School of Social Sciences



Andrew Cooper

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 2896


Start date

Mar 2013

Submission date

Aug 2016

Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper profile photo


Space, Place and Resources: Late Holocene Mobility in Yindjibarndi Country


My research is primarily concerned with mobility in pre-contact North Western Australia. Archaeological theories of landscape use for the Pilbara have changed little in the past thirty years, concentrating for the most part on environmental variables to explain mobility and habitation. I intend to gather and use ethnographic information to expand and further develop theories of landscape use for the region.

I have been collecting information on seasons and seasonal activities in Yindjibarndi society as well as information on land management practices. I intend to incorporate this evidence into a deductive model of human behaviour and interaction with the environment in Yindjibarndi Country. This will then be illustrated through the innovative use of simulations using Geographical Information Systems.

The outcome of this research will be reconstruction of an “Ethnography of Mobility”, which incorporates evidence from a wide variety of sources to explain and understand how and why people moved around and interacted with the landscape.

Why my research is important

Aboriginal society was irrevocably altered with European colonisation. This work will help to understand and explain how people lived in the region prior to European settlement. In addition, it will assist with an improved understanding of the archaeological record at a landscape scale. Specifically analysing the relationship of sites the landscape.

Infrastructure projects over the past decade in the Pilbara have seen the creation of an extraordinarily large body of archaeological data, however, very little of this data is used in regional scale studies of behaviour. This work will also form an important part of the ethnographic record for people of North Western Australia.


  • Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship
  • UWA top up scholarship.
  • Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation have been very generous in funding me to live and work in Roebourne with the community for a period of three months in 2015.