Media coverage of an archaeological issue: Lessons from the press release of initial radiocarbon dating results of a possible pre-Cook European ship at Suffolk Park, northern New South Wales

23rd January 2014

William E. Boyd

Introduction*

In late June 1993, details were released to the media, initially to local newspapers but shortly followed by releases to regional and national newspapers, radio and television stations, of the first, albeit scant, scientific evidence regarding the possible European origin and early age (pre-Cook) of a shipwreck lying under the coastal sands at Suffolk Park, northern New South Wales. The details were released by the author as the specialist commissioned by a group of interested local people to collect information concerning wood identification of an artefact and its radiocarbon dating. These data were considered necessary following the circulation of a local story identifying this shipwreck with one included in Aboriginal stories reputed to date from around the 17th to 18th centuries. The release of these data was viewed by the author as being premature, but was precipitated by the desire of the local community, who had commissioned and paid for the radiocarbon date, to release the data.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Boyd, W.E.
Media coverage of an archaeological issue: Lessons from the press release of initial radiocarbon dating results of a possible pre-Cook European ship at Suffolk Park, northern New South Wales
June 1995
40
50–55
Article
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