestural approach to the interpretation and understanding of Palaeolithic practices. Focusing on the human body, Liliana Janik argues for a new understanding of human visual expression and the way the brain processes visual information. Using examples from contemporary and ancient art, she explores the universality of a visual vocabulary based on being human, a concept she labels as neuroaesthetics. In the final short but stimulating chapter of this section, Andrew Cochrane and Ian Russell describe a somewhat cheeky experiment in which reproductions of ancient Cycladic figurines were displayed in such a way that their origins as ancient objects were altered, thus changing the perception and behaviour of viewers. This led the authors to consider how people had engaged with objects through time: was it unintentional, ad hoc and unexpected, or considered, premeditated and intentioned?

The second section of the volume, ‘Curatorial Practice’, focuses on the production, presentation and display of contemporary arts within archaeological and heritage scenarios. Here, we find examples of the novel spaces that Bailey flagged. Ian Russell reflects on a series of individual artworks from exhibitions titled ‘Ábhar agus Meon’, which he curated as part of Ireland’s hosting of the Sixth World Archaeological Congress at University College Dublin in 2008. The displays were placed in locations shared between the contemporary arts, archaeology and Heritage Ireland. His comprehensive overview of the artworks, exhibitions and projects details the ways in which he aimed to break with conventional presentations, instead offering a pause, or space, where new ideas and insights could flourish. In the following chapter, Pat Cooke, as past Director of Kilmainham Goal and Museum in Dublin, questions the role of heritage and the arts as separate, distinct practices. She recounts numerous examples of how arts interventions came to play a significant role in opening up the history, architecture and symbolism of Kilmainham Goal, an ideologically complex heritage site. She puts forward a strong case demonstrating that art exhibitions, theatrical performances and opera at heritage sites, particularly at sites of contested history, can contribute to the critical, reflexive interpretation of place, provided the performances are seen as autonomous. Helen Wickstead’s paper explores the presentation of the iconic archaeological site of Stonehenge in video format, and poses a challenging notion concerning the potency of moving images, which she sees as both being influenced by the location, and at the same time influencing the physical structure of Stonehenge. In the concluding chapter of this section, Christine Finn takes the concept of ‘home’, something central to most humans and explores the ways in which physical structures can create emotional responses. Using her own home as an installation space, she investigates the ways that responses of intimacy, recall and time passing are engendered.

Part III, ‘Application and Exchange’, presents four case studies that feature the application of archaeological methodology to arts materials or, alternatively, the adoption of artistic display into archaeological practice. Blaze O’Connor records how she excavated and then supervised the reconstruction of the artist Francis Bacon’s chaotic studio in the Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. By moving the studio, intact and complete with dust layers to the gallery space, the studio was raised to the status of monument. A similar exercise in Australia saw the same attention to detail with the reconstruction of Margaret Olley’s Yellow Room in the Tweed River Art Gallery in northern New South Wales. Working in the Orkney Islands on a Neolithic site, Antonia Thomas demonstrates the potential of inviting a range of artists and performers to use an archaeological excavation as inspiration to create arts experiences and installations in more formal gallery spaces, thus facilitating an opportunity for more critical analysis of the archaeological materials. Michaël Jasmin presents a French perspective on international collaborations and reciprocation between art

practitioners and archaeologists and the resulting tensions between art and science that he sees arising. The authors of the final paper in this section deal with another Neolithic site on the Orkney Islands. Here, film is used to capture and communicate very different qualities in the archaeological record compared to those normally documented with more traditional recording methods. The authors see this approach as a means to activate data that would otherwise lie dormant.

The fourth and final section, ‘Archaeology after Art’, opens with a paper presented, in part, as a dialogue between Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks, in which they define their decades-long collaborations in theatre/archaeology. Seen as the re-articulation of fragments of the past as a real time event, they argue that this approach, which they support with multiple examples, offers a fertile and liberating means of addressing some key concerns about our current understanding of the past. They conclude by stating that the past lives on in our relationships with what remains, and propose that it is up to us to meet the past halfway by returning and revisiting it, by engaging with it, and exploring it in new ways. In the final chapter, Doug Bailey cites a number of radical, and at times raw, articulations between art and archaeology, whose novel spaces he sees as holding the key to providing new insights into the past. He summarises the current state of the intersection of art and archaeology by acknowledging that, while recent influences of contemporary arts practices have expanded archaeological interpretation, substantial work remains to be done.

The contributors to this volume have demonstrated that many themes are common to both art and archaeology, such as time, place, landscapes, material, display, the body and representation. It is not surprising then that the cross-pollination of the two disciplines has provided fertile ground. The case studies described demonstrate that contemporary arts practices have created new and enriched ways of perceiving material remains and have provided new interpretive models that archaeologists can use to explain the past. Although most of the contributors are from the United Kingdom or Ireland, the projects they explore are diverse and incorporate a more international spread. Readers of this book may find their ideas on traditional modes of presentation and exploration of archaeological data and practice shaken, but the papers have demonstrated that the intersection of art and archaeology provide rich pickings for those willing to take the risk.

Review of ‘Australia’s Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites’ by the Australian Heritage Council

Field BR Aust Fossil Heritage LR‘Australia’s Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites’ by the Australian Heritage Council. 2012. Collingwood, CSIRO Publishing, 188 pp. ISBN 978 0 64310 177 7.

Reviewed by Judith Field

School of BEES, University of New South Wales NSW 2052, Australia <>

Australia’s Fossil Heritage presents a selection of fossil sites from across the continent compiled by curators from state museums and other interested stakeholders. Reviewing this publication for the Australian Archaeology journal has been difficult because I think the publication is pitched to school-aged children. I sincerely hope that is the case because there are many factual and interpretive errors in here about two sites that I have some familiarity with.

The book presents a snapshot of each fossil locality chosen for inclusion, averaging around 10 sites for each state—some more, some less. The sites were selected by palaeontologists, and other sites were added to these lists if deemed to be of national importance. As a result, some archaeological sites were also added, and a potted history of each location is provided.

I was especially interested because it included Cuddie Springs, a site I have spent 20 years investigating. As it turns out, the discussion is misleading and mostly inaccurate, which is frustrating. The same could be said of the enthusiastic write-up of Devils Lair. It is clear that the investigators of both important sites were not asked to check the information presented here. It is very disappointing to see what could have been an informative book on these sites undermined by lack of attention to the basic facts, especially the very poor referencing of widely available published material. Cuddie Springs is presented as contentious without substantiation, while Devils Lair is described as one of the best localities in Australia to review human associations with megafauna. However, the last time I looked the evidence was equivocal for humans and megafauna being contemporary at Devils Lair. At one point the authors state that people were at Devils Lair from 30,000 to 8000 years ago, while in another they argue that they were there from 48,000 years ago. Not surprisingly, the citation list is wanting.

There are numerous impressive illustrations by Peter Schouten in an attempt to create visual impact and bring some of these scenes to life. The first diorama is of the Cuddie Springs site and I was immediately struck by the complete lack of environmental contextual accuracy in reconstructing the site during a time when megafauna were still around. I can only conclude that Peter Schouten did not refer to any of the site descriptions before embarking on this painting. I then wonder how inaccurate the rest of the reconstructions might be.

If the aim is to introduce the general public to a sample of the fossil history of Australia, then the book succeeds, albeit with many factual inaccuracies. The book might be of use to school-aged children trying to get a handle on the fossil history of Australia; if this was the case it would have benefited from having the illustrated timeline at the front of the book instead of hidden in an appendix at the back. The glossary was really useful and comprehensive and was perhaps the most substantive part of the book. Australia’s Fossil Heritage looks like it was cobbled together with little attention to detail. On the one hand it is encouraging to see Australia’s fossil history getting a positive profile in the popular press, on the other, it is really disappointing to see the significant shortcomings emanating from a simple lack of scholarship.

Review of ‘The Science of Human Origins’ by Claudio Tuniz, Giorgio Manzi and David Caramelli

Science of Human Origins cover‘The Science of Human Origins’ by Claudio Tuniz, Giorgio Manzi and David Caramelli. 2014. Walnut Creek, Left Coast Press, 186 pp. ISBN 978 1 61132 972 8 (pbk).

Reviewed by Iain Davidson

Archaeology, School of Humanities, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2051, Australia <>

This is a very strange book. Written by three Italian scientists working on different aspects of the science of human origins, and translated from the original Italian, it is not clear who is the intended audience. In six short chapters, the authors offer a primer on human origins as the essential background for telling a story: a review of dating methods and their applications; a summary of evidence on climate change in the Pleistocene; a description of the power of CT scanning of fossils; a brief account of the methods of palaeogenomics and some of the ethical problems they have encountered; and a very brief set of stories of the results of such analysis. The plan and size of the book, and the qualifications of the authors should have produced a much better book.

It is not a bad book, and avoids the problems that beset a previous one by the first author. That one was mired in personal animosity that obscured the quality of the argument—perhaps because it was co-written with a journalist, and journalists demand conflict. No, this is a book that seems to want to explicate scientific techniques to a lay audience. But the authors do not seem to have worked together consistently and have limited grasp of the issues beyond their undoubted expertise in particular techniques: some are explained in a little detail, others are mentioned in passing. This inconsistency is one of the things that makes it difficult to understand which audience the book is addressing.

The background information, mostly about hominin classifications, introduces the major species, but does not assess the quality of evidence about them consistently. Unless you actually know about them already, you might be confused. Two studies have called the standard classification into question much too recently to be included (Antón et al. 2014; Balter 2014), but the authors show no sign that the well known problems of classification might be an issue. It would have helped to have a graphic or a time chart here. Likewise, the section on climate changes seems to me to be confused, and quite confusing. It probably should have been a second background chapter. As with the first, it screamed for the readers to be offered a climate curve, only to find that there was one tucked away inexplicably at the end of the chapter rather than near the beginning. For what it is worth, the general air that the authors are out of their depths outside their specialities is well illustrated in this chapter. They state (p.68) that ‘The common ancestor of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis probably came from Africa during the Middle Pleistocene, when global climate changes, including surges and drops in temperature, were much more intense’. Of course, the climate curve (p.81) shows what we all know: that there were seven glacials and seven interglacials in the Middle Pleistocene, and, while two of the glacials (MIS 16 and 10) were colder than MIS 2, others were not (MIS 18, 14, 12 and 6), and none of the interstadials was as warm as MIS 5 or the Holocene. Moreover, the length of the Stages was greater in the Middle than the Upper Pleistocene. What do the authors mean and how did they arrive at their conclusion about surges and drops and about intensity? Lacking references in the book, we cannot go to the original papers and find out.

On dating methods, the treatment is not systematic. It claims to start with more recent times and then proceed to a deeper past, but actually changes chronological direction three times. The result is that there is no thread running through this narrative. Nowhere is there a consideration of the concepts involved in the recognition of any of the categories being dated—a fundamental of good science. The book gives the impression that the categories are given; they are just the ‘facts’ that the scientific techniques can be applied to. The problem can be illustrated by the example of the site of Florisbad (p.54). The site has been known since the 1930s and the fossil skeletal remains have been classified in various ways based on their anatomy, but the dating has always been uncertain. Here, mention is made of radiocarbon dating (of which some explanation has been given), then amino-acid racemisation dating (without a mention that it is extremely problematic) which confirmed the radiocarbon result. But then the authors refer to a result by ESR dating (without mention of the assumptions of the method or its intrinsic weaknesses) which gave a date eight times older than the other methods. The authors write ‘Hence, the Florisbad cranium belonged to one of the last archaic humans’ (p.54), as if this date somehow trumped the others and permitted a classification that was independent of the anatomical examination of the fossil. This is an almost perfect example of how science does NOT operate and will only serve to make understanding difficult for inexperienced readers.

Some of the most straightforward description of the new work in sciences applied to archaeological materials comes in Chapter 4 ‘New Microscopes and Quantitative Paleontology’. The methods are described succinctly but adequately, and some case studies are well described: new understandings of issues surrounding birth for early hominins and the broader evolution of life history (pp.92–98). Likewise, anatomical issues surrounding the production and reception of aural communication are well described (pp.98–102), but it would be unreasonable, given the authors’ failings elsewhere, to expect a reasoned discussions about the relations between such communication and language. And then, inexplicably, the chapter ends with a section on analysis of carbon isotopes to reveal diet—completely unrelated to all of the rest of the chapter.

The best section is at the end of the book, where one chapter gives a little introduction to the methods of genographic analysis with some of the (sad) history of such studies, and a second chapter discusses some of the conclusions of the work. Some will object that the history is kind to the ethically challenged Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), and unfair in singling out Aboriginal Australians

among the many Indigenous peoples who found the HGDP approach unethical. It is clear to most that the problems lay with the researchers and not with the Indigenous peoples. Alas, the section does not address the fundamental assumptions that make the phylogeographic story work— and more importantly, not work.

So who is the audience? For the novice there is insufficient reference to authoritative literature and far too many examples of bad practice. Another example is ‘we can confidently assume that the Palestine region was alternately occupied’ by two species of hominins (p.56). Quite to the contrary, that knowledge claim is a result of empirical research—‘confident assumptions’ are not science. Anyone experienced in the study of human origins will know more than is revealed in this book, and they will know the sources of the unattributed graphics. There are two good books of this length to be written, one for the novice and one for the more experienced scholar, but this version of those is not a book I would recommend to anyone.


Antón, S.C., R. Potts and L.C. Aiello 2014 Evolution of early Homo: An integrated biological perspective. Science 345(6192):1–15.

Balter, M. 2014 RIP for a key Homo species? Science 345(6193):129.

Review of ‘Historical Archaeologies of Cognition: Explorations into Faith, Hope and Charity’ edited by James Symonds, Anna Badcock and Jeff Oliver

Book Cover Hist Arch of Cognition LR‘Historical Archaeologies of Cognition: Explorations into Faith, Hope and Charity’ edited by James Symonds, Anna Badcock and Jeff Oliver. 2013, Equinox Publishing, Sheffield, x+198 pp. ISBN 978 1 84553 534 6.

Reviewed by Edwina Kay

Department of Archaeology, Environment and Community Planning, La Trobe University, Bundoora Vic. 3086, Australia <>

The chapters in this edited volume provide a broad discussion of the relationship between material culture and intangible aspects of humanity. Building on James Deetz’s and Henry Glassie’s structuralist work, the book aims to explore how the intangible concepts of hope, faith and charity can be examined in historical archaeology. Stemming from a 2007 Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory conference, the chapters in the book employ a wide range of approaches to examine various intangible aspects of humanity in Europe, North America and Australia.

Although the authors have stepped beyond the school of thought that sees material culture as a reflection of thoughts and beliefs, this volume highlights some of the challenges faced by archaeologists attempting to study past cognitive processes. Cognition is not a straight-forward term, and is only mentioned twice throughout the volume, both times in the first chapter. In the introductory chapter, Symonds and Oliver appear to use cognition to mean thought processes, and equate this with the identification of faith, hope and charity in archaeological material. My interest lies in the theoretical aspects of this topic, so I would have been interested in seeing this premise investigated further in the subsequent chapters.

Not all of the chapters mention faith, hope or charity, so the reader is sometimes left to make inferences about their connection to historical archaeologies of cognition. A number of the chapters deal with material culture of a religious nature—religious artefacts, religious buildings or artefacts related to people of a particular faith. Others examine the material expression of hope—the hope of people in internment camps, and the hope for peace symbolised by a former prison hospital in Northern Ireland. Charity is the least thoroughly examined concept in the trilogy, and is mentioned only occasionally throughout the book. All chapters deal with some sort of intangible aspect of archaeology, but not necessarily cognition.

I found Chapter 2, ‘Catholic artefacts in a Protestant landscape: A multi vocal approach to the religiosity of Jamestown’s colonists’ to be the most innovative and interesting chapter from a theoretical point of view. Travis Parno and Brent Fortenberry challenge the urge to find ‘the answer’ and present a polished story, and instead present an approach that embraces the complexities and multiplicities of the past. They present four different plausible interpretations to explain the presence of some Catholic artefacts at a Protestant settlement in Chesapeake. While their discussion provides valuable insights into the religious environment at the settlement, for me the strength of the chapter lies in its structure. Not only do they examine the possible cognitive processes of the colonists—they also expose their own thought processes. By presenting multiple interpretations, and exposing their interpretive process, they create a powerful argument for a different way of communicating archaeological research. Instead of trying to prove an unprovable story, their work embraces the difficulties faced by archaeologists attempting to study the intangible, and in doing so I believe they create a more comprehensive picture of the past.

Several chapters deal with the faith of the people whose artefacts are being analysed. In ‘Articles of faith and decency: The Huguenot refugees’, Greig Parker examines the relationship between material culture and social identity. Instead of treating material culture as a reflection of identity, Parker argues that material culture played an active role in transforming Huguenot identity. The production of luxury goods by Huguenot refugees outside of France reduced the cohesiveness of this religious group and resulted in a greater level of integration in their new host societies. Also addressing faith is the only Australian contribution to the volume, ‘Assuming the aspect of a civilised place: Methodists in paradise’, in which Jon Prangnell and Kate Quirk discuss what the material culture from Methodist households in the Queensland goldfields town of Paradise can reveal about the religious beliefs of the inhabitants. They argue the artefacts recovered from the middle class Methodist homes and the Methodist mission are indicative of Methodist attitudes of respectability, gentility and cleanliness in the midst of an isolated mining community. Although religion has not been studied extensively in Australian historical archaeology, this paper suggests it is an area in which we can hold our own on an international level. This chapter has well-developed links to the premise of the book—Prangnell and Quirk discuss the relationship between the tangible and intangible through the examination of the material expression of Methodist beliefs.

Two chapters address landscapes of faith. Timo Ylimaunu discusses social control and early modern church architecture in Northern Finland. Ylimaunu sees urban design and church architecture as tools used to control the people of Tornio, by both Finnish and Russian authorities. David Gadsby’s chapter about heritage in twenty-first century Baltimore deals with the faith and hope of archaeologists. He argues archaeology has the power to change current public discourses and empower communities. These chapters demonstrate the usefulness of landscapes in investigations of social relations in the past and present.

Carolyn White’s chapter ‘Trans-Atlantic perspectives on eighteenth century clothing’ juxtaposes personal adornment artefacts from domestic household sites in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, with artefacts from large-scale excavations in London, England. She claims that evidence of English

fashions in Portsmouth is evidence of a desire to maintain a connection to ‘English visual identity’. Comparisons of material culture between England and colonial sites are certainly important, and relevant to Australian historical archaeology; however, this chapter highlights some of the many challenges historical archaeologists face when attempting to compare assemblages, such as reconciling differences in site formation processes, excavation techniques and artefact catalogues. While White acknowledges these challenges, they were not convincingly resolved. A discussion of the complex relationship between material culture and identity, and the different choices available to consumers in Portsmouth and London would have strengthened her argument further.

The several chapters dealing with very recent history were interesting. The events in these chapters are within living memory, and the use of archaeology to study intangible aspects of these events is fascinating. Laura McAtackney’s chapter ‘Manifestations of hope in a place of fear: Long Kesh/Maze prison, Northern Ireland’, examines hope in a former prison hospital in Northern Ireland. She discusses the significance of Long Kesh/Maze prison in recent Northern Irish history, and argues its association with conflict and death has been transformed into a site of remembrance and of hope for peace. Two chapters examine World War II internment camps. Gilly Carr discusses the resistance of Channel Islanders in German internment camps—acts of hope and faith. She sees the V-sign campaign, expressed by decorating objects or inscribing their bodies with Vs, as morale-boosting silent acts of the resistance of the prisoners against their guards. Jeffery Burton’s chapter deals with camps for Japanese Americans. Not only has the archaeological investigation highlighted the harsh conditions in the camps, but Burton argues it is also indicative of the faith, hope and charity of the Japanese Americans incarcerated at the camps. He identifies artefacts and landscape features that show the inmates’ faith in America, in spite of their incarceration, and sees the expression of charity in the improvements made to the internment camp grounds, to improve the experience for the whole community.

In Chapter 8, ‘Reflections on resistance: Agency, identity and being Indigenous in colonial British Colombia’, Jeff Oliver explores the desires of Indigenous people in colonial Pacific Northwest America. Oliver argues that identifying Indigenous agency in acts of resistance against colonial forces perpetuates a narrative of Indigenous subjugation. He uses material culture to discuss agency and the transformation of Indigenous identities in a colonial landscape. His analysis of the relations on colonial frontiers would be of relevance to anyone studying contact era relations in Australia.

The two final chapters deal with remembrance. In Chapter 12 Harold Mytum discusses religious faith through the examination of gravestones in New England, Britain and Ireland. In Chapter 13 Samuel Walls examines differing approaches towards commemoration through a study of First World War memorials. These chapters highlight the value of monuments in studying the beliefs of communities.

Although the volume is interesting, there is little linking these chapters together or holding the book together as a whole. The chapters explore some sort of intangible idea using material culture, most with some link to faith, hope or charity. Although the authors do not see material culture as a straightforward reflection of beliefs, only a few of them acknowledge their role in the creation of archaeological knowledge. Given the book is dealing with intangible concepts—the thoughts of people—the role of archaeologists as interpreters could have been paid more attention.

In the introductory chapter, Symonds and Oliver argue ‘seemingly intangible aspects of the past are knowable’ (p.1). This argument underpins the book, but I believe Parno and Fortenberry’s chapter on Jamestown is the only chapter that clearly scrutinises the process of ‘knowing’ these intangible aspects. The book lacks cohesiveness, and I think this primarily lies in the limited examination of the concept of cognition, and its relationship with material culture. Nonetheless, the relationship between tangible and intangible is a fascinating subject, and this book makes a valuable contribution to historical archaeology. It is certainly worth reading by anyone attempting to examine what people in the past were thinking.

Review of ‘First Footprints: The Epic Story of the First Australians’ by Soctt Cane

Book Cover Cane First FootprintsReview of ‘First Footprints: The Epic Story of the First Australians by Scott Cane. 2013. Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, x+136 pp. ISBN 978 1 74331 493 7.

Reviewed by Douglas Bird

Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Building 50, Stanford CA 94305, United States of America <>

Securing a Platform for Imagining the Past 

In July 2001 my family and I were camped with a large group of Manyjilyjarra, Warnman and Kartujarra estate owners at Winikurujunu, just off the Talawana Track in the heart of the Western Desert Martu homelands. It was at the end of a month-long journey with Martu across their Country. We were all spent—of fuel, of strength, of stores, of time. Unusually persistent winter rains were now confounding my sense of the desert, as well as our attempts to make it back to Parnngurr outstation, just 45 km to the west. And yet I recall a real sense of security; I remember thinking how odd it was that we all seemed so content. The days at Winikurujunu unfolded in a quiet rhythm of hunting (goanna and bustard), burning (large patches spinifex grassland), gathering (pencil yams), building (snug of acacia huts), sitting (very close in Martu style), sleeping (in our snug huts) and, most of all, sharing.

The clouds cleared, and two nights before we broke camp, Jakayu shared her story. Winikurujunu lies at the intersection of two vast Jukurrpa (Dreaming) ancestral tracks, Minyipurru (the Seven Sisters) and Wati Kujarra (the Two Men), and there in 1963, behind the very dune where we camped, Jakayu first encountered Kartiya (Europeans). She hid at the base of the dune as her ten-year-old son squared off with the enormous yellow Gunbarrel Road tractor, driven by Len Beadell on his quixotic 450 km push from Windy Corner to Balfour Downs Station. We all sat close around the fire as Jakayu whispered the account, her daughter-in-law quietly translating the details. The details, framed by the Jukurrpa, are at once zany, heroic, frightening and beautiful. The atmosphere had a profound effect on me. The security in spite of exhaustion, in the rhythm of a story told delicately at the base of a dune at Winikurujunu, suddenly shifted my perception of all that I had read about Australian prehistory. In hindsight I think Jakayu and Winikurujunu provided a wholly distinct platform for me to imagine a past that I simply had no access to before.

For the careful and open reader of First Footprints: The Epic Story of the First Australians, Scott Cane is able to do something similar. His audience should include anyone interested in engaging with prehistory from a distinct yet secure platform situated in an atmosphere that can radically alter the way we imagine a past. Cane’s ability to establish a firm empirical stage from which we can (indirectly, of course) engage with the past is remarkable; maybe more remarkable is his skill in creating an atmosphere for fresh imaginings. Both hinge on the wealth of his experience with contemporary Aboriginal Australians and his expansive grasp of the static traces (the footprints) that more than 2000 ancestral generations left behind. First Footprints is a fantastic yet surprisingly secure journey.

Cane’s platform is the country of Australia—not the nation state, but the whole of the material we stand on, stumble through, scratch at, live in and record. As Binford (1983) pointed out, the archaeological part of that country (again, the footprints) are static relative to the dynamics that generated patterns in their form and distribution. Describing those patterns—situating them relative to what comes before and after—requires a lot of careful scholarship, and on the whole Cane does a great job of it, especially for a lay audience.

Cane’s atmosphere is created through his experience in the dynamic social and ecological context of contemporary and ethnohistoric Aboriginal Australia. He can draw on a lifetime of participating with people as they make their footprints; he is concerned with those interconnections among and between people, resources, and land, and the traces those interconnections leave behind. How can we imagine what it was like for the first voyagers to make landfall in Australia? That imagining can only come from our experience in the present or, in this case, by proxy through Cane’s experience in the present. First Footprints thus weaves together direct involvement in a dynamic present with the static remains of the past to provide a cohesive social history of Australia. It is a history written in stone, bone, wood and land, and reading it requires help from an interpreter that can decipher at least snippets of code left behind; or even better, someone to help in providing us different perspectives on interpreting the past as it is constructed and reconstructed in the present.

What Cane provides is a tremendously engaging interpretation: a way to tell a cohesive and understandable story of the records of a country whose foundations are set firmly in the first wave of ‘us’—the direct ancestors of all modern humans—as we spread from Africa to populate the planet. Our spread through Asia and Europe was not into virgin territory; populations of ‘others’, members of our genus but not ‘us’, had been present in the Old Worlds since the early parts of the Pleistocene, well over a million years in east and southeast Asia (Klein 2009). Australia was something different. It was the first virgin continent that modern humans settled and, as Cane illustrates, it was an astounding event.

The timing of that event and what led up to it, however, are not (at least not yet) as clearly defined as Cane portrays them. Cane opens First Footprints with an occurrence that most assuredly rocked the world. Around 74,000 years ago Mount Toba in Sumatra exploded in the largest volcanic eruption the world has experienced in the past two million years. The picture that Cane paints is one of modern humans dispersing from Africa and reaching southern Asia sometime prior to the Mount Toba super-eruption. He goes on to speculate that Mount Toba’s devastation may have spurred the remarkable first voyage(s) out of Southeast Asia across Wallace’s line, a line that for 65 million years kept almost all terrestrially

bound placental mammals (including those ‘other’ humans) out of Australia. The problem with the Toba dispersal picture is that it conflicts with the evidence from Africa and Asia, both archaeological and genetic. The bulk of the available evidence supports colonisation by modern humans of south and southeast Asia beginning ~55,000 years ago, with signatures of populations carrying distinctively modern technologies and specific genetic lineages from eastern Africa (Mellars 2006; Mellars et al. 2013). As of yet there is no clear evidence that modern humans dispersed into southeast Asia prior to the now well-documented process of Eurasian colonisation beginning out of Africa ~60,000 years ago (Mellars et al. 2013). Mount Toba rocked the world, but probably not the world of the ancestors who left southeast Asia for Australia.

This should raise questions about Cane’s proposed 60,000 year date for the initial colonisation of Australia. Not that it is impossible, but as of yet there is no clear evidence of modern humans in southeast Asia that early, and there is no consensus about possible evidence of people in Australia before 50,000 years ago. Throughout the book Cane is generally quite careful in his treatment of scant data; I wish that in Chapter 2 he had more clearly cautioned the reader about the evidence that might suggest an Australian landfall 60,000 years ago.

An initial settlement of Australia sometime ~50,000 years ago finds broad and growing archaeological support (Hiscock 2008, 2013). But how close to that date, either before or after, remains highly contentious (e.g. Allen and O’Connell 2003; O’Connell and Allen 2004, 2007, 2012). This is not, as Cane suggests (pp.65–71), simply a matter of the limitations associated with radiometric dating techniques. Cane bases a possible 60,000 years ago landfall mostly on archaeological remains suggested to be in association with luminescence dates from four well known sites: Lake Mungo, Devils Lair, Nauwalabila, and Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II). It is important to keep in mind that at Australian sites where critical problems in luminescence dating have been addressed (see Wintle 2013), none have produced dates of initial occupation that are clearly older than 50,000 years ago. Putting aside the technical issues of luminescence dating, each of the pre-50,000 year sites Cane refers to is suspected to contain evidence of post-depositional disturbance that calls into question the relationship between what is being dated (the sediments) and the artefacts suggested to be associated with those dates (see Allen and O’Connell 2003; O’Connell and Allen 2004). Here it would have been useful for Cane to remind the reader that we should err on the side of caution when dealing with fragmentary evidence from very few sites where it is not (contrary to what he suggests on p.66) generally possible to date the artefactual material directly.

Nevertheless, none of the concerns about whether Aboriginal ancestors first colonised Australia closer to 50,000 or 60,000 years ago should detract from the extraordinary achievement that this event represents. In journeying to Australia, humans had, for the first time, broken their terrestrial chains in a big way. Cane does a terrific job of contextualising the voyage(s) implied when Wallace’s Line was breeched, and then uses similar devices (big events) throughout the book to explore the anthropogenic diversity that cascades across the continent. Chapter 3, ‘The Great Drought’, thus weaves together the archaeological evidence of changes in settlement, resource use, social organisation and social representation with ways for the reader to imagine what it may have been like to live in late Pleistocene Australia. Cane does so with detailed attention to each region, focusing in particular on the extreme environments that people modified and flourished in during the last glacial maximum.

Chapter 4 (‘The Great Flood’) continues the theme, as the continent of Sahul is fractured when sea levels rose and stabilised during the late Pleistocene-Holocene transition. The emergent countries, with economies as diverse as eel farming in Victoria and firestick farming in Western Australia, attest to the dramatic social elaboration associated with a marked rise in Holocene populations (Williams 2013). Such diversity illustrates one of the things I most appreciate about First Footprints: the way in which Cane is able to dispel any notion of Australia as a backwater in the saga of human experience. Through ‘The Great Drought’ to ‘The Great Flood’, Cane adeptly animates:

… [A] viable people in varied environments linked through shared traditions and common ideology, who survived in extreme environments through testing times. There is artistic achievement and social development through deep history enriched with notable creativity, technical innovation and diversified subsistence. These were people who changed the environment they lived in and left their mark accordingly. They were great and successful colonisers who adapted to the deserts, mountains, plains and coasts with erudite diversification (p.186). 

The archaeological platform from which Cane describes the events leading up to and following the First Footprints in Australia is not completely fastened; it sways a bit in the variable winds of scholarship. But it is secure and distinct enough to feel safe as Cane leads us through sometimes radically different perceptions of the past. I suspect that Cane’s perceptions would resonate well with many of the heroic ancestors whose footprints wind their way through Australia.


Allen, J. and J.F. O’Connell 2003 The long and the short of it: Archaeological approaches to determining when humans first colonised Australia and New Guinea. Australian Archaeology 57:5–19.

Binford, L.R. 1983 In Pursuit of the Past. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Hiscock, P. 2008 Archaeology of Ancient Australia. London: Routledge.

Hiscock, P. 2013 Occupying new lands: Global migrations and cultural diversification with particular reference to Australia. In K.E. Graf, C.V. Ketron and M.R. Waters (eds), Paleoamerican Odyssey, pp.3–11. College Station: Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University.

Klein, R.G. 2009 The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mellars, P. 2006 Going east: New genetic and archaeological perspectives on the modern human colonisation of Eurasia. Science 313(5788):796–800.

Mellars, P., K.C. Gori, M. Carr, P.A. Soares and M.B. Richards 2013 Genetic and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonisation of southern Asia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(26):10699–10704.

O’Connell, J.F. and J. Allen 2004 Dating the colonisation of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea): A review of recent research. Journal of Archaeological Science 31:835–853.

O’Connell, J.F. and J. Allen 2007 Pre-LGM Sahul (Australia- New Guinea) and the archaeology of early modern humans. In P. Mellars, K. Boyle, O. Bar-Yosef and C. Stringer (eds), Rethinking the Human Revolution: New Behavioural and Biological Perspectives on the Origin and Dispersal of Modern Humans, pp.395–410. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

O’Connell, J.F. and J. Allen 2012 The restaurant at the end of the universe: Modelling the colonisation of Sahul. Australian Archaeology 74:5–17.

Williams, A.N. 2013 A new population curve for prehistoric Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280(1761) <DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0486>.

Wintle, A.G. 2013 Luminescence dating methods. Treatise on Geochemistry 14:17–35.

Disembodied and Displaced: An Archaeological Enquiry into the Historical Colonial South Trade of Indigenous Human Remains and Artefacts, and the Contemporary Repatriation and Rehumanisation of Indigenous Australians from South Africa


Tahlia Stewart

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Western Australia, October 2014

Iziko Museums of South Africa holds the crania of six Indigenous Australians, three with mandibles, and an associated stone implement. These were all accessioned between 1907 and 1916 and provenanced only to Australian state level (namely SA [3], WA [2] and Vic. [1]). Their partial and largely unprovenanced status makes their planned repatriation problematic, both practically and ethically. South African-based research has been conducted on the identification of these individuals, identifying two named donors for the Victorian individual and stone implement, and one South Australian individual. Here, this research is advanced by undertaking Australian-based archival, genealogical and museological research. The Western Australian Museum textual archives and relevant records were examined, but contained no identifiable information pertaining to the Western Australian individuals. Interstate museums’ records were not accessible online and therefore were not analysed. Compiling details found in genealogical records and historical newspaper social pages, genealogical timelines were created for the two named donors, tracking their movements through their respective states to highlight potential collection locations for the two skulls and associated stone implement. Non-invasive anatomical techniques for determining familial relatedness were discussed as potential future directions.

This thesis builds upon the limited literature of how archaeology can aid to repatriate and rehumanise the disembodied and displaced. I considered what non-invasive and invasive techniques may offer—and at what cost. Subject to proper consultation with relevant Indigenous and government bodies, scientific archaeological techniques may be useful tools for repatriation and aid in rehumanisation through assigning provenance, which is crucial to Indigenous Australian cultural identity. I also investigated cultural methods of rehumanisation through previous repatriation case studies.

An unexpected product of my research was the extensive trade in Indigenous artefacts and human remains between southern hemisphere extensions of the British Empire, here termed the ‘Colonial South’. Previously, this trade has been under-researched, instead focusing on that driven by the Empirical northern hemisphere, the ‘Colonial North’. I examined museum archives and historical Australian newspaper articles detailing additions to Australian museums. Museum textual records indicated that the Colonial South trade [n=6] was not as prolific as that of the Colonial North [n=101]. This was greatly contradicted by historical newspaper records, which indicated that trade within the Colonial South [n=177] far outweighed that of trade with, or within, the Colonial North [n=8]. Many of these articles provided provenance details, coming from Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and Africa. This indicates that such newspaper articles could provide valuable information regarding unprovenanced human remains held in Australian museums.

Cultural Competition: A Darwinian View of Cultural Evolution as it Applies to the Early Development and Interaction Between Rome and Etruria

Poggio Civitate acroteria (image courtesy Matilda Stevens).

Poggio Civitate acroteria (image courtesy Matilda Stevens).

Matilda Vanessa Stevens

BAncHist(Hons), Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, October 2014

The Etrusco-Roman relationship is a dynamic that held much significance within the early cultural development of ancient Italian culture. But how did this relationship develop? Was it impacted by the rate of urbanisation within each culture? These questions form the basis of a study into the early urbanisation of the city of Rome and how this impacted the development of the relationship with Etruria. Observing this interaction through the lens of evolutionary archaeology provides an opportunity to gain clarity as well as to practically test the parameters of the theory. Through this application it has become clear that the theory needs to be altered in order to directly apply Darwinian principles to the study of cultural interaction and archaeological development.

This altered version of evolutionary archaeology was applied to two case studies in order to support and test the changes, as well as striving for clarity regarding the early relationship between Rome and Etruria. Naturally the city of Rome, especially the Forum and Palatine Hill regions, served as one case study. The Etruscan Late Iron Age and Early Bronze Age settlement of Poggio Civitate served as the Etruscan counterpart, located 25 km south of the modern city of Siena. Artefacts were still utilised as the unit of measurement, indicators of adaptation and environmental influence, as evolutionary archaeology demands. In addition, the influence of the landscape in governing settlement patterns and the overall success of each site is a point of focus as an influence in urban development. Finally, the relationship between these societies is treated as a relationship between two ‘species’ to gauge the applicability of evolutionary theory to cultural interaction.

An Analysis of the Risk Hypothesis and its Application to Hunter-Gatherer Toolkits Using an Australian Dataset

Emma Rehn

BA(Hons), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, November 2014

Environmental risk is increasingly being cited as an explanation for human behaviour. These explanations are frequently supported by correlating technological data and risk proxies, such as latitude, effective temperature and measures of mean rainfall. The risk hypothesis has three primary predictions for toolkits, which reflect the influence of risk: (1) toolkits in higher risk areas will have a greater number of tool types than toolkits in lower risk areas; (2) toolkits in higher risk areas will feature tools with a greater number of component parts than toolkits in lower risk areas; and (3) toolkits in higher risk areas will have a greater average number of component parts per tool than toolkits in lower risk areas.

In this thesis, I review the assumptions and implications of risk theory before testing the predictions of risk theory against the toolkits of five Australian hunter-gatherer groups. Case studies were selected on the basis of availability of data, and were chosen to represent a range of environmental settings. Land areas for each group were determined using Horton’s (1994) Aboriginal language map. Toolkit data were collected from ethnographic and museum sources and analysed using Oswalt’s (1976) techno-unit method. Climatic data were collected from the Bureau of Meteorology and Binford (2001) was used to model risk proxy variables. Toolkit data and climatic variables were correlated and the resulting correlations were analysed. The strongest correlations were found between toolkit variables and effective temperature, mean rainfall for the wettest month, average monthly rainfall and Annual Rainfall Variability Zone. Of the technological variables, the average number of technounits consistently showed the highest correlations. Overall, the data supported the general trends predicted by the risk hypothesis.


Binford, L.R. 2001 Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building using Hunter-Gatherer and Environmental Data Sets. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Horton, D. 1994 The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History, Society and Culture. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Oswalt, W.H. 1976 An Anthropological Analysis of Food-Getting Technology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

The Economic Impact of Convict Transportation on the WA Economy 1850-1900: An Archaeological Investigation

Reconstructed earthenware from Fremantle Prison Terrace privy (image courtesy of Alyce Haast).

Reconstructed earthenware from Fremantle Prison Terrace privy (image courtesy of Alyce Haast).

Alyce Haast

Master of Professional Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, The University of Western Australia, November 2014

The introduction of the convict system in 1850 into the Western Australian (WA) economy resulted in a large injection of capital into the colony, the dissemination of which cannot be overlooked when considering the transformative effect of the convict system on the WA colony. This injection resulted from the purchase of goods and services by the penal system, which ultimately transferred money from the British Crown into the local market; the breakdown of which would have necessarily resulted in certain industries receiving larger benefit than others. This thesis was a pilot study to consider the potential of using archaeological evidence in conjunction with economic models to consider the transformation caused by the capital injection. Using a two-scaled approach and focusing on the time period between 1850 and 1900, a combination of historical and archaeological data was used to develop an understanding of the breakdown of spending by the penal system. Two artefact assemblages from Fremantle Prison formed the basis of the analysis, with one representing institutional purchases, while the other related to wage-based spending. By considering whether purchases represented local commodities or imports, it was possible to see how capital transferred to the local economy and how much of that spending leaked out of the economy through imports. In doing this, the thesis highlights the range of methods through which capital entered the colony, and how the agency available to specific aspects of the penal system altered how the capital was spent and ultimately who was impacted by the capital injection.

An Archaeobotanical Analysis of Macrobotanical Remains at Riwi Cave in the South-Central Kimberley Region, WA

Two-ply string manufactured from round, thin plant fibres (image courtesy of India Dilkes-Hall).

Two-ply string manufactured from round, thin plant fibres (image courtesy of India Dilkes-Hall).

India Ella Dilkes-Hall

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Western Australia, October 2014

The study of macrobotanical remains is a significant subdiscipline of archaeology. Despite the known importance of plants in hunter-gatherer economies, few archaeological macrobotanical studies have been conducted in Australia and, as a consequence, little information is available on human-plant interaction in past hunter-gatherer populations. This dissertation presents the analysis of macrobotanical remains from Riwi Cave, one of the oldest archaeological sites in Australia, located in the southern Kimberley on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. An analysis such as this had not previously been conducted on macrobotanical materials recovered from the site and this work’s contribution to the limited scholarship available on macrobotanical analysis in Australia is invaluable.

To identify the use of economic plants and assess changes in plant use over time, two samples of Riwi’s macrobotanical assemblage were analysed. A botanical reference collection was created and a methodology developed to identify the macrobotanical material. Four different types of unmodified macrobotanical remains were identified: bark, uncharred wood, leaves and seeds. Plant materials modified by humans formed a fifth category that included wood shavings, a fire drill, string and a fragment of a wooden artefact. Of the 2034 seeds and other floristic elements, 1998 were identified to varying taxonomic levels. The project investigates post-depositional processes by examining the abundance of plant material and distribution of plant parts within the occupation deposit. Non-cultural and cultural sources of plant materials were distinguished and human contribution, spatial variation and changes in plant use over time assessed. By correlating the macrobotanical evidence with palaeoclimatic records for the Kimberley region, inferences are made regarding environmental change.

The rich macrobotanical assemblage from Riwi Cave provides multiple insights beneficial to Australian hunter-gatherer archaeology as a whole. The results from this study provide a deep understanding of hunter-gatherer lifeways and human-plant interaction in the southern Kimberley over the past 47,000 years. This project promotes the broader aims of archaeobotanical scholarship and encourages a future where macrobotanical analysis in Australian archaeology is considered the norm, not the exception.

Assessing Mid- to Late Holocene Predation of Conomurex luhuanus and Tectus niloticus at Lizard Island, Northeastern Australia

Samantha Aird

BA(Hons), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, October 2014

Dingaal oral histories and ethnohistoric evidence suggest that Lizard Island may have been the site of ‘gatherings and ceremonies’ in the past. However, it is unclear whether Lizard Island was (1) only occupied during periodic visits (e.g. during times of ceremony), (2) was permanently settled, or (3) if the pattern of occupation and use of the island changed through time. The archaeological record documents the fact that people collected easily accessible reef-flat shellfish species for subsistence purposes at Lizard Island from at least 2000 cal. BP. This thesis aims to answer the question of permanent or periodic occupation of Lizard Island by examining the extent to which local midden shells reflect sustained or episodic predation, respectively. Morphometric analyses of Conomurex luhuanus (strombus) and Tectus niloticus (trochus) is used to build an understanding of: the intensity of predation pressure on the dominant reef-flat shellfish species targeted for subsistence purposes at Lizard Island during the mid-to-late Holocene; and, to identify, in conjunction with available radiocarbon dates, if human occupation at Lizard Island was permanent or periodic. Results demonstrate that C. luhuanus and T. niloticus were subject to low predation pressures during periodic phases of mid- to late Holocene human occupation.

Understanding a Contested Heritage Place

Anna Weisse

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, June 2014

Contestation of culturally significant places is a phenomenon regularly encountered in heritage management today. Takky Wooroo (Indian Head) on World Heritage listed K’gari (Fraser Island) is no exception. In this thesis I use a multivocal methodology, situated within the constructivist paradigm of Indigenous archaeology, to evaluate the evidence for cultural and historical significance at Takky Wooroo.

I review the historical evidence for a massacre some believe occurred at this location; oral history from Traditional Owners regarding the use of the place in pre-contact and post-contact times; perceptions of the place held by tourists and other visitors to the headland; and the management strategies for the place as presented by a range of managers and other experts. Themes of memorialisation and association are explored and, in the absence of tangible ‘scientific’ evidence to link Takky Wooroo with its past uses, the inclusion of intangible understandings, such as Indigenous Knowledge, are paramount in assigning significance. In particular, memorialisation and association allow the historically documented massacre event to be linked with Takky Wooroo, in a manner that is not possible through material culture.

The current management strategies suggested for the place are reviewed, and alternative options for management are identified based on the significance of the place arising from the historical and cultural values assigned by key stakeholders. I conclude that a compromise management strategy to allow visitors halfway up the headland be implemented, allowing the uppermost lookout to remain protected into the future as a permanent memorial to past events.

A Woman’s Place … : An Historical Archaeological Investigation of Identity and Power on the Nineteenth Century Pastoral Landscape of Southeast Queensland

Linda Terry

PhD, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, June 2014

An individual’s perception of their place is integral to the complex processes of identity development and maintenance. These processes are highly contextual and occur in a dynamic landscape where power is a defining factor. In this thesis, using two case studies, I employ a microscalar approach to demonstrate that the identity of middle class women living on pastoral properties in southeast Queensland, Australia, in the nineteenth century was inseparable from the relational power of both their cultural landscape and the natural environment. The conceptual framework takes a multidisciplinary theoretical approach to the fusing of identity, landscape and agency within an interpretive historical archaeological methodology. This provides a fresh perspective on the individual’s perception of place by emphasising the reciprocity of human-landscape interaction and demonstrating that either can be the agent instigating social change.

Within their specific historical context, which approximately spanned the Long Victorian period, the ‘place’ of the subjects of the case studies—Isabella Joyner Griffin and Katharine Somerset—is examined. This is a period when, in line with the western paradigm of separate spheres, place is a concept considered to be highly gendered, with ‘a woman’s place’ assumed to be in the home where she was subservient to her father or husband within the confines of a patriarchal society. In the Australian context, the few historical archaeological studies of middle class women that have been conducted have tended to focus on the performance of gentility, with an assumption of gender as the central characteristic of their identity. The methodology used in this thesis makes it possible to look beyond the social mores of Victorian gentility and to situate these women within the specifics of their particular historical contexts and to examine the relevance of this to their identities.

The archaeological evidence and historical data in these case studies engenders what has previously been considered a ‘male’ industry conducted in a harsh male environment, where tough men were determined to overpower and subdue ‘mother nature’. Through the use of a feminist inclusive model, as developed by Spencer-Wood (2010), I establish that ‘a woman’s place’ is a term that is infused with power and that Isabella Joyner Griffin and Katharine Somerset inhabited a landscape where, both within the family and the wider community, there was a complex, relational power structure. By demonstrating the heterarchical nature of the relationship that the individuals involved in the pastoral industry had with each other and with their landscape, it is apparent that even within the assumed rigid requirements of Victorian middle class society, on a pastoral property the place of an individual was determined by a suite of factors, of which gender was only one.

The place of individuals of any gender is determined by skills and relationships that result from the cross cutting of all the facets of their identity within their particular context/s, it is never based solely on gender. As these middle class women demonstrate, a woman’s place can be evocative of the power women have to exercise their agency through both the routine and the unusual situations that arise in their day-to-day life and, importantly, to choose their own life-course.


Spencer-Wood, S. 2010 A feminist framework for analyzing powered cultural landscapes in historical archaeology. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 14(4):498–526.

What You Lookin’ At?: An Archaeological Analysis of Graffiti and Inscription at Fremantle Prison

Subversion of the authoritative gaze (image courtesy of B'geella Romano).

Subversion of the authoritative gaze (image courtesy of B’geella Romano).

B’geella Romano

BA(Hons), Department of Social Sciences, The University of Western, January 2015

Archaeological analysis of graffiti and inscription at Fremantle Prison investigates the relationship between space and people following previous studies of places of confinement. Graffiti offer testament to prisons being about people, furthermore, graffiti, as an indicator of the inmate experience, is a contributing element to the significance of Fremantle Prison as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This dissertation presents the process of academic research and fieldwork that has informed investigation of how inmates experienced and negotiated confinement at Fremantle Prison through the lens of an archaeological analysis of their graffiti and inscriptions. An archaeological analysis of inscription at Fremantle Prison approaches graffiti and other marks as artefacts to be mapped, categorised, dated and contextualised, using a hybrid of rock art and historical archaeology methodologies. It addresses how graffiti was used by prisoners as a means for expression and messaging and how this reflects inmate coping strategies. Results determined that there is a relationship between graffiti typology and spatial positioning of graffiti within the cells and yards that indicate prisoners constructed and utilised public and private space within the prison to re-map space as a means for coping with the strictures of institutional life. Employing an archaeological perspective allows graffiti to be read as ‘text as material culture’ and as primary evidence of inmates’ experience and negotiation of confinement.

Communicating Cultural Complexity: The Interpretation of a Physically Impacted Aboriginal Shell Midden at Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland

Point Lookout from Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island (image courtesy of Anna Nelson).

Point Lookout from Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island (image courtesy of Anna Nelson).

Anna Nelson

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, June 2014

Over the past few decades, the importance of diverse values and meanings associated with places of cultural significance has been increasingly recognised in heritage discourse. However, differences in Western and Indigenous understandings of heritage, informed by perceptions of authenticity, place and memory, can—and often do—result in contestation as to how cultural heritage values are defined, managed and interpreted (e.g. Chilton 2012; Chirikure and Pwiti 2008). For places that have been physically altered, the living heritage perspectives of Indigenous communities can contrast with perceptions of cultural value that consider the integrity, intactness and research potential of cultural material. This thesis considers the interpretation of cultural values associated with physically impacted or modified places of cultural significance. With a focus on a disturbed Aboriginal shell midden located at Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, I explore the various meanings and values associated with ‘altered’ cultural landscapes, and how we might communicate and engage with these meanings through interpretive media.

The shell midden at Point Lookout is positioned within a cultural landscape with values and meanings for the Dandrubin-Gorenpul Aboriginal people of Quandamooka (Moreton Bay). I use interviews with two Dandrubin- Gorenpul traditional owners as the basis for an investigation into the cultural values that endure for this place despite physical impact, and the role interpretation can play in communicating these values. A number of key themes resulting from the interviews highlight the complex and interrelated physical and spiritual relationships that inform Dandrubin-Gorenpul understandings of the shell midden as part of a living dynamic cultural landscape, and the associated challenges of this interconnected cultural landscape for interpretive media. To communicate this complexity, I outline an interpretation approach that utilises digital media to convey the interconnectedness, temporality, materiality and layering of place, and that reflects Dandrubin-Gorenpul epistemology, ontology and pedagogy. Application of this interpretive approach has the potential to facilitate interpretation that goes beyond the communication of the cultural values for associated communities, leading to a memorable visitor experience (cf. Amnay-Ngerntra 2011; Ballantyne et al. 2011; Ham 2013) that engages with the diverse ways of knowing, learning and relating to place that underpin these cultural values (cf. Atalay 2008; Xu et al. 2013).


Amnay-Ngerntra, S. 2013 Creating a deep heritage interpretation: A case study in Thailand. Tourism 61(1):73–80.

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Ballantyne, R., J. Packer and L.A. Sutherland 2011 Visitors’ memories of wildlife tourism: Implications for the design of powerful interpretive experiences. Tourism Management 32:770–779.

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Understanding Australia’s Cultural History through Archaeological Geophysics

The Gledswood Shelter 1 (image courtesy of Lynley Wallis).

The Gledswood Shelter 1 (image courtesy of Lynley Wallis).

Kelsey M. Lowe

PhD, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, November 2014

The aim of this thesis is to develop and apply geophysical methods for Australian archaeology. The methods focus on magnetic susceptibility and ground penetrating radar (GPR). The techniques are contextualised through application to the following four key archaeological questions: 1) Can magnetic susceptibility assist in resolving questions surrounding the potential downward movement of stone artefacts in rockshelter deposits?; 2) Is human occupation persistent through the changing climatic regime associated with the last glacial maximum (LGM) at a Pleistocene-aged rockshelter in interior Australia?; 3) How might we identify burials in a geologically complex rockshelter deposit? and; 4) How might magnetic susceptibility contribute to knowledge about the formation of ‘archaeologically instantaneous’ shell matrix sites? In exploring these questions, research was conducted at two rockshelters in northern Australia and on three shell mounds in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. The results demonstrate that both magnetic susceptibility and GPR studies can be valuable tools in deciphering key archaeological questions in the Australian landscape. The most important findings relate to the ability of magnetic susceptibility signals to clearly define levels at which humans first appear in the archaeological record. This will allow major progress in determining the timing and dispersion of human settlements for Australian sites.

Who Were the People of Ancient Vilabouly? Exploring Origins and Relationships though the Study of Ge

A Ge dagger-axe recovered from Peun Baolo, Vilabouly, Lao PDR (image courtesy of Catherine Livingston).

A Ge dagger-axe recovered from Peun Baolo, Vilabouly, Lao PDR (image courtesy of Catherine Livingston).

Catherine Livingston

BA(Hons), Department of Anthropology, Archaeology and Sociology, James Cook University, October 2014

Several bronze Ge (dagger-axes) have been recovered from a prehistoric copper mining complex in the mountains of Vilabouly in Laos. Current dating methods indicate these artefacts were buried as grave goods prior to 300 BCE, coinciding with the bronze to iron technological transition in the region. The Ge from controlled excavations were found within mortuary contexts, and without accompanying Iron Age artefacts. These sites are new to the archaeological record and, to date, limited investigation has been undertaken on Ge in this region and Southeast Asia in general. The research questions addressed are:

  • What is the general distribution of Ge across East and Southeast Asia through the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages of this vast and varied region?
  • When and by whom were the Vilabouly (Savannakhet Province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic) Ge made?
  • What can this tell us about the sociotechnological complex in which prehistoric mining was undertaken in Vilabouly District?

Having identified a significant gap in the literature surrounding previous Ge studies, this research constructed a typology of Ge across East and Southeast Asia to address the absence of a comprehensive classification. The typology identifies seven type categories of Ge, four of which are culture/region specific, and one demonstrating a particularly wide distribution across space and time. This thesis argues that the Vilabouly Ge are consistent with Type VI – Vietnamese Ge as defined by this research project. It is noted, however, that this typology was developed from a relatively small sample of images, museum and archaeological records. Whilst not a complete record of this artefact, it provides an excellent foundation for future research.

The typological data are then considered in relation to three different perspectives on social structures: heterarchy, transegalitarianism and anarchy theory. This paper explores the possibility that the Vilabouly mining complex was an anarchic society, interacting with the state to avoid absorption. This insight allows us to reconsider the role of the mountainous region of Laos within early Iron Age Southeast Asia. At this time, both the archaeological and social investigations of this complex of sites would benefit significantly from metallurgic analyses.

‘Inland’ versus ‘Coastal’: An Analysis of Archaeological Shell Remains to Determine Habitat Exploitation Patterns at Edubu 2, South Coast of Papua New Guinea

View southward to Edubu 1, Edubu 2 and Edubu 3 from site ABBK, excavations in progress October 2009 (photograph courtesy of Ian McNiven).

View southward to Edubu 1, Edubu 2 and Edubu 3 from site ABBK, excavations in progress October 2009 (photograph courtesy of Ian McNiven).

Anna Garamszegi

BA(Hons), Indigenous Cultures and Histories, Monash University, October 2014

In this thesis I explore the applicability of the ethnographic settlement-subsistence model of ‘inland’ versus ‘coastal’ cultural groups to the archaeological site Edubu 2. Edubu 2 is located 1.17 km inland in the Caution Bay foothills, Papua New Guinea. Human occupation at the site dates from ca 2950–1360 cal. BP. Ethnographers and colonial observers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and some archaeologists of the late twentieth century, have developed a dichotomous settlement-subsistence model regarding two Caution Bay language and cultural groups. The Koita were described as an inland-focused people based on their settlement and subsistence patterns. The Motu, on the other hand, were described as a coastal-focused people. To test this dual model, shell remains from Edubu 2 are identified, quantified and categorised into their originating habitats, in order to establish which resource zones were being accessed by the past inhabitants of the site. Analysis and subsequent interpretations suggest entirely coastal-focussed subsistence resourcing, and a shunning of freshwater environments by the past inhabitants of inland site Edubu 2. Thus, the model of inland versus coastal peoples cannot be applied to Edubu 2. In effect, this study questions the veracity of the original ethnographic model, and highlights the total omission of shellfishing from colonial observations in the broader Port Moresby region.

Socioeconomic Status in Nineteenth Century Diet at the Rocks, Sydney, Australia: The Effects of Government Regulation and Institutionalisation

An example of a saw mark on a Bos taurus rib bone (image courtesy of Annable Brealey).

An example of a saw mark on a Bos taurus rib bone (image courtesy of Annabelle Brealey).

Annabelle Brealey

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, October 2014

Between 2010 and 2013, excavations by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority at 188 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, recovered faunal material dating from 1810 through to the early twentieth century. In 1810, 188 Cumberland Street was the site of one of Australia’s first watch-houses, before being converted to a purely residential household in the mid-nineteenth century. The thesis aims to determine if socioeconomic status is discernable in the dietary and processing practices exhibited at this site. In accordance with zooarchaeological literature surrounding the topic of socioeconomics, social and economic status have been addressed separately. Through quantification, analysis and comparison of the watch-house assemblage to the residential assemblage, it was determined that very little variation occurred within the data and that economic status is not visible in the dietary and processing practices exhibited at the site. These data trends and observations have been attributed to multiple causes. The most significant of those causes is the equalising effect of government regulations on diet. The Rocks was an institutionalised society in the early nineteenth century and therefore food was controlled by the authorities. However, the similarities to dietary practices exhibited later in time at the site by middle class families suggest a high quality of government standards in subsistence in 1810.

Undressing the Past: A Study of the Correlation between Waistcoat Design and Broad Sociocultural Trends of Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Australia.

An 1860s style waistcoat (image courtes of Jessica Boman).

An 1860s style waistcoat (image courtes of Jessica Boman).

Jessica Megan Boman

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, October 2014

Clothing has been crucial to society and culture since its inception. Fashion changes quickly, and can be used to create cultural and social identities. This thesis aims to examine how changes in waistcoat design in nineteenth and early twentieth century Australia correlate to broader social and cultural trends. The thesis is based in agency and consumption theories, examining previous literature that discusses the link between material culture and sociocultural trends. The progress of Australia from a penal settlement to a thriving, independent country, through boom, bust, depression and success, is mapped. The changes in waistcoat designs demonstrate a constant change in fashion, from tight, restrictive and plain designs to ornate, loose and relaxed designs. Combining waistcoat designs and broad sociocultural trends highlights that Australia constantly attempted to develop its own identity, whilst still maintaining necessary links with Britain. Suggestions for future research into a more holistic look at Australian fashion and how it correlates to broad sociocultural trends are given.

The Law of the Sea: How Ratifying the UNESCO Convention Will Affect Underwater Cultural Heritage Management in Australia

Thomas Body

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, November 2014

The legislation regarding underwater cultural heritage management in Australia is almost 40 years old and needs to be updated to comply with current international best practice as outlined in UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001. Australia has yet to ratify the UNESCO convention, and, if ratification was to take place, a full review of relevant Australian legislation would need to be undertaken. This thesis reviews the current provisions of legislation in Australia to assess how ratification of the UNESCO convention would affect Australian underwater cultural heritage management. The history and current situation of Australian maritime archeological legislation and the provisions of the UNESCO convention are examined, and the expected effects of ratification are identified and discussed. The fundamental principles are then applied to the case study of the HMS Pandora to exemplify how Australian legislation is used to manage underwater cultural heritage in practice. This thesis concludes that, in order to ratify the UNESCO convention, a number of areas would first need to be addressed. These include expanding the definition of underwater cultural heritage, updating guidelines on significance assessment, establishing the use of in situ preservation as the first choice of conservation method, and making all sales or transfers of underwater cultural heritage illegal. This thesis also identifies how these areas would have affected the management of the Pandora, and it is concluded that in practice, Australian underwater cultural heritage management methods are closely aligned with international best practice in most, but not all, respects. The major difference is that excavation, as opposed to in situ retention, is the current preferred method of conservation in Australia.

Rich Pickings: Abandoned Vessel Material Reuse on Rangitoto Island, New Zealand

Maddy Fowler and Kurt Bennett recording the eastern extremity of Gladbrook looking towards Ngapuhi's stern (phone courtesy of Vanessa Sullivan).

Maddy Fowler and Kurt Bennett recording the eastern extremity of Gladbrook looking towards Ngapuhi’s stern (phone courtesy of Vanessa Sullivan).

Kurt Bennett

Master of Maritime Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, November 2014

This investigation into abandoned vessels and baches (holiday homes) on Rangitoto Island, New Zealand, addresses to what extent archaeological signatures inform the adaptive reuse of discarded watercraft material in local communities. A review of archaeological, archival and oral history data is undertaken to achieve several aims. These include determining the material available for salvage at the time of abandonment, what cultural site formation processes are visible at the individual vessel sites located in the ships’ graveyard at Boulder Bay and locating and recording the reuse of abandoned ship material in Rangitoto’s three bach communities: Beacon End, Rangitoto Wharf and Islington Bay. Finally, community behaviours towards abandoned vessels are identified and discussed and this information is used to update understandings of post-depositional site formation processes acting on abandoned vessels. This research is archaeologically significant as it contributes to the theme of discarded watercraft reuse, an understudied area which has the potential to reveal meaningful interpretations about human behaviour. Furthermore, it is significant as the behaviours and attitudes of a disappearing community with a strong community identity and a history of reusing material are recorded.