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Date(s) - 21/09/2017
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Sydney Harbour YHA & The Big Dig Archaeology Centre

Archaeobotany for consultant archaeologists

AACAI NSW are pleased to present two speakers and a discussion on archaeobotanical sampling methods, techniques and controls for interpreting and dating archaeological sites, reconstructing past environments and understanding past Aboriginal and European land uses.

Please RSVP by 20th September for catering purposes to dianacowie@gmail.com


Andy Fairbairn is a native of Northumberland in northeast England and has been an archaeologist all his adult life. Studying at UCL Institute of Archaeology for his BSc, MSc (geoarchaeology and bioarchaeology) and PhD, he has worked across Europe, southwest Asia and Australasia on archaeological sites from the Lower Palaeolithic to modern period. Specialising early in archaeobotany under the tutelage of Gordon Hillman and Jon Hather, he has extensive experience of working in the field and lab including on research and rescue/consulting projects. First starting on Neolithic projects in the Avebury region UK, including West Kennet Causewayed Enclosure, and moving on to prehistoric projects in central Europe, his archaeobotanical research has taken him to Pompeii, Roman London, Catalhoyuk in Turkey, Jericho, Kosipe (PNG) and even saw him involved in the recent Madjedbebe project in the Northern Territory. Working for Cambridge University, The Museum of London Archaeology Service, ANU and most recently UQ, he has an interest in ancient farming and anthropogenic landscape change, the use of plant resources in forager societies and the social and symbolic value of plants to past societies. He is the co-director of the Boncuklu Project in Turkey, a country which has been the main focus on much of his research for the last 18 years and in which he spends 2-3 months per year, most recently funded by the ARC as a Future Fellow looking into the long term development of food trade systems.
Andy has extensive experience of advising projects on how best to recover and analyse environmental archaeology remains, including of course plant remains, and has strong views on the value and need for such studies in archaeological projects whatever the sector in which the project is undertaken. In this talk he will discuss the lessons learned about these issues over the years and some simple rules of thumb when planning for the integrated collection of science-based archaeology materials in archaeological projects.
Andy Fairbairn is Associate Professor of Archaeology at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, and
is currently an ARC Future Fellow (a.fairbairn@uq.edu.au)

Emilie Dotte-Sarout will present: ‘Fifty shades of black, or what can charcoal tell us?’
Archaeobotany, the study of plant remains from archaeological deposits, is a key method for understanding the long-term history of the human use of plants and the dynamics of human-environment relationships – including key questions such as human dispersal around the world, past daily use and experience of the landscape, or the complex management practices of so-called “wild” vs “domesticated” vegetation resources. However, the discipline has remained until recently an underdeveloped field of research in Oceania. This is especially true for anthracology, the specific sub-discipline focusing on wood charcoal macro-remains.
In this talk Emilie will present how and why wood charcoal studies are conducted in Oceania: with examples from Australia and the Pacific, and considering field and methodological aspects to improve the application of the discipline in our region; in particular the sometimes overlooked importance of precise provenience of wood charcoal samples in stratigraphic contexts.
Emilie Dotte-Sarout is postdoctoral fellow in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the ANU.
Having had a multidisciplinary and international training (read tortuous university studies path), she is now engaged in researching the history of archaeology in the Pacific (especially the francophone traditions) and the archaeology of human-plants relationship in Oceania, using wood charcoal as a proxy. (Emilie.Dotte@anu.edu.au)

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