First Indigenous Australian to complete archaeology PhD

21st September 2017

Graduation day for first Indigenous Australian to complete archaeology PhD

From, link to original article here.


The first Indigenous Australian to complete a PhD in archaeology will graduate from Flinders University in Adelaide today.

Ngarrindjeri man Dr Christopher Wilson has developed new archaeological evidence of Ngarrindjeri occupation in the Lower Murray region dating back 8,500 years.

His PhD project involved a 30-kilometre-long survey of the River Murray’s banks between Mypolonga and Monteith, documenting everything from what people were eating thousands of years ago to the region’s complex colonial history.

“The artefacts we are finding…tell an important part of the narrative about our culture.

“[It] has significance for our community today, in telling the [stories] of the past, educating our community [and] also helping to preserve and protect those places.”

Dr Wilson’s work also involved the relocation of 100 shell midden sites and eight excavations, uncovering bones from culturally significant native species like the Murray Cod.

A shell midden is a place having a concentration of discarded shells, providing evidence of past indigenous hunting, gathering and food processing.

Dr Wilson said he believed his PhD graduation would serve as a “positive education pathway” for other Aboriginal students to follow.

“It can plant the idea of possibility,” he said.

“A lot of my cousins and other family went on to do sports and trades and things and that didn’t interest me.

“But as soon as I [heard about further study]…I just sort of set my mind toward going to uni…and I never lost sight of that goal.”

Nominations for AAA Awards 2017

21st August 2017


Nominations are called for the following four Australian Archaeological Association Inc. Awards

Closing Date: 30 October 2017


  1. Rhys Jones Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Archaeology

The Rhys Jones Medal is the highest award offered by the Australian Archaeological Association Inc. It was established in honour of Rhys Jones (1941-2001) to mark his enormous contribution to the development and promotion of archaeology in Australia. The Medal is presented annually to an
individual who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to Australian archaeology, whether in academia, or cultural heritage, or both. Established in 2002, previous winners include Sue O’Connor (2011), Mike Morwood (2012), Richard Wright (2013), Peter Veth (2014), and a joint award in 2016 to Paul Taçon and Jo McDonald.

Nominations must be no more than 800 words in total.  Please address the following:

  1. The impact the nominee has had on knowledge production related to Australian archaeology whether in a research or applied (including cultural heritage) context (max 200 words).
  2. The impact the nominee has had on the development of the discipline of archaeology and/or cultural heritage management in Australia (in terms of teaching/mentorship, research, and service to the discipline) (max 300 words).

You may append a maximum of 300 words (in total) of supporting material in the form of a publications list, testimonials from colleagues or other researchers, testimonials from students, etc.

Please also append a list of seminal publications of no more than one page in length.


  1. John Mulvaney Book Award

The Award was established in honour of John Mulvaney and his contribution and commitment to Australian archaeology over a lifetime of professional service. It acknowledges the significant contribution of individual or co-authored publications to the archaeology of the continent of Australia, the Pacific, Papua-New Guinea and South-East Asia, either as general knowledge or as specialist publications. Nominations are considered annually for books that cover both academic pursuits and public interest, reflecting the philosophy of John Mulvaney’s life work. Established in 2004, previous winners include Jane Lydon for “Fantastic Dreaming: The Archaeology of an Aboriginal Mission” (2010) Mike Smith for “The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts” (2013) and Caroline Bird and Edward McDonald in 2016 for “Kakatungutanta to Warrie Outcamp: 40,000 years in Nyiyaparli Country”.

Nominations must be for books written by one or more authors, but not for edited books, published in the last three calendar years (i.e. 2015, 2016, or 2017). Nominations must be no more than 700 words in total.  Please provide the following:

  1. A short summary of the key arguments in the book (max 200 words).
  2. A summary of the significance of the book as set out in recent book reviews (max 200 words).
  3. A statement of how the book makes a significant contribution to the archaeology/cultural heritage of the continent of Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific or South-East Asia (max 300 words).

You must append a copy of two recent, published book reviews.


  1. The Bruce Veitch Award for Excellence in Indigenous Engagement

This Award celebrates the important contribution that Bruce Veitch (1957-2005) made to the practice and ethics of archaeology in Australia. In particular, the award honours Bruce’s close collaboration with Traditional Owners on whose country he worked. It is awarded annually to any individual or group who has had long-standing and sustained engagement with Indigenous communities during archaeological or cultural heritage projects which have produced significant outcomes for Indigenous interests. Established in 2005, previous winners include Ken Mulvaney (2011), Ian McNiven (2012), Daryl Wesley (2013) Sean Ulm and Amy Roberts (joint winners in 2014), and Colin Pardoe in 2016.

Nominees will have actively engaged with Indigenous communities to produce successful outcomes. Nominations must be no more than 900 words in total.  Please address the following:

  1. The impact the nominee’s engagement principles have had on the practice of Indigenous engagement. In the case of the nomination of a project, please indicate how the project’s engagement principles have influenced the practice of Indigenous engagement (max 300 words).
  2. The effect the nominee’s/project’s engagement practices have had on the development of significant outcomes for Indigenous peoples (max 300 words).

You may append supporting material in the form of testimonials from Indigenous community members, colleagues or other researchers.  Supporting materials may be in a variety of formats, including written testimonials (max 300 words), videos and audio tapes (max 10 minutes), or other relevant formats.


  1. Life Membership for Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Archaeological Association Inc.
    This award was established to recognise significant and sustained contribution to the objects and purposes of the Australian Archaeological Association Inc. Previous winners include Annie Ross (2010), Lynley Wallis (2012) Fiona Hook (2013) and Jacq Matthes (2016).

Nominations must be no more than 600 words in total.  Please address the following:

  1. A summary of the contribution(s) the nominee has made to the AAA over a sustained period of time, and a statement of the value of these contributions to the Association (max 300 words).

You may append a maximum of 300 words (in total) of supporting material in the form of testimonials from colleagues, Indigenous community members, or other AAA members – all of whom should be members of the AAA.


Nomination Procedure

Nominations for all Awards will be considered by the AAA Awards Sub-Committee with advice as appropriate from senior members of the discipline as required. The decision of the Sub-Committee is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Nominations are to be addressed to the President (A/Professor Lara Lamb) at:
Email: <>

and sent to arrive no later than 30 October 2017

Recipients of awards will be announced at the Australian Archaeological Association Inc. Annual Conference in Melbourne from 6-8 December.

Annie Ross
AAA Awards Sub-Committee 2017.


UQ announces dates of 65,000 years for Madjedbebe

20th July 2017

Today the University of Queensland with a team led by Associate Professor Chris Clarkson announced new dates of 65,000 years for Madjedbebe in Mirrar land in the Jabiluka mineral lease.

Dr Clarkson said that more than 10,000 artefacts were found in the lowest layer of the site and “contains the oldest ground-edge stone axe technology in the world, the oldest known seed-grinding tools in Australia and evidence of finely made stone points which may have served as spear tips,”

Also found were “huge quantities of ground ochre and evidence of ochre processing found at the site, from the older layer continuing through to the present.”

Dating carried out by Professor Zenobia Jacobs at the University of Wollongong has revealed that Aboriginal people lived at Madjedbebe at the same time as extinct species of giant animals were roaming around Australia, and the tiny species of primitive human, Homo floresiensis, was living on the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia.

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer Justin O’Brien said a landmark agreement had made it possible for Dr Clarkson and colleagues to dig the site.

“This study shatters previous understandings of the sophistication of the Aboriginal toolkit and underscores the universal importance of the Jabiluka area,” Mr O’Brien said.

The study, funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant, promotes discussion about the timing and ways that modern humans first left Africa.

Other UQ researchers involved in the study included Dr Tiina Manne, Dr Andrew Fairburn, Professor James Schulmeister and Kate Connell.

Numerous completed and continuing PhD and honours students Dr Kelsey Low, Dr Xavier Carah, Anna Florin, Delyth Cox, Jessica McNeil and Kasih Norman collaborated on the study. 

The full release can be read here.


The NEC would like to congratulate Dr Clarkson, the Mirarr people and team involved on these finds. 

These exciting dates are vitally important for Australian archaeology as they help to aid our understanding of the length of time that Aboriginal people have occupied the Australian continent”, Professor Lara Lamb, President of the Australian Archaeological Association, said today on learning of the Madjedbebe dates. “For Indigenous people around Australia, such dates help to confirm Aboriginal narratives of their long attachment to country.  These dates and the wider archaeological results from Madjedbebe demonstrate the importance of archaeologists and Aboriginal people working together to build a picture of the occupation of the Australian landmass.  Professor Clarkson and his team are to be congratulated for the strong collaborative partnership developed with the Traditional Owners of the site.

The NEC would also like to encourage anyone who has other interesting or significant news to write in and share with us at



Megan & Annie

Media liaison officers

Vale Tony Sagona

11th July 2017

Vale Tony Sagona

With sadness the AASV shares news of the death last Thursday of Emeritus Professor Antonio Sagona.
There will be a public memorial for Tony on Friday the 7th of July, 12:30pm, at St Carthage’s Catholic Church, 123 Royal Pde, Parkville.
It is asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation; envelopes available at the Church.


From “The Age”: Tony was a valued mentor to legions of students, engaging teacher, inspiring supervisor, highly regarded field archaeologist and respected scholar, promoter of bilateral relations between Australia and the Near East and beyond, and passionate advocate for sharing knowledge about the origins of civilization and the ancient world. He was also well known for his warmth, generosity and many acts of kindness and was a wonderful friend who will be keenly missed.
The School together with the Faculty of Arts and the wider University of Melbourne community expresses sincere condolences to Claudia, Amadea and family.”

And from Glyn Davis: “Tony was a member of the University of Melbourne community for over three decades. He completed his PhD – on the archaeology of the Caucasian region in the Early Bronze Age – at the University in 1984, and in the same year was appointed as a lecturer in Archaeology. In 2006 he was appointed to a full Professorship.
Tony was an inspiring teacher, who could hold an audience while he explained how new excavations in Turkey revealed the story of humankind moving from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers who first began to build settlements. More recently he made major contributions to the excavation of the Gallipoli peninsula, including a book in 2016 on the archaeology of the battlefield, as well as numerous public talks on the archaeological findings of this research.
His contributions were recognised by election to the Society of Antiquities in London in 2004 and to the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2005, and by the honour of Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2013.
Colleagues at the University extend deepest sympathies to Claudia Sagona and family, and to all Tony’s colleagues and friends in the Faculty of Arts and beyond.”


The Archaeological & Anthropological Society of Victoria Inc.

PO Box 2013 Carlton 3053 Australia


Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area Advisory Committee positions

12th January 2017


Dear Colleagues,

The Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area is forming a new Advisory Committee. There are three positions available for Scientific Representation for specialists with expertise in archaeology, geomorphology, physical anthropology or environmental science.

If you are interested in applying, go to this link ( for more instructions and information as to the role of the committee.

Nominations close on Sunday 22 January 2017.


For any queries contact:

Dan Rosendahl Executive Officer,

Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area

Phone: 03 5021 8908 or 0417 204 237