Number 152 – December 2015 – ISSN 1832-1267

Inside This Issue



News from the State Chapters


NSW State Chapter AGM – 2015

SA State Chapter AGM – 2015

VIC State Chapter AGM – 2015

WA State Chapter AGM – 2015


Archaeological News from around the World


In Focus – Laila Haglund


AACAI Student Support Fund Recipients


Lee Sheppard Abstract – Cultural offsets in the mining industry: A case study from the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Emmy Frost –  A Faunal and Nutritional Analysis of the Brown Creek 3 Shell Midden, Southwestern Victoria

European Conference Circuit and Other Research Profiles Innovative Australian Studies

by Professor Peter Veth FAHA FSA MAACAI




Contact us



AACAI AGM 2015    

AACAI Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2015

Wednesday 2 December 2015, 6.00—7.30pm, AAA Conference, Sirius Room, Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle

  1. Welcome

Meeting opened at 6.15 pm. A welcome to the meeting was provided by AACAI President, Lynley Wallis, who acted as Chairperson. Diana Neuweger (Secretary) minuted the meeting and circulated an attendance sheet.

  1. Present and Apologies

Apologies: Diana Cowie, Jill Reid, Robyn Jenkins, Andrea Murphy, Fiona Leslie, Lyndon Patterson, Jill Comber, David Nutley, Kasey Robb, Martin Wimmer, Oona Nicolson and Peter Kuskie.

In attendance: Lynley Wallis (President), Fiona Hook (Vice President), Diana Neuweger (Secretary), Jordan Ralph, Paul Greenfeld, Amanda Goldfarb, Michelle Richards, Tracy Ireland, Aidan Ash, Jo-Anne Thomson, Caroline Bird, Jim Rhoads, Jo McDonald, Joe Dortch, Michael Marsh, Sean Ulm, Jim Wheeler, Emma Beckett and JJ McDermott.

  1. Minutes of the 2014 AGM

The minutes of the 2014 AGM were previously circulated to the membership. The minutes were accepted as a true reflection of the meeting.

Fiona Hook moved that we accept the minutes of the 2012 AGM, seconded by Joe Dortch. Motion was passed unanimously.

Note, all reports were circulated to the membership prior to the AGM, reports were not read at the AGM comments were taken as appropriate.

  1. President’s Report – no comments

To read the President’s Report, click here for a pdf version. AACAI Presidents Report AGM 2015 

5.Vice President’s Report – no comments

To read the Vice President’s Report, click here for a pdf version. AACAI Vice President Report AGM 2015

6.Secretary’s Report – no comments

To read the Secretary’s Report, click here for a pdf version. AACAI Secretary Report AGM 2015

7.AACAI Secretariat Officer’s Report – no comments

To read the Secretariat Officer’s Report, click here for a pdf version. AACAI Secretariat Officer Report AGM 2015

8.Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer’s report was not received by the time of the AGM. Once the Treasurer’s report is received it will be circulated to the membership for review.

9.Returning Officer’s Report – No comments.

To read the Returning Officer’s Report, click here for a pdf version. AACAI Returning Officer Report AGM 2015

10.Membership Secretary’s Report

To read the Membeership Secretary’s Report, click here for a pdf version. AACAI Membership Secretary Report AGM 2015

11. NSW Chapter Report

No comments.

12.  VIC Chapter Report

No comments.

13.  WA Chapter Report

No comments.

14.  SA Chapter Report

No comments.

All reports with the exception of the Treasurers’ report were accepted as a true record of the organisation.

Lynley Wallis moved from the Chair that we accept the reports as provided (with the exception of the missing Treasurer’s Report). Motion was passed unanimously.

15.  Changes to Constitution

15.1 After a two year process of review, the suggested changes which were advised by our lawyer to modernise and ensure the legality of the constitution. The changes to the constitution were reiterated at the meeting as per the documents provided to the membership prior to the AGM.

A motion was moved from the Chair to the effect that, with the exclusion of proposed changes to the Membership Committee and to ‘Section 15 Ceasing to be a Consultant’, all proposed changes in the circulated draft revised Constitution be accepted.

The motion was passed unanimously.


15.2 Discussion was held around the Membership Committee and streamlining of process to assist with making the process faster, and helping to reduce the large work load of the Membership Committee. Suggestion to change the form so that if a skill is put forward a report relating to that skill must be provided, currently numerous skills can be put forward but reports do not have to be linked to those skills directly on the form, this should reduce the number of bounce back applications to applicants.

15.3 In addition to ‘Section 7, Full Membership Criteria’ a motion was moved from the Chair to add an additional clause to the effect that:

7.5.9. A Full Member may be required from time to time assist with any task at the discretion of the NEC.

The motion was passed unanimously.

15.4 A motion was moved from the Chair to add a clause to ‘Section 23.3 Membership Committee’ to the effect that:

23.3.1 The Membership Committee, at their discretion, may co-opt additional Full Members as required to review membership applications.

The motion was passed unanimously.

15.4 A motion was moved from the Chair to remove ‘Section 15 Ceasing to be a Consultant’ from the Constitution in order to better reflect the fluid nature of contemporary employment in archaeological consultancy.

The motion was passed unanimously.

16.AACAI Strategic Policy and Sub-Committees

There were no volunteers to work on the sub-committees as proposed in the AGM documents circulated to the membership. In discussion it was decided that the State Chapter should work on the Strategic policy within their respective states.

17.Election of National Executive Committee

We thank the outgoing NEC for their work over the past two years.

There were no multiple nominations to any NEC position so the new NEC for 2016/ 2017 are:

President: Diana Neuweger

Vice President: Lynley Wallis

Secretary: Steve Muller

Treasurer: Matt Schlitz

Returning Officer: Fiona Leslie

Membership Committee: No nominations (Jen Burch to stay in role until replacement found).

State Chapter Delegates:

New South Wales: Diana Cowie (alternative Lyndon Patterson)

Victoria: Josara de Lang (alternative Adrienne Ellis)

Western Australia: Emma Beckett (alternative JJ McDermott)

South Australia: Annie Nicholson (alternative Guadalupe Cincenegui)


17.  Membership Committee:

All Membership Committee members renominated with the exception of Vicky Winton, who we thank for her services. The newest member of the Membership Committee is Jo-Anne Thomson who we welcome into the committee.

18. Other Business

Given the changes in a number of states to heritage legislation, it was proposed that ICOMOS, AAA and AACAI come together to draft guiding principals in relation to cultural heritage legislation. Leading this for AACAI will be Diana Neuweger and Emma Beckett. The NEC encourage any other members interested in participating to contact the NEC and also encourage the state chapters to put together their thoughts on this to be provided to the NEC for inclusion in the submission.

Close of Meeting

The meeting was closed at 7.45 pm.



News from the State Chapters


NSW State Chapter AGM

To read the AGM Minutes from the NSW State Chapter click here: AACAI NSW 2015 AGM Minutes

SA State Chapter AGM

To read the AGM Minutes from the SA State Chapter click here: AACAI SA AGM 2015 Minutes 

VIC State Chapter AGM

To read the AGM Minutes from the VIC State Chapter click here: AACAI VIC AGM Report 2015

WA State Chapter AGM 

To read the AGM Minutes from the WA State Chapter click here: AACAI WA AGM 2015 Minutes

Archaeological News from around the World


NANTERRE, FRANCE—A study of the few skulls in a 3,000-year-old Lapita cemetery in Vanuatu suggests that the first Polynesians migrated from Southeast Asia and into Polynesia with little mixing with others.   Frédérique Valentin of France’s National Center for Scientific Research, and Matthew Spriggs of Australian National University, compared the skulls from the Teouma cemetery with skulls from Asia and other places in the South Pacific.  “What we’re able to show is that in fact, for places like Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Fiji, they do arrive before there’s anybody else here,” Spriggs told Australia’s ABC News.  DNA from the Vanuatu skeletons could shed further light on the ancestry of the Polynesians. To read more about Polynesia, go to “Inside Kauai’s Past.”


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA— A thigh bone found in China suggests an ancient species of human thought to be long extinct may have survived until as recently as the end of the last Ice Age.  Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales and Ji Xueping of the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology  discovered that a 14,000-year-old thigh bone, which is very small and narrow, was similar to thigh bones of Homo habilis and early Homo erectus, species that lived 1.5 million years ago. Skull bones from the cave’s possibly unknown species do not seem to be as primitive as the thigh bone, however.  “Its young age suggests the possibility that primitive-looking humans could have survived until very late in our evolution, but we need to be careful as it is just one bone,” Ji said in a press release.  Read more about the DNA here. “Denisovan DNA.”

KUNMING  – The oldest Hoabinhian culture, an important technological adaptation by hunter-gatherers to the humid tropical and subtropical environments of southeast Asia some 43,500 years ago, was identified in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. The oldest site ever found dates back 29,000 years. Hoabinhian sites provide significant clues for understanding the survival strategies of hominids, and the transition from nomadic populations to more settled agricultural communities.


In Focus – Laila Haglund

Here is a very interesting article marking 50 years since the discovery of a Gold Coast Indigenous burial ground published by ABC News. It features 81 year old founding member of AACAI (now a Life Member), Laila Haglund.

At the time Laila, had just arrived by boat from England, was the only qualified archaeologist in the state and was six months pregnant. Click on the link below to read the full article.

Gold Coast Indigenous burial ground marks 50 years since discovery


AACAI Student Support Fund Recipients



Lee Sheppard, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Australia

Cultural offsets in the mining industry: A case study from the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia


Historically, when resource extraction companies developed Indigenous lands they provided little to no compensation to Traditional Owners for resultant social, cultural and heritage impacts. Following the passage of the Native Title Act 1993, which formally recognised Indigenous rights to lands and waters, resource companies began to offer financial compensation to offset impairment of native title rights and site/cultural landscape destruction ― often referred to as ‘cultural offsets’.  Recently, resource companies have attempted to fit cultural offsetting within a biodiversity offsets model, which replaces the affected land area with another area with identical/similar ecosystems. However, because it is often difficult to substitute one type of heritage landscape for another type of heritage landscape, even if superficially similar, cultural offsets based on a land swap model have raised the following questions: Does a biodiversity offsets model provide a template for cultural offsets? Can cultural offsets work in practice?


To answer the first question, an overview of the concept of biodiversity and cultural offsetting, including the legislative framework within which they are situated, was undertaken. I found that although biodiversity offsets are regulated by legislation and are potentially beneficial for industry, government regulators and conservation organisations, a number of issues arise which potentially limit the technical success of biodiversity offsets, such as measurability of the value being offset, time lags between losses and gains, and uncertainty and adequacy of compliance. Poorly conceived policies resulting in poor compliance to land clearing regulations were noted. Not all development industries implement or apply best practices in environmental management, nor are the methods used to measure losses and gains standardised across industries. Nevertheless, it is possible for biodiversity offsets to be fungible (i.e. identify and secure parcels of land that possess the same or similar biodiversity values as those that would be impacted by resource development).


Unlike biodiversity offsets, cultural offsets are not protected by regulatory legislation and are problematic, as the ability to compare or substitute one type of heritage value for another similar type of value in a cultural offsets model may be impossible, even for archaeological sites. Trading like-for-like or better, also fails to recognise the potential for individual areas or ecosystems to contain areas of local cultural significance that cannot be replicated in areas of land away from that local landscape. Therefore, it appears that currently, a biodiversity offsets model does not provide a suitable template for cultural offsets.


To consider how well cultural offsetting has worked in practice, the Wollombi Brook Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Conservation Area (WBACHCA), in the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales was examined as a case study to explore the advantages and disadvantages of cultural offsets that are based on the biodiversity offsets model.  A critique of this study found that although the cultural heritage assessment found the presence of intangible cultural heritage in the WBACHCA, it offered no data on intangible cultural heritage in the mine’s extension, even though overwhelming evidence existed for numerous intangible elements of cultural heritage in the Hunter Valley generally. Thus, without knowledge of what extant intangible elements were encompassed within the extension area, I concluded that the WBACHCA was not sufficiently similar, in heritage place terms, to the mine area to be considered an acceptable cultural offset. The WBACHCA does not act as a genuine heritage ‘swap’ for the locality impacted by mining.


In conclusion, the focus on material culture by archaeologists diminishes the ontologies, epistemologies and axiologies of Indigenous people and their connection to land by ignoring, or at best minimising, intangible heritage connections.  Cultural offsets that similarly ignore or minimise intangible heritage can never adequate provide like-for-like land swaps.


Emmy Frost Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University, Bundoora Vic 3108

A Faunal and Nutritional Analysis of the Brown Creek 3 Shell Midden, Southwestern Victoria



This report summarises the results of an archaeological analysis of shell material excavated from the Brown Creek 3 midden (BCM3) (Victorian Archaeological Heritage Register Number 7620-0077) in south-west Victoria, incorporating a nutritional analysis of modern shellfish from the surrounding area. This analysis was conducted as a part of the Apollo Bay Archaeology Project, a collaborative project between: La Trobe University; the Gadubanud and Gulidjan Traditional Owner Group; Kuuyang Maar Aboriginal Corporation; Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation; Biosis Pty Ltd; Otway Coast Care Committee; the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria; and the Apollo Bay Community. The results of this thesis will serve to enhance future interpretation of mollusc taxa presence and abundance, and the overall assessment of midden site significance. This has important implications for the management of these site types.


BCM3 is located approximately 9 km east of Apollo Bay (Figure 1). It stretches about 300 m along the coastline (Figure 2) and has been dated to the late Holocene (Lawler et al. 2014). The midden is situated on coastal Crown Land, and is managed by the Otway Coast Care Committee on behalf of the Department of Environment and Primary Industry. The midden was first recorded by staff from La Trobe University in 1988 as a single lens of dense shell material, but has since eroded away to reveal multiple lenses with distinct banding. This clearly demonstrates the rapid nature of midden degradation. Further degradation was also apparent between the excavation in March 2013 (Figure 3) and a mollusc collection field trip in August 2015 (Figure 4), emphasising the urgent need for research on this midden.


The archaeological aspect of this project consisted of identifying each species of mollusc in the northeast quadrant of the November 2014 excavation of BCM3 (Figure 4), looking at changes in shell quantity and species in the different midden layers in order to determine patterns in human coastal resource selection over time. The archaeological analysis was supplemented with a modern nutritional analysis of fresh molluscs collected from the surrounding area in order to determine the total fat, the quality of specific fatty acids and the levels of 13 important trace elements within each sample. This was done in order to look at the nutritional value of each species, and is the first experiment of its kind to be conducted on marine molluscs in southwest Victoria.

Results and Discussion

The results of this project confirmed BCM3 as a product of Indigenous Australian activities, rather than a natural shell accumulation. This was determined through the presence of charcoal, ochre, fire modified rock and stone artefacts throughout the midden, in addition to the fact that that most of the species’ of shell identified within the midden were edible, mature individuals, with both large and small shells dispersed fairly evenly throughout the layers of the midden. In contrast, natural shell middens are formed by tidal flow and so would have a wide variety of mature and juvenile specimens, and the shells would be distributed with the largest shells at the top of the midden, and the smallest at the bottom due to wave action. No shell tools were identified in the BCM3 assemblage, suggesting that the shellfish were gathered for consumption only.


Within the midden, it was determined that there were two main periods of occupation, interspersed with periods of lower-levels of occupation (Figure 5). The younger layers were grouped as ‘Unit 1’, the intermediate layers as ‘Unit 2’, and the oldest as ‘Unit 3’ (Table 1). Radiocarbon dates indicate occupation between 230±30 yr BP for the lower layers of the midden, and 1060±30 yr BP for the upper layers (Lawler et al. 2014).


The archaeological analysis determined that 13 different species of mollusc were present (Table 2), and that the beaked mussel (Austromytilus rostratus) was the most common species, being abundant in all units. Change in the size of the recorded species was also observed, with black-lip abalone (Haliotis rubra) demonstrating noticeable decreases in size in Unit 1, though all other species recording either slight decreases or no change. A decrease in shell abundance for the beaked mussel was also observed in Unit 1, along with increased amounts of all other species (Table 3). This indicates that other shellfish species may have been harvested more intensively in order to compensate for reduced mussel numbers.


These results also indicate more intensive use in the older layers, with specific species being targeted, i.e. abalone and beaked mussel, whilst the younger layers contained less material but a slightly larger variety of species. These results appear to correlate with suggestions by Morrison and Cochrane (2008) that taxa diversity in archaeological sites is the outcome of resource over-exploitation, resulting in reduced numbers of the originally targeted food sources. This is further corroborated by studies that demonstrate that lower amounts of the most desirable prey results in increased diversity of species of less desirable molluscs, or size of the same species (e.g. Bird et al. 2002). From this, it is reasonable to conclude that over-fishing of abalone and beaked mussel was the key factor in the increased variety of species in the younger layers of the midden, and explains why the younger layers demonstrate a number of the same species as the older layers but with reduced sizes.


No fish species or animal bone, with the exception of one unidentified long bone fragment, were located within the midden. It is important to note that the mesh size of sieve used in this project were 3mm and 7.1mm, which may have resulted in very small fish bones being missed (Zohar & Belmaker 2005). Another factor to consider is that midden is situated directly across from lengthy and wide rocky intertidal zone, which is populated with a large variety of shellfish. However, this does not allow easy access to deep water where fish reside, which could be a reason why there are no species other than shellfish present in the midden.


The results from the combined fats and trace element analyses of modern molluscs demonstrated that most of the molluscs examined have high levels of beneficial trace elements and, in the case of the dog whelk (Dicathais orbita), large concentrations of several toxic metals which may be due to modern contaminants. Each measured specimen also contained very low levels of fat (Figure 5). The implications of these low fat values for all measured specimens are that these species would provide only a small amount of energy per sample.


The trace element analysis indicates that these molluscs were high in many essential nutrients, and would have easily satisfied basic human nutritional requirements for the inhabitants of BCM3 (Figure 6). However, the sodium (salt) content of these molluscs, if consumed in multiple kilogram quantities daily, would be likely to cause increased blood pressure, swelling and issues with various body functions. O’Dea (1991) stated that the diets of Indigenous people varied from simple meals to large feasts where 2–3 kg of food could be consumed in one sitting. However, a large portion of the feast foods were terrestrial animal and plant foods, whilst molluscs were generally eaten on days where game was not hunted. Plant foods commonly consumed by Indigenous groups are low in sodium, and high in protein, carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium and calcium, so if molluscs were combined with plant foods it would provide a nutritious and balanced diet.


Further, Bowdler’s (1982) ethnographic study of the collection patterns of the Gidjingarli of the Anbarra region demonstrated that mollusc collection was conducted predominately by women with small children that could not endure more strenuous foraging trips. Compared to terrestrial game, molluscs are a safe, easy source of nutrition for very little energy expenditure, and as such are ideal resources for women with small children.


It is not known what methods of food preparation the inhabitants of BCM3 used, although the presence of burnt shell suggests a method where extreme heat directly contacts the mollusc shell.



The analysis of shell from BCM3 suggests that there were small changes in coastal resource selection behaviour over the course of the middens occupation. The black-lip abalone reduced in size from the oldest layers of the midden to the youngest, which may be indicative of over-fishing of this particular resource. An increase in number of all species of shellfish, excluding the beaked mussel which showed a slight decrease, was also observed in the younger layers. This demonstrates increasing diversity of species in the younger layers, which may again be attributed to an effort to compensate for the previous over-fishing of black-lip abalone and beaked mussel.


This archaeological analysis has been combined with a nutritional study of modern molluscs from the nearby intertidal zone to offer a possible explanation as to why these changes occurred, and to examine the nutritional impact of these changes. Results demonstrate the tested species were low in fat and high in selected trace elements, and would have provided low levels of energy but high amounts of essential nutrients. These were able to be collected in large numbers without using much energy, making them valuable food sources.

It was also concluded that due to cultural influences, it was more likely women and children that collected and consumed these molluscs.



I acknowledge the Indigenous communities who are the Traditional Owners of the Brown Creek 3 midden, and I pay my respects to their elders, past and present. I would also like to extend my gratitude to AACAI, BIOSIS Pty Ltd and the Bill Borthwick Foundation for their generous financial support of this project. I also thank Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment and Primary Industry for permit approval and assistance with general inquiries. Warm thanks to everyone who has supported the Brown Creek Community Archaeology Project: to the Gadubanud and Gulidjan Traditional Owner Group; the Kuuyang Maar Aboriginal Corporation; the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation; LTU students and staff who took part in fieldwork; Otway Coast Care Committee; the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria; and the Apollo Bay Community. Special thanks to Ron Arnold for initiating and assisting with research at BC3M. Special thanks to my supervisors Dr Jillian Garvey and Associate Professor Andy Herries from the Department of Archaeology at La Trobe University for their continued support, encouragement, and advice.



Bird, D.W, J.L. Richardson, P.M. Veth and A.J. Barham 2002 Explaining shellfish variability in middens on the Meriam Islands, Torres Strait, Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science 29:457–469.

Bowdler, S. and H. Lourandos 1982 Both sides of Bass Strait. In S. Bowdler (ed.), Coastal Archaeology in Eastern Australia: Proceedings of the 1980 Valla Conference on Australian Prehistory, pp.121–132. Canberra: The Australian National University,.

Lawler, M., R. Arnold, K.F. Robb, A.I.R. Herries, T. Lovett, C. Keogh, M. Phelan, S.E. Falconer, P.L. Fall, J. Tumney, R. Stammers, T. James-Lee and I. Berelov 2014 The Browns Creek Community Archaeology Project: preliminary results from the survey and excavation of a late Holocene shell midden on the Victorian coast. Excavations, Surveys and Heritage Management in Victoria 3:43–52.

Morrison A.E. and E.E. Cochrane 2008 Investigating shellfish deposition and landscape history at the Natia Beach site, Fiji. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2387–2399.

O’Dea, K. 1991 Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian Aboriginal hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B Biological Sciences 334:233–240.

Zohar, I. and M. Belmaker 2005 Size does matter: methodological comments on sieve size and species richness in fishbone assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:635-641.


European Conference Circuit and Other Research Profiles Innovative Australian Studies


Professor Peter Veth FAHA FSA MAACAI

During September and October of 2015 Peter Veth, past National President and Full Member of AACAI and Chair of Archaeology at UWA, presented 6 conference papers at various gatherings throughout Europe. These invited offerings sought to profile new research findings and studies from Australian-led teams from the north-west of Australia. Peter noted how impressive it was that a number of the meetings had a significant Australian contribution and that generally there were high levels of interest in the theoretical and methodological innovations coming out of these predominantly ARC and CHM-industry linked programs. At Oxford University Peter liaised with Mike Petraglia and Nicki Boivin on the Green Arabia Project and new dates and research from the arid zone of Australia. With Ramiro Barberena, Peter Mitchell and Jo McDonald he is co-authoring a special edition of the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology on “Archaeological Discontinuities” with comparative studies from South America, Southern Africa and Australia.


At the European Association of Archaeologists in Glasgow Peter and Alistair Paterson, Future Fellow at UWA, presented on the unique records for use of drowned landscapes of the North-West Shelf from the ARC-funded Barrow Island Archaeology Project. Direct evidence for use of marine and terrestrial faunas has been recovered from before 42 ka to 7.5 ka indicating that the resource productivity of particularly the coastal plain was higher than previously modelled. This session on drowned prehistoric sites from global study areas was in the same vein as the SPLASHCOS European Union study of submerged landscapes for which Peter acted a as reviewer in Poland in 2014.


The ACRA 3 Rock Art and Theory Conference was held at the World Heritage Site of Alta in the NW of Norway. Selected papers from global practitioners, with strong representation from Australia, highlighted new ways of contextualising analyses of rock art in regional style studies, symbolic landscapes, evolving socio-economic polities and of course shares information systems across transforming landscapes. Peter made a spirited case for a longer chronology for Kimberley rock art outlining 12 lines of evidence; some of these predictions have already been addressed by current research and dating programs from both the Kimberley and Northern territory rock art provinces.


The CHAGS Conference in Vienna was the first for some time and represented a major stocktake of global studies of hunter-gatherer societies. Peter presented a paper on “Recursivity in Rock Art from the Western” with particular focus on Indigenous ontologies and origin narratives. A session co-convened by Martin Porr and Jacquie Matthews in which this paper was presented will be published as special proceedings of the CHAGS conference.


Peter then presented the Plenary talk and a paper at the Wien University, Germany, Workshop on Landscape Archaeology: religion, power and cognition. The Plenary concerned the replicative mode of production of Kimberley rock art and the case for a longer chronology in the productive of multi-phase art styles from Irregular Infill Naturalistic through to Wandjina art. The commonalities and divergences between NE Kimberley and Arnhem Art were also profiled briefly noting the aims of the ARC-funded “Dating Kimberley Rock Art Project”  and the just awarded “Kimberley Visions” ARC-Linkage grant. The session paper focused on art from the arid zone with highlights from the ARC Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming project. Landscape approaches to dated and ethnographically known art were highlighted with particular focus on joint research from the Canning Stock Route Project with Jo McDonald. These proceedings are planned to be published as an edition of the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.


Peter was then a guest lecturer at Leidein University were he gave presentations on Dating Kimberley Rock Art and the ARC Linkage project “The Australian Historic Shipwrecks Preservation Project” which focused on the colonial trader Clarence in Port Phillip Bay and the James Matthews, the colonial ex-slaver off the Coast of Western Australia. The in-situ reburial protocols represented a coalition of 10 maritime heritage agencies and delegates aiming to establish new standards in proofing conservation interventions on Australian colonial shipwrecks at risk. Heads of lead maritime heritage agencies/programs in the Netherlands and Denmark, Martijn Manders and David Gregory, help workshops with Peter sharing their best-practice findings from the Northern Hemisphere. The final report for Heritage Victoria of the four year study of intervention and reburial of Clarence has just been completed. A volume on the project has been commissioned by Springer and will be completed in 2016 by Vicki Richards, Cass Philippou, Peter Veth and Mark Staniforth.


At the end of this comprehensive lecture circuit Peter retuned to Australia to deliver lectures to the Weld Club, INPEX and various community groups. He also co-presented papers at the Fremantle UWA-hosted AAA Conference including: 50 ka dates from the Barrow Island Archaeology Project; New Laser Imaging of a Complex Cave from the North-west; the Australian Historic Shipwreck Preservation Program, and; The Archaeological Study of Plastic Micro-pollutants.


Peter finished his ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award at the end of 2015 and takes up his full-time role of Inaugural Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Kimberley Rock Art at the start of 2016. This work will focus on 5 years of systematic survey, excavation, rock art recording and dating from the northern Kimberley with colleagues from Monash, University of Melbourne and two teams of rock art specialists and geoarchaeologists from France.


Peter travels to Houston in January to present for the American Institute of Archaeology and show a new rendering of First Footprints at the Museum of Natural History. He will also visit the Shulma Rock Art School at Pecos, Texas, and then Penn State to develop a research agreement for Human Behavioural Studies with Professors Rebecca Bliege-Bird and Doug Bird. He will then meet with the French teams involved in the 5 year Kimberley Visions Project in Toulouse while Jo McDonald takes up a Visiting Professorship.

Prof Peter Veth at Freshwater Cove with Prof Andy Gleadow and Dr Helen Green (kneeling).

Image courtesy of Kimberley Foundation Australia ENews Christmas 2015‏.  Read the full publication here: Kimberley Foundation Australia ENews Christmas 2015


For a full list of events, please visit the AACAI website here: EVENTS


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The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI) is an organisation for professionals working in all fields of contract and public archaeology. It aims to uphold and promote the discipline and to advance the welfare of members. AACAI has a Constitution, a Code of Ethics and a Consulting with Aboriginal Communities Policy Document. It is affiliated with the Australian Archaeological Association Inc and is a Foundation Member of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.