More unconsidered trifles? Aboriginal and archaeological heritage values: integration and disjuncture in cultural heritage management practice

01st December 2008

Sharon Sullivan

In the early 1980s, Sandra Bowdler established a firm foundation for the assessment of archaeological significance and urged the integration of archaeological and Aboriginal values in site assessment, listing and management. This paper describes developments in the integration of archaeological and Aboriginal heritage values, using recent work by Lilley and Williams as an example. The paper then goes on to question whether this progress is reflected in the relatively newly introduced National Heritage listing process (which replaced the Register of the National Estate), taking the listing of rock art on the Dampier Archipelago in Western Australia as a case study.

The paper analyses the values for which the Dampier Archipelago was listed, and the implications of this listing. It concludes that in this case, in large part because of the workings of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, archaeological and Aboriginal values have become separated. It concludes that some of the listing processes seem to be inimical to the melding of these values, now so much a part of Australian and, increasingly, international best practice in cultural heritage management. It also suggests that the method of assessing archaeological values for the National Heritage List and the future impacts on these values does not properly consider the site as an archaeological landscape, and could potentially allow its gradual diminution.

Sharon Sullivan
More unconsidered trifles? Aboriginal and archaeological heritage values: integration and disjuncture in cultural heritage management practice
December 2008
67
104-115
Article
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