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.”