AAA2021 Virtual Conference

1-3 December 2021

Artwork by Maddy Hope-Hodgetts.  Find out more

Session Themes

After Archaeology in Practice: Student Research in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management

An extraordinary and excitingly diverse range of research topics are pursued by students in archaeology and cultural heritage management and with the advent of covid-19, students have engaged with history, science and culture in ways we haven’t even begun to fully explore. Disseminating your research results to an audience of archaeologists at Australia’s annual conference was a huge hit at the 2019 AAA Conference on the Gold Coast and by request we propose to run a student-led and focussed session for the 2021 AAA conference. This session focusses on student research and provides an opportunity to speak alongside a group of your peers in a safe moderated space. We support and encourage student researchers at all levels to present a paper on their research in any area of archaeology and cultural heritage management from national and international contexts. Presenting in this forum allows you to develop important skills at communicating your research results. Presentations will be a maximum of 10-15minutes with 5 minutes for questions.

Convenors: Clara Rose Santilli and Daryl Wesley, Flinders University

Archaeological Science Collaborations: The ARCAS Network Session 

Archaeological science has become an integral part of Australian archaeology, with advancements in technologies allowing new types of data and/or higher resolution data to be produced. These data underpin detailed and nuanced interpretations of past human behaviour and contribute to understanding how people lived on Country. Archaeological science, with its foundations in western science, can play an important role in reconciliation and truth telling, especially when combined with the traditional knowledges of First Nation people. Archaeological science can also contribute to public/community archaeology, through the fascinating insights it reveals and its contribution to the development of engaging narratives. The Australasian Research Cluster for Archaeological Science (ARCAS) network session invites papers focusing on research collaborations with First Nations communities, government organisations, community groups and other bodies that highlight how archaeological science has contributed to understanding the past. We especially welcome papers that highlight how these collaborations facilitate reconciliation, truth telling and self-determination for First Nations communities. 

Convenors:  Jillian Garvey and Rebekah Kurpiel, La Trobe University 

Australian Archaeology Abroad

In addition to the many and varied archaeological projects based within Australia, many of our colleagues are also participating in, and leading projects overseas.  This work leads to experiences markedly different from those of local archaeologists, but at the same time sharing the same high level aims and challenges. This opens up opportunities to share approaches, techniques and experiences from which we can learn from our overseas work. This session will showcase examples of the projects Australians have been conducting abroad or on material from abroad. It will provide opportunities for a rich exchange with scholars working in contexts far different to the Australian situation.

Convenor:  Fred Hardtke, Macquarie University

Before Cook: The Archaeology of European and Island Southeast Asian Interactions with Australia 

This session investigates current research projects related to the archaeology of European and South East Asian interactions and long-term engagement with Indigenous Australians. The session sets out to contribute further knowledge about our understanding of European and South East Asians active in the Australasian region from the 17th and 18th centuries through archaeological and historical research. Outcomes to date have included new interpretations of Australian histories and sites. 

Convenors: Daryl Wesley and Wendy Van Duivenvoorde, Flinders University and Mirani Litster, University of Canberra 

Case Studies in Collaboration: Prioritising Indigenous Interests in Cultural Heritage Consulting 

The public fallout from the destruction of Juukan Gorge illustrates a growing concern amongst the Australian public for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and heritage. At the same time, there is an increasing sensitivity of mining, energy resource and other extractive companies to public perceptions of their actions in this arena. In this context, cultural heritage consulting has the power to prioritise Indigenous voices and initiate cultural and systemic changes to how cultural heritage is managed. In this session we would like to invite case studies of meaningful engagement and participation of heritage experts alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders within the context of cultural heritage consulting, with the aim of showing ways in which the heritage industry can assist in the reconciliation process.  

Convenors: Sean Freeman and Antoinette Hennessy, Australian Heritage Services and Glen Wingfield, Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation 

Digital Archaeology Beyond Tools and Toys 

Digital Archaeology is an emerging research field utilising information technology and digital media. Archaeologists are continuously adapting and advancing archaeotech (archaeology technology) with base-level digital site and artefact recording, photogrammetry, laser scanning, UAS (unmanned aerial systems) and other tools that further our research objectives. Archaeologists often use these archaeotech tools and toys to document heritage for preserving the information from agents of deterioration (such as climate change, natural disasters, theft, and other forms of damage). However, these are just tools and the underlying purpose and goals of the research need to be considered. This session aims to discuss how archaeotech can be used to ultimately benefit Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and effectively communicate with non-specialist audiences. 

Convenors: Andrea Jalandoni, Griffith University and Rebecca Jones, Australian Museum 

Disciplinary History in the Light of Indigenous Involvement 

From its beginnings, archaeological research in Australia and neighbouring regions has dealt predominantly with non-Western pasts, or (in the case of historical archaeology) with shared Indigenous and Western pasts. The long history of consultation between archaeologists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is reflected in the Indo-Pacific region more broadly. However, there are also numerous examples of past archaeologists in these regions ignoring or devaluing Indigenous perspectives. This session looks at our disciplinary history through the lens of the conference theme, examining case studies of past consultation and/or collaboration between archaeologists and Indigenous peoples in Australia and neighbouring regions, as well as case studies of past failures to consult or collaborate. We welcome papers on any aspects of the history of archaeology in Australia and the Indo-Pacific, particularly those addressing Indigenous involvement in archaeology in these areas. 

Convenors: Hilary Howes, The Australian National University and Emilie Dotte-Sarout, The University of Western Australia

Interrogating Absences in the Archaeological Record 

Archaeological endeavours around the world typically focus on materiality – the things we can see and hold, and use to explain how they are made meaningful in the past and present. Yet, a major challenge that has often been overlooked concerns explanations about what is missing, that is, those absences that can potentially speak volumes to understanding patterns of human behaviour. Recent examples involving rock art, patterning of specific types of stone artefacts, and the spaces between ‘significant sites’ (in a CHM context) have shown that absences are complex phenomena, they are choices made in response to factors such as environmental change, societal pressures such as violence, oppression, invasion, disease, and exposure to new peoples, ideas, and objects. The role of Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies in considering the nature of absences can also be useful in understanding the cultural complexities of absences. For this session we seek papers from across the archaeological spectrum of specialisations, and across different time periods – from the deep past to today. Case studies are encouraged, yet we are challenging contributors to not just identify absences but rather engage with broader theoretical concepts to understand the associated social and cultural processes that guide and inform people’s choices. 

Convenors: Sally May, Griffith University and Liam Brady, Flinders University

Reconsidering the Teaching and Learning of Australian Archaeology 

At a foundational level, developing holistic and structural change within Australian archaeology begins in the classroom. It is here that future generations of archaeologists learn and begin to apply archaeological methods and theories that not only represent best practise but increasingly are also culturally competent and inclusive. As increasing numbers of graduates enter the profession as specialists in Indigenous Archaeology, so too is the discipline welcoming Indigenous Australians as both teachers and students of archaeology. The drive to underpin, integrate and incorporate cultural knowledges, processes and protocols into learning systems are increasing through holistic and ethical frameworks. Whilst these changes are occurring on an ad hoc basis, there are growing numbers who seek to see this reform applied consistently across the nation. In this session, we invite archaeologists, students and Traditional Custodians to discuss their approaches to and experience of strategies for the integration of truth-telling and decolonising of courses, syllabi and curriculums; strategies promoting inclusive teaching; embedding Indigenous cultures, knowledges and perspectives in our teaching and learning; and approaches to recruitment and retention. 

Convenors: Georgia Stannard, La Trobe University, Melissa Marshall, The Notre Dame University Australia, Chris Wilson, Flinders University, Dave Johnston, Australian Indigenous Archaeologists Association and Ken Hayward, Edith Cowan University

When the Rivers (Don’t) Flow: The Impact of Changing Flows on Culture and Heritage 

A flowing river is a confluence of smaller streams, weak by themselves but stronger when their waters combine. The flow of water is a conduit for connecting people to their heritage, while also providing sustenance and a spiritual connection for those who live alongside them. When water stops, the effect it has ripples and affects every aspect of life in a community. In this session, we seek to primarily look at the impact of changing flows of water primarily on culture and heritage. However, archaeology is a stream which must intertwine with other disciplines to seek means to empower communities along rivers to own their story and narrate a future of their choice. We seek to therefore examine a narrative where we look at integrated and entangled ways of living with rivers through the eyes of both modern and ‘traditional’ lifestyles. 

Convenors: Amanda Atkinson and Doug Williams, Austral Archaeology

‘Wok Bung Wantaim’ (Working Together): Archaeology in New Guinea 

This session invites archaeologists working in New Guinea to reflect on their collaborative projects. In particular, we welcome papers that incorporate multiple perspectives on the interpretation of various archaeological objects. For example, the archaeological, ethnographic, and other disciplinary datasets that provide unique opportunities to investigate aspects of past human strategic behaviours, migration and settlement patterns, and trade and exchange indicators that represent past and present community adaptations and socio-cultural associations. We are also interested in discussing cutting-edge research that articulates a systematic understanding of the early human occupation as well as notions of cultural continuity in New Guinea. 

Convenors: Roxanne Tsang, Griffith University/University of Papua New Guinea, Jason Kariwiga, The University of Queensland/University of Papua New Guinea and Matthew Leavesley, University of Papua New Guinea 

Working Together on a Kimberley Vision 

This session brings together collaborative research and community work from the ARC Linkage Project Kimberley Visions: rock art style provinces of northern Australia. With Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, Rangers and Traditional Owners as well as project sponsors and government departments we have sought to understand two-way knowledge around cultural heritage at a local level, while more broadly researching the possibility of a larger cultural bloc across northern Australia in the Pleistocene. We have recorded over 1,300 cultural places and excavated 11 sites. This has helped create a visual and spatially linked database, with tangible management functionality and research applications. Papers in our session will utilise data and experiences from the past five years to present collaborative interpretations which address reconciliation through bringing together Indigenous and western ontologies, creating inter-generational knowledge transfer opportunities. In addition to normal reportage on excavations, rock art recording, HDR projects and the like, we also report on and unexpected partner-driven applications such as heritage and fire management, using site recording to mitigate mining impacts, and understanding the relationship between health and heritage. 

Convenors: Sven Ouzman, Sam Harper, Peter Veth, Martin Porr, Mariangela Lanza, Anapaula Motta, Emily Grey and Joakim Goldhahn, The University of Western Australia and the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation

Have a question

Contact Us

Contact the Conference Organiser, Julie Jerbic

0402 189 948

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