Constant resurrection: The Trihybrid Model and the politicisation of Australian archaeology

01st June 2010

Shoshanna Grounds and Annie Ross

Most Australian archaeologists would say that Birdsell’s trihybrid model is defunct and no longer worth considering. Unfortunately, this is not the view of many in the Australian public. In his revisionist history of Australia, the conservative commentator Keith Windschuttle still refers to this model, and, potentially more seriously, writers with a particular political agenda to deny Aboriginal people legitimate Native Title rights have also adopted Birdsell’s model as ‘fact’. In this paper we analyse one such political text in detail: Pauline Hanson: The Truth. We demonstrate that in this, and other similar works, archaeological ‘data’ are used selectively to sustain sensational claims about Australia’s Aboriginal past. Although perhaps easily dismissed by professional archaeologists, such claims are still widely embraced by a surprisingly large number of people in the wider Australian public, and a debate needs to be held about how the archaeological community should challenge such ‘knowledge’.

 

Shoshanna Grounds and Annie Ross
Constant resurrection: The Trihybrid Model and the politicisation of Australian archaeology
June 2010
70
55-67
Article
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