School of Social Sciences

Current Projects

Further information

Funding

Our research projects are funded by:

 

Professor Jane Balme

Lifeways of the First AustraliansLifeways

(Department of the Environment (Partner))

This ARC Linkage Project (linkage partner is the Kimberley Foundation) examines the archaeology of the Devonian limestone complex of the south central Kimberley. The region is of special significance because cave deposits contain organic materials such as fibre, plant remains, animal bones including decorative objects and ochre that document lifeways and the environment of the first Australians from well over 40,000 years ago. These caves also contain rock art that is being systematically documented and dated where possible to contribute information about the social context in which these people lived. The second fieldwork season commences in July this year.

 

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Dr Joe Dortch

Ancient DNA from cave sediments: a new horizon in the archaeology of Aboriginal AustraliaDevil's Lair

This multi-institution project (Curtin University, University of Copenhagen, and UWA) is funded by the Australian Research Council and involves collaboration with the Wardandi Nyoongar traditional owners of south-western Australia. The aims are to recover ancient DNA (aDNA) from Aboriginal occupation deposits in caves such as Devil's Lair and Tunnel Cave, and to assess the potential of aDNA for investigating palaeo-environments and past Aboriginal subsistence and seasonality patterns. Preliminary results show that aDNA is preserved in soil and bone fragments deposited as much as 45,000 years ago, and suggest that people occupying these sites hunted a wide range of mammals, reptiles and birds (Murray et al. 2013). 


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Assistant Professor Jamie Hampson

Rock art heritage off the rocksRock art heritage off the rocks

Rock art – an integral part of visual heritage and Indigenous knowledge systems – remains powerfully relevant to what it means to be human. Indeed, rock art is implicated in cultural identity today in many different contexts: social, political, commercial. This project, in conjunction with Stanford University (USA) and the University of York (UK), is funded by the European Union’s Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship Committee. It analyses exactly how rock art is used, and how it influences identity-formation processes, in three ‘modern’ nations today: Australia, the USA, and South Africa. This project also tests the proposal that appropriate management of fragile rock art heritage sites in national parks can and does make a difference, challenging people's preconceptions of rock art and of the Indigenous people who made it. 

 

Rock art regionalism and identityRock art regionalism and identity

Researchers often write of rock art regions without according the concept sufficient theoretical consideration. How should rock art regions be defined, and how should they be compared? Satisfactory answers to these questions necessarily include assessments of the relationships between rock art, other archaeological data, and landscape; also, the relationships between rock art, ethnography, and neuropsychological models; and, ultimately, the ‘origins’ of and motivations for rock art production and consumption. This project addresses socio-economic and ideological aspects of rock art in under-studied regions, both with and without ethnography. The main case study area is the Pilbara, Western Australia. 

  

The materiality of rock artThe materiality of rock art

This project interrogates the relationships between hunter-gatherer beliefs, materiality, and rock art. Of particular importance are culturally significant minerals such as quartz, found in many regions and in or near many rock art sites worldwide. This project includes case studies in Australia, the USA, and South Africa.

  

 

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming

(with Jo McDonald, Alistair PatersonPeter Veth, Tom WhitleyKatie Glaskin and Brad Rowe, Ranger Co-ordinator (Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation))

Murujuga (the Dampier Archipelago) on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia has some of the world’s most abundant and diverse petroglyphs (engraved art). On Australia’s National Heritage List, Murujuga is one of Australia’s most culturally and scientifically significant rock art regions. This landscape is of great cultural significance to the Ngarda-Ngarli people – represented by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC). In this project, CRAR+M is collaborating with MAC and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to research the deep time and contemporary social values of Murujuga.


Murujuga: Rock Art Fieldschoolarchaeology field trip

(with Jo McDonald, Ken Mulvaney and Rio Tinto Iron Ore)

During the mid-semester break, 2nd and 3rd year archaeology and anthropology students will work on Rio Tinto’s rock art recording and excavation project at Happy Valley as part of the company’s Conservation Agreement in relation to the National Heritage Listed Dampier Archipelago including Burup Peninsula (Murujuga). This will be the third field school, working with Traditional Owners and Rio Tinto’s Heritage team. Students will receive practical training in rock art identification and recording techniques as well as developing an understanding of how the heritage industry works in Australia.

  

Yaburara Heritage Trail Survey ProjectYaburara Heritage Trail Survey Project

(with Alistair Paterson, Ken Mulvaney and The National Trust)

This collaborative project involves working with the National Trust and the Shire of Roebourne to redevelop an interpretation and management plan for the Yaburara Heritage Trail in Karratha (Pilbara). In documenting the cultural and natural heritage value of the Trail, a preliminary archaeological survey identified a range of cultural sites (e.g. rock art and middens), which are now scheduled for a more detailed recording project.

 

 

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Professor Jo McDonald

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming

(with Jamie Hampson, Alistair PatersonPeter Veth, Tom WhitleyKatie Glaskin and Brad Rowe, Ranger Co-ordinator (Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation))

Murujuga (the Dampier Archipelago) on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia has some of the world’s most abundant and diverse petroglyphs (engraved art). On Australia’s National Heritage List, Murujuga is one of Australia’s most culturally and scientifically significant rock art regions. This landscape is of great cultural significance to the Ngarda-Ngarli people – represented by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC). In this project, CRAR+M is collaborating with MAC and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to research the deep time and contemporary social values of Murujuga.


The Canning Stock Routecanning stock route

(with Peter Veth)

Over the last decade, Western Desert custodians have been increasingly concerned about the protection and management of Aboriginal sites along the Canning Stock Route. Non-moderated impacts on both cultural sites (e.g. rock art galleries) and totemic sites (places and landscapes withJukurrpa - dreaming) have accelerated with the increase of 4WD and tourism generally along this iconic transect.

AN ARC Linkage Project (through ANU) was completed in 2011. This achieved the following outcomes:

  • Accurate mapping and documentation of custodial values attached to physical and totemic cultural sites along and adjacent the Canning Stock Route;
  • Comprehensive inventory of all published and grey literature;
  • Text and modules which can be used for signage, interpretive materials, a Plan of Management, regional agreements and NRM/CRM planning;
  • Training in recording sites, photography, geospatial mapping and filming;
  • Development of moderated web-enabled data base for Aboriginal organisations managing cultural sites along the Stock Route.
  • The researchers explored the nature, distribution, age, variation and significance of rock art along the Canning Stock Route. A major rock art recording programme documented the carious values of interest to the researchers and custodians. Pigment samples were collected and these have provided the first reliable dating of arid-zone pigment art;
  • Greater awareness of the cultural and scientific values and public education about the very long history of Aboriginal occupation associated with the Canning Stock Route has resulted from publications - as approved and developed in conjunction with Traditional Owners.

Professors Veth and McDonald continue to work with the Western Desert custodians - and their prescribed body corporate(s), in the development of Ranger training and site documentation and interpretation for the development of Indigenous Protected Areas long the Canning Stock Route.

 

Pigment dating in the Western DesertPigment dating 

(with Peter Veth)

As part of the Canning Stock Route Project, almost 50 samples were collected for radiocarbon dating. These are mostly from pigment art - although crusts overlying engravings have also been sampled. These have provided first reliable dating of arid-zone pigment art.

This work is continuing with the analysis of the pigments (using a variety of electron-microscopy techniques) and the project is developing a number of digital enhancement techniques (e.g. D-Stretch) to assist in the analysis of superimpositioning.

Results of the dating project will be announced in the upcoming SAA conference in Memphis, USA (18-22 April 2012) while pigment analysis results will be discussed at the IFRAO conference in Bolivia in late June 2012.

 

Rock art of the Western Desert and Great Basinrock art western desert

Jo McDonald was granted an ARC Future Fellowship in 2011 to study how people use rock art as they first move into arid zones and then how rock art can reveal changes in social organisation, responses to climate change and other major changes in human adaptation to living in deserts. Based largely on the recording work done for the Canning Stock Route Project McDonald will be analysing the rock art of the Western Desert, continuing the rock art dating programme and continuing to liaise with traditional owners about the significance and meaning of rock art and its interface with the Dreaming. While in the States, she is based at UC Berkeley. She is developing research collaborations with a number of Great Basin scholars to investigate patterning in the North American arid-zone rock art. She is also liaising with colleagues at the Berkley Centre of Digital Archaeology (CoDA) to develop partnerships in a digital heritage future.

  

Murujuga: Rock Art Fieldschoolarchaeology field trip

(with Jamie Hampson, Ken Mulvaney and Rio Tinto Iron Ore)

During the mid-semester break, 2nd and 3rd year archaeology and anthropology students will work on Rio Tinto’s rock art recording and excavation project at Happy Valley as part of the company’s Conservation Agreement in relation to the National Heritage Listed Dampier Archipelago including Burup Peninsula (Murujuga). This will be the third field school, working with Traditional Owners and Rio Tinto’s Heritage team. Students will receive practical training in rock art identification and recording techniques as well as developing an understanding of how the heritage industry works in Australia. 

 

 

Arid zone archaeology, heritage and IPA ranger management projects

(with Peter Veth)

Ongoing collaborative research programs on the Canning Stock Route at the Carnarvon Ranges (Katjarra) and Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) are focusing on values mapping with Traditional Custodians. Works include targeted recording and dating of rock art, excavation of probable Pleistocene-aged sites in open contexts, and documenting ethnographic values associated with the rock art towards management outcomes for the Indigenous Protected Areas/conservation estates. 

 

 

Port Hedland Rock Art Conservation ProjectPHRACP

(with Leslie Zubieta Calvert)
 

CRAR+M has been commissioned by BHP Billiton Iron Ore to develop a strategic heritage conservation plan for the significant rock art engraving sites in the Port Hedland area. This is the first management plan of its type in the Pilbara Region. Major sites are found at Two Mile Ridge, Boodarie Landing and Burgess Point: these include engravings, midden deposits and artefact scatters. Better documentation and management of these sites will help advance our knowledge on settlement patterns, appropriation of natural resources and symbolic landscapes. Working together with the Kariyarra Traditional Owners, BHPBIO, Port Hedland Port Authority and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, this project seeks to bring awareness on the richness and significance of the engravings for the Aboriginal communities in the area, to create strategies for sustainable Indigenous economies in the region and to ensure the long-term protection of these significant sites.

 

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Associate Professor Sven Ouzman

Rock markings: How people make spaces places (Rock_Markings)

‘Rock art’ is usually understood to consist of rock engravings (petroglyphs); rock paintings (pictographs) and landscape arrangements (geoglyphs). But there is also a hitherto under-researched category of ‘rock markings’ that offer insights into how people transform ‘spaces’ into humanised ‘places’. These markings include: abraded areas, cupules, incisions, grooves and the like that were not made for utilitarian purposes such as grinding foodstuffs. Rather, they are a visual residue of multi-sensorial interactions people have with places. These markings occur throughout the world, each with historically and socially specific meanings. My project focuses on rock markings in Australia’s Kimberley and in southern Africa and seeks to better integrate rock art with excavation-centric Archaeology.


The archaeology of time: The materiality, temporality and authorship of rock art in northern Australia and southern Africa over the last 100 000 years (Hand_Stencil)

There is a lacuna in Archaeology's theorisation of time that produces misleading models of human origins and identity. Dating techniques mask this lacuna. Dating quantifies but does not explain human cultural continuity and change. Indigenous rock art is a visible, variable and theoretically informed artefact that can bridge this gap through an innovative investigation of the temporal dimensions of its manufacture and use. Australian and southern African rock art, including marked ochre and rock, stone arrangements, and some stone tools, can shift our understanding of human cognitive origins and colonisation of landscapes from unique 'events' to an ongoing rhythm of human innovation that continues to be relevant.


An archaeology of grafitti (Graffiti. Oxford, England Photo: Sven Ouzman)

A democratic Archaeology seeks to understand the lives of all people, past and present. Graffiti is a productively transgressive artefact that inscribes the lives of people history often chooses to ignore. Archaeology – a discipline that utilises multiple technologies of surveillance – is well-situated to study the materiality and spatiality of this often long-lived artefact. This project seeks to better understand the relationships between ‘art’, ‘rock art’ and ‘graffiti’.

 

 

Imprints: An archaeology of identity and journey(Rock engraving of what may be a spoor of extinct bird Genyornis newtoni. Weaber Range, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo: Sven Ouzman)

Footprints are a powerful metonym and metaphor for the human condition. From the 3.6 million year-old hominin trackway at Laetoli to ‘small steps’ on the moon, prints are potent vectors of identity and journey. Many rock art traditions depict the prints of humans, other animals and Beings. Much more than ‘images’, these prints are integral to a phenomenological ‘being in the world’. This project traces the origins and trajectories of humanised pathways.

 

 

  

The rock arts of Khoekhoen herders of aouthern Africa(Multi-ethnic 'Korana' rock art. Central South Africa. Photo: Sven Ouzman)

(with Ben Smith)

This is an ongoing project to consider an under-explored component of southern African rock art: the paintings and engravings of Khoekhoen herders made within the last two millennia. The current phase of the project considers the meaning of a set of images that dominate the geometric iconography of this art.

 

 

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Professor Alistair Paterson

Australia's Northwest: the historical archaeology of colonial coastal contact and settlement

Historian Geoffrey Bolton has declared ‘Australian history is made in the West and told in the East': my work in the Northwest provides an opportunity to address the balance. The Northwest of Australia has a dynamic history of visitors and colonization prior to the twentieth century, yet this historical archaeological landscape has never been synthesized or critically analyzed as a whole. My aim is to produce new understandings of the Northwest of Western Australia through the lens of historical archaeology. This work integrates historical and archaeological approaches to explain processes of exploitation and colonization.

I am developing a set of keyhole studies of known and predicted for sites, archival sources, and existing museum collections to provide new knowledge of the colonial period and historical archaeology to provide a new synthesis of the history of the Northwest with strong scholarly and public impacts.

At the center of this work is an attempt to understand ‘resource histories’ ---particularly whaling, pearling, trepanging and pastoralism. Questions include:

  • What were the key resources used in the region prior to 1900, and what is the archival and archaeological evidence for them?
  • Can historical perceptions of resources be reconstructed, particularly over time as some became depleted?
  • What does the data indicate of the societies that emerged around these activities?
  • What role did power, personal connections, and labour play?
  • Given these were intercultural settings, what evidence exists for indigenous participation in Western Australian colonial economies?
  • How are different ethnicities, such as Asian and European, reflected in the data? How can the rich historical accounts together with material culture advance understanding of the movement of information, power and capital in colonial Australia?
  • Can these ‘local’ events be re-configured as local expressions of global processes?

The main projects under the umbrella of Australia’s Northwest and currently underway are:

Western Resource Frontiers: how Indigenous people, mining and heritage in Australia and the US shape our nations.

Perth USAsia Centre Seed Funding Research Grant program. Investigators: Jane Lydon, UWA; Aileen Walsh, UWA; Alistair Paterson, UWA; Lynn Meskell, Stanford University; Melissa Baird, Michigan Tech ($10,000: 2014)

The Barrow Island Archaeology Project

(with Peter Veth)

An international research team is focusing on the archaeology and climate history of the now-drowned north-west shelf and biogeography of Barrow Island. Building on previous research on the Montebello Islands this project examines the evolution and nature of maritime societies from 42,000 BP until Barrow Island formed some 7,000 ago. The project is documenting the more recent history of indentured pearling labour, whaling and the establishment of a loch camp.

   

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming

(with Jo McDonald, Jamie Hampson, Peter Veth, Tom WhitleyKatie Glaskin and Brad Rowe, Ranger Co-ordinator (Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation))

Murujuga (the Dampier Archipelago) on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia has some of the world’s most abundant and diverse petroglyphs (engraved art). On Australia’s National Heritage List, Murujuga is one of Australia’s most culturally and scientifically significant rock art regions. This landscape is of great cultural significance to the Ngarda-Ngarli people – represented by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC). In this project, CRAR+M is collaborating with MAC and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to research the deep time and contemporary social values of Murujuga.


Contact rock art in the PilbaraContact Rock Art in the Pilbara

Alistair Paterson is investigating the character of contact rock art in the Pilbara. This builds on work conducted as part of the Picturing Change Project. That ARC-funded Discovery project focused on investigating the nature of Australia's 'contact' rock art from four major rock art regions across the continent (Kakadu National Park/Western Arnhem land, Pilbara, Central Australia, Blue Mountains). Alistair Paterson directed research in the West Pilbara with fieldwork in Ngarluma, Kariyarra and Palyku country. This work began to reveal the different ways that rock art was used by people of the Pilbara during the early phases of culture contact and the aspects of the frontier that were the focus of depiction.

 

 

Yaburara Heritage Trail Survey ProjectYaburara Heritage Trail Survey Project

(with Jamie Hampson, Ken Mulvaney and The National Trust)

This collaborative project involves working with the National Trust and the Shire of Roebourne to redevelop an interpretation and management plan for the Yaburara Heritage Trail in Karratha (Pilbara). In documenting the cultural and natural heritage value of the Trail, a preliminary archaeological survey identified a range of cultural sites (e.g. rock art and middens), which are now scheduled for a more detailed recording project. 

 

 

Coastal connections: A study of Macassan sites in the Kimberley (ongoing)

 

 

Indian Ocean Archaeology

I am also working on projects related to Indian Ocean studies. These are focussed on the historical period and historical archaeology.

One aspect of this is the development of an Indian Ocean Archaeology Network funded initially by the World University network (WUN) in 2012-2013.

  

 

Shipwrecks of the Roaring Forties: A Maritime Archaeological Reassessment of some of Australia's Earliest Shipwrecks

Lead Investigator Professor Alistair Paterson, with Dr Wendy Van Duivenvoorde, Dr Jeremy Green, Winthrop Professor Roger Watling, Dr Elisabeth Smits, Associate Professor Daniel Franklin, Winthrop Professor David Lumley, Associate Professor Jeffrey Shragge, Associate Professor Paul Bourke, Mr Andrew Woods, Mr Martijn Manders, Mr Michael Nash, Mr Ed Punchard, Miss Mara De Groot, Mr J Hill, Dr Jennifer McKinnon. Other partners including Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Curtin University, Flinders University, British Museum, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Australia, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, National Archives of the Netherlands, Prospero Productions, The Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service, Western Australian Museum.

  

The fate of the Vergulde Draeck shipwreck survivors

This project is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra. Investigators: Dr Jeremy Green, Prof. Alistair Paterson, Dr Wendy van Duivenvoorde, Mr Bob Shepard.

 

Other Projects

Old Farm Strawberry Hill, AlbanyOld Farm

(with Sean Winter )
In partnership with the National Trust of Australia (WA), UWA has been conducting ongoing investigation of the Old Farm at Strawberry Hill, the oldest farm in Western Australia, dating to 1826. Most recently UWA conducted a field school aiming to investigate the remains of the old Farm House which burnt down in 1870, and the development of the surrounding gardens. The artefact assemblage derived from that work is being analysed during 2014.  

 

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Associate Professor Martin Porr

Dating and preserving Indigenous rock art, King George River, northeast Kimberley (Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)

This is a project that was jointly funded by the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grant Scheme and the Vice-Chancellery of the University of Western Australia. The aims of this project were to produce a detailed record and subsequent analysis of the rock art at one particular location at the King George River, under the guidance of its Traditional Owner and to sample rock images or over/underlying materials for dating or compositional analyses. The 2011 fieldwork established the presence of a very complex and dense collection of rock art as well as Indigenous sites in the area. Most rock art sites exhibited multiple panels and painting episodes, which will allow the construction of a local chronology through stylistic differences, super impositions and differential weathering patterns. A surprising amount of styles and motifs was recorded , showing a range of animals, plants and mythical creatures as well as complex scenes, which possibly depict rituals, dresses, decorations and Indigenous material culture items. We extracted samples from three different rock art locations, which will hopefully enable the generation of uranium-series and/or radiocarbon dates from a series of laminations containing uranium-series isotopes and/or fossilized micro-organisms. The project is currently in its analysis phase.

 

Images of images: Applying digital recording technology in the management and visualization of Kimberley rock art (Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)

The first fieldwork season for this project will be conducted in 2012. This project is a pilot study investigating the viability of a range of advanced digital recording and analysis technologies in the collaborative management and communication of Indigenous rock art. The project will look into how these technologies can play a role in navigating the issues of sensitively documenting and communicating Indigenous rock art. An aim of this project is the establishment of procedures, records and tolls to enable Traditional Owners to engage with rock art in new ways and at the same time staying in control of the level of access that is given to different interested parties.

 

North of the Southern Arc: Pleistocene settlement and environmental history of the Phillippine/The Mindoro Biodiversity Project "(Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)

This is a collaborative project between the University of Western Australia and the University of the Philippines (supported by the National Museum of the Philippines) aimed at identifying contexts with a high potential for the stratified preservation of Pleistocene settlement remains in Mindoro Occidental. Mindoro is the seventh biggest island in the Philippine Archipelago and is situated between Palawan and the main island of Luzon. Targeted fieldwork on this island presents the potential to fill an important gap between well-known Late Pleistocene sites of Niah (Sarawak), Tabon (Palawan) and Callao Cave (Luzon). During 2010 and 2011 site survey work was undertaken and a number of promising contexts have been identified, mostly in karstic situations. In 2011 the first test excavations were conducted, which represent the first systematic archaeological investigations into prehistoric occupation contexts altogether in Mindoro. The project is currently in its first analysis phase.

 

Beyond animality and humanity: The constitution of identity in the early Upper Palaeolithic of central Europe Photo:P.Frankenstein, H. Zwietasch; copyright Landesmuseum Wurttemberg, Stutt

The first fieldwork season for this project will be conducted in 2012. This project is a pilot study investigating the viability of a range of advanced digital recording and analysis technologies in the collaborative management and communication of Indigenous rock art. The project will look into how these technologies can play a role in navigating the issues of sensitively documenting and communicating Indigenous rock art. An aim of this project is the establishment of procedures, records and tolls to enable Traditional Owners to engage with rock art in new ways and at the same time staying in control of the level of access that is given to different interested parties.

  

 

Modern human origins: Critique and reassessment (Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)

This is an ongoing conceptual and theoretical project that is aimed at providing a broader and reflective understanding of so-called modern human origins through multidisciplinary analyses of archaeological and anthropological evidence. One focus of the project is the relevance of evidence from Australasia for the interpretation of modern human cultural and biological variability.

 

 

 

The bark paintings of the 1938 Petri/Frobenius Collection: Contexts and development of artistic practice in the northwest Kimberley

(Painting of a Wandjina on pine board, collected by H. Petri in the northwest Kimberley. Photo: Anthropology Department, copyright Western Australian Museum, E10452)

This project is a continuation of the AIATSIS-funded work on the recorded bark paintings held in Perth and Frankfurt/Main (Germany). This project aims to place these bark paintings in their original context and analyse the imagery collaboratively with traditional owners and artists.


 

 


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Winthrop Professor Ben Smith

The archaeology of Makgabeng, South Africa (with the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

The archaeology of Makgabeng, South Africa (with the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa). This project is a partnership between the Makgabeng community and all archaeologists who have worked in the area over the past two decades. The aim is to repatriate nearly one hundred years of anthropological and archaeological research findings to the community and to establish a community heritage archive to hold this material. A six person oral heritage team from the community is also collecting memories to include within the archive. New research publications and tourism infrastructure developments will also be outcomes of the project.

The rock arts of Khoekhoen herders of southern Africa(Multi-ethnic 'Korana' rock art. Central South Africa. Photo: Sven Ouzman)

(with Sven Ouzman )

This is an ongoing project to consider an under-explored component of southern African rock art: the paintings and engravings of Khoekhoen herders made within the last two millennia. The current phase of the project considers the meaning of a set of images that dominate the geometric iconography of this art.

 

 

 

The rock art of Guangxi Province, China (with the Rock Art Research Association of China, the Guangxi Autonomous Region Provincial Government, Wollongong University)Smith Guangxi2

The first phase of this project is to work with Maxime Aubert from Wollongong University to date the art of this region using the Uranium-Thorium method. Subsequent phases will explore the social context in which the rock art was produced and consider the symbolism and purpose of the art.  

  


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Winthrop Professor Peter Veth

Peter Veth has four areas of principal investigation at present. These are centred on current ARC grants and other funding streams:

 The Barrow Island Archaeology Project (ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award 3)

(with Alistair Paterson)

An international research team is focusing on the archaeology and climate history of the now-drowned north-west shelf and biogeography of Barrow Island. Building on previous research on the Montebello Islands this project examines the evolution and nature of maritime societies from 42,000 BP until Barrow Island formed some 7,000 ago. The project is documenting the more recent history of indentured pearling labour, whaling and the establishment of a loch camp.

  

 

Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Project: the in situ reburial and preservation of the colonial trader Clarence (1850)

This 10 Partner Organisation Linkage Grant is the largest multi-institutional maritime archaeology project conducted to date in Australia involving some 20 practitioners and another 42 maritime archaeologists, conservators and commercially certified divers. The project aims to develop reburial and in situ preservation protocols focussing on the colonial trader Clarence (1850) in Port Philip Bay and the ex-slaver James Matthews (1841) lying off Woodman’s Point. Both wrecks have been previously studied in detail, re-imaged, and been reburied with conservation, marine biology and archaeology experiments conducted in tandem.

  

Dating Kimberley rock art

With a team of 10 CIs from the University of Melbourne lead by Professor Andy Gleadow, and from the University of Wollongong and ANSTO this project aims to detail the conservation status, fabric and age of rock art in different cultural and geological contexts in the Kimberley. Ongoing consultations will be held this year to seed pilot projects with IPAs that have targeted rock art in their healthy country plans.

  

 

Arid zone archaeology, heritage and IPA ranger management projects

(with Jo McDonald)

Ongoing collaborative research programs on the Canning Stock Route at the Carnarvon Ranges (Katjarra) and Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) are focusing on values mapping with Traditional Custodians. Works include targeted recording and dating of rock art, excavation of probable Pleistocene-aged sites in open contexts, and documenting ethnographic values associated with the rock art towards management outcomes for the Indigenous Protected Areas/conservation estates.

  

 

The archaeology of drowned landscapes.

Building on the content of the completed EU COAST action SPLASHCOS, ongoing collaborative work is being conducted on now-drowned landscapes of northern Australia to predict for Indigenous sites, deploy LIDAR and other imaging to target high probability locales, and better theorise past coastal productivity states in light of recent human behavioural ecology models for the settlement of Australasia.

 

 

 

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming

(with Jo McDonald, Jamie Hampson, Alistair PatersonTom WhitleyKatie Glaskin and Brad Rowe, Ranger Co-ordinator (Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation))

Murujuga (the Dampier Archipelago) on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia has some of the world’s most abundant and diverse petroglyphs (engraved art). On Australia’s National Heritage List, Murujuga is one of Australia’s most culturally and scientifically significant rock art regions. This landscape is of great cultural significance to the Ngarda-Ngarli people – represented by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC). In this project, CRAR+M is collaborating with MAC and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to research the deep time and contemporary social values of Murujuga.

 

 

The Canning Stock Routecanning stock route

(with Jo McDonald)

Over the last decade, Western Desert custodians have been increasingly concerned about the protection and management of Aboriginal sites along the Canning Stock Route. Non-moderated impacts on both cultural sites (e.g. rock art galleries) and totemic sites (places and landscapes withJukurrpa - dreaming) have accelerated with the increase of 4WD and tourism generally along this iconic transect.

AN ARC Linkage Project (through ANU) was completed in 2011. This achieved the following outcomes:

  • Accurate mapping and documentation of custodial values attached to physical and totemic cultural sites along and adjacent the Canning Stock Route;
  • Comprehensive inventory of all published and grey literature;
  • Text and modules which can be used for signage, interpretive materials, a Plan of Management, regional agreements and NRM/CRM planning;
  • Training in recording sites, photography, geospatial mapping and filming;
  • Development of moderated web-enabled data base for Aboriginal organisations managing cultural sites along the Stock Route.
  • The researchers explored the nature, distribution, age, variation and significance of rock art along the Canning Stock Route. A major rock art recording programme documented the carious values of interest to the researchers and custodians. Pigment samples were collected and these have provided the first reliable dating of arid-zone pigment art;
  • Greater awareness of the cultural and scientific values and public education about the very long history of Aboriginal occupation associated with the Canning Stock Route has resulted from publications - as approved and developed in conjunction with Traditional Owners.

Professors Veth and McDonald continue to work with the Western Desert custodians - and their prescribed body corporate(s), in the development of Ranger training and site documentation and interpretation for the development of Indigenous Protected Areas long the Canning Stock Route.

 

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Assistant Professor Tom Whitley

L’homme de la Mandement: Projet de Télédétection Archéologique dans le Commune de Satigny, Canton de Genève, Suisse” (Man in the Mandement: Archaeological Geophysics Project in the Community of Satigny, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland)

Technical Focus: Geophysics (Ground Penetrating Radar and Magnetometry). Temporal Focus: Neolithic, Iron Age, Roman Era.

 

The Smuggler’s Dilemma: Energy manipulation, control, and exchange mobility in the western Alps of Switzerland, France, and Italy.

Technical Focus: Large Scale GIS Paleoeconomic Modelling. Temporal Focus: Iron Age to the pre-Industrial Era.

 

Pioneer Life in the Chittering Valley: Archaeological excavations at Enderslea Farm, Western Australia.

Cultural Heritage Management, Interpretive Exhibits. Temporal Focus: 1850s to 1870s. 

 

 

  

 

Blood and Ice: A GIS model of historic whaling patterns in the Southern Ocean.

Technical Focus: Large Scale GIS Paleoeconomic Modelling. Temporal Focus: 1800s to 1950s.  

 

A 3D immersive model of Fremantle Prison, Western Australia.  

(with Sean Winter )

Technical Focus: 3D Modelling, Cultural Heritage Management, Interpretive Web Content. Temporal Focus: 1850s to 1980s. UWA has developed a five year plan to investigate the archaeology of the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison. A range of complimentary projects are being undertaken, designed to respond to research needs identified by prison staff and UWA researchers, including excavations, building recording, analysis of graffiti, development of a site GIS and analysis of artefact assemblages. Field schools will be held at the prison each year until 2018, with the dual aims of investigating archaeological questions and training undergraduate archaeology students. The Prison also has a number of projects suitable for PhD level research and interested students should contact either Sean Winter or Tom Whitley. 

 

Relocation of the Presbyterian and Chinese cemeteries at East Perth cemetery, Western Australia.East Perth Cemetery

Technical Focus: GPR, Cultural Heritage Management, Cemetery Relocation. Temporal Focus: 1820s to 1900s.   

  

 

 

 

 


Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming

(with Jo McDonald, Jamie Hampson, Alistair PatersonKatie Glaskin and Brad Rowe, Ranger Co-ordinator (Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation))

Murujuga (the Dampier Archipelago) on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia has some of the world’s most abundant and diverse petroglyphs (engraved art). On Australia’s National Heritage List, Murujuga is one of Australia’s most culturally and scientifically significant rock art regions. This landscape is of great cultural significance to the Ngarda-Ngarli people – represented by Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC). In this project, CRAR+M is collaborating with MAC and Rio Tinto Iron Ore to research the deep time and contemporary social values of Murujuga.

 

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Dr Sean Winter

Old Farm Strawberry Hill, AlbanyOld Farm

(with Alistair Paterson)
In partnership with the National Trust of Australia (WA), UWA has been conducting ongoing investigation of the Old Farm at Strawberry Hill, the oldest farm in Western Australia, dating to 1826. Most recently UWA conducted a field school aiming to investigate the remains of the old Farm House which burnt down in 1870, and the development of the surrounding gardens. The artefact assemblage derived from that work is being analysed during 2014.

 

 

A 3D immersive model of Fremantle Prison, Western Australia

(with Tom Whitley)

Technical Focus: 3D Modelling, Cultural Heritage Management, Interpretive Web Content. Temporal Focus: 1850s to 1980s. UWA has developed a five year plan to investigate the archaeology of the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison. A range of complimentary projects are being undertaken, designed to respond to research needs identified by prison staff and UWA researchers, including excavations, building recording, analysis of graffiti, development of a site GIS and analysis of artefact assemblages. Field schools will be held at the prison each year until 2018, with the dual aims of investigating archaeological questions and training undergraduate archaeology students. The Prison also has a number of projects suitable for PhD level research and interested students should contact either Sean Winter or Tom Whitley. 

 


 

Western Australia’s Early Buildings

(Photo: Peninsula Farm (Tranby) Courtesy: National Trust of Australia (WA))

Funded by the National Trust, this project aims to determine the archaeological potential of a number of 19th century buildings in the south-west of Western Australia. The project aims to survey the interior of a number of structures, identifying places where evidence of 19th century life may be recovered, including underfloor, between floor and above ceiling deposits. These places often have better preservation than underground deposits and as such have the potential to provide a wealth of information about life for the inhabitants of these buildings.

 

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Dr Vicky Winton

The Weld Range Ochre Provenancing Project

 

The aim of this work (funded by AIATSIS Grant G20117642; under DIA section 16 permit 472) is to investigate past Aboriginal social networks through tracing the use and movement of ochre from sources in Weld Range, Murchison region, Western Australia. Investigations include trace element chemical finger-printing by LA-ICP-MS of both raw ochre and painted motifs to examine ochre movement; rock art recording to investigate the localised use of ochre; and excavation at two painted rockshelter sites to explore the antiquity and context of ochre use.

This project will contribute valuable data to Wajarri Traditional Owner's management plans for their traditional country and further develop our understanding of the extent and time depth of past Aboriginal exploitation and exchange of ochre from sources in the Weld Range. 

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Assistant Professor Leslie Zubieta Calvert

Port Hedland Rock Art Conservation ProjectPHRACP

(with Jo McDonald)
 

CRAR+M has been commissioned by BHP Billiton Iron Ore to develop a strategic heritage conservation plan for the significant rock art engraving sites in the Port Hedland area. This is the first management plan of its type in the Pilbara Region. Major sites are found at Two Mile Ridge, Boodarie Landing and Burgess Point: these include engravings, midden deposits and artefact scatters. Better documentation and management of these sites will help advance our knowledge on settlement patterns, appropriation of natural resources and symbolic landscapes. Working together with the Kariyarra Traditional Owners, BHPBIO, Port Hedland Port Authority and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, this project seeks to bring awareness on the richness and significance of the engravings for the Aboriginal communities in the area, to create strategies for sustainable Indigenous economies in the region and to ensure the long-term protection of these significant sites.

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