The Nyiyaparli Community, Bird, C. And E.M. McDonald 2015. Kakatungutanta to Warrie Outcamp: 40,000 years in Nyiyaparli Country, Fremantle: Archae-Aus Pty Ltd.

Most archaeological and cultural heritage literature is written for an academic or professional audience.  This book is different.  It has been written to convey important information about the nature of heritage to community members, the general public, and to specialists and professionals.  Reaching such a wide audience successfully is a rare feat.

The title of the book suggests that it is a history of Nyiyaparli occupation of the Pilbara, from the Kakutungutanta site (dating to 40,000 plus years BP) to a pastoral era outstation camp.  But the book is more than a history.  It is a narrative of connectedness to country, from an overview of the changing landscapes and environments of the Pilbara; through a review of past lifeways of Nyiyaparli as seen in archaeological data and stories of Nyiyaparli dreaming; into the historical period, based on archival sources and oral histories; and finishing in the present.  The story is interspersed with information about places that reify the historical narrative and thereby provide the connecting glue between the history and the heritage of the landscape.

Kakatungutanta to Warrie Outcamp is not the first book to present archaeological results to a non-professional audience, but it is an outstanding example of the genre.  Kakatungutanta to Warrie Outcamp is a worthy winner of this year’s John Mulvaney Book Award.