Thesis abstract ‘Control and Power in Australian Community Archaeology: Case Studies from Waanyi Country, Northwest Queensland’

17th November 2013

Cameo Dalley

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, October 2004

In this thesis I undertake one of the first critical examinations of Australian community archaeology, focussing on issues of control and power which are central to the community archaeology approach. In the past, archaeologists have driven archaeological inquiry, creating a situation where Indigenous communities rarely benefited directly from research. In response to this, community archaeology attempts to reorient the archaeological process to better suit the needs of Indigenous communities, thus moving towards greater Indigenous control.

I argue that understanding relationships between archaeologists and Indigenous communities also requires consideration of the institutional frameworks under which research is undertaken and the relative access that archaeologists and Indigenous communities have to ‘power resources’. In order to understand how community archaeology compares to more conventional approaches to heritage investigation, I compare a community archaeology project to a cultural heritage assessment and a processual research project all conducted in Waanyi country, northwest Queensland.

I conceptualise my findings as being along a continuum of control. While the community archaeology project achieved more control for the Waanyi than the other projects, I also recognise the significant contributions that the other projects make towards achieving Indigenous control. Findings suggest that the issues surrounding community archaeology will continue to play a defining role in guiding Australian archaeology in the future. I conclude that archaeologists must continue to engage with issues of Indigenous control and that community archaeology is a suitable way to achieve this.

Dalley, C.
Thesis abstract 'Control and Power in Australian Community Archaeology: Case Studies from Waanyi Country, Northwest Queensland'
2005
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