Number 155 – January 2017 – ISSN 1832-1267

Inside This Issue

AACAI 2017 Annual General Meeting

2017 AGMs State Chapters

Archaeological News from around the World

AACAI Student Fund Recipients for 2016







AACAI 2017 Annual General Meeting


 AACAI AGM Meeting 

Terrigal, 6th December 2016 

Commenced 4.35 pm 

1. Present and Apologies 

Apologies: Jim Rhoads, Paul Greenfield, Diana Neuweger, Diana Cowie

In attendance: Lara Tooby (volunteer-non-financial member), Lyndon Patterson, Craig Baxter, Helen Brayshaw, Andrew Costello, Harry Webber, Laura Dafter (Farquharson), Oliver Brown, Colin Pardoe, Ben Goww, Caroline Bird, Steve Brown (non-member), Michael Marsh, Megan Cuigacj, Lucy Sinclair, Oliver Macgregor (non-member), Jacqueline Matthews, Kylie Lower (member ?), Vanessa Edmonds, Kasey Robb, Lynley Wallis (Chair), Jo Thomson (Minutes), Alice Gorman, Annie Ross, Mike Marsh, Fiona Hook

2. Minutes Previous AGM 

Proposed acceptance: M M

Seconded: F H

Motion carried (one against) 


3. Reports   Pre-circulated

President’s Report AGM2017

Click here to read this report:


Secretary’s Report AGM 2017

Click here to read this report:


JAACA Editors Annual Report 2017

Click here to read this report:


AACAI Secretariat Officer Report AGM 2017

Click here to read this report:

 If any of these links are not active for you, please cut and paste them to your browser.

– Just received Treasurer’s report. In good financial position. Chair went through highlights from Treasurer’s report.

– Need special general meeting to vote on Treasurer’s account, figures etc.

– ATO plans – F H to Discuss with incoming Treasurer about how to apply for tax deductable status.

– No questions from the floor re Treasurer’s report.

– Comment from floor that length of process to become a member is an issue.


4. Volunteer Policy 

– Chair gave an overview of the updated volunteer policy.

– Asked for questions and comments from the floor.

– A G commented on the context of the policy, stating that when first formulated it was ahead of its time, but the situation has moved on so that it was good that it was being updated.

– C B commented that the ethics sections appear quite old, especially the fee scale.

– Chair moved that members accept the Volunteer policy.

Passed unanimously 

– Chair moved that all reports for 2016 be accepted

Passed unanimously 

5. Meeting opened to any business from the floor 

a) A G – SA Chapter: That consideration is given to the formation of a combined SA-NT chapter. It was felt that there is clear alignment given historical and geographical factors. It was felt that this proposal would better support NT members. The proposal did not raise any constitutional issues and could proceed.


Action: SA Chair to liaise with NT members to start the business. 

b) F H: Referred to a proposal that arose from the last conference regarding a workshop on legislation. The idea was to include AACAI in a working group to develop best practice guidelines on Aboriginal Heritage legislation as a guide for government. Guiding principles would involve ICOMOS, AAS, AACAI etc. Asked if anyone from AACAI would like to be a part of the working group (ideally people from each state).


– L P indicated an interest.

– Aim is to establish a document of standards to use when lobbying.

– O B commented it would need to be clear on workload.

– C B said we needed to be on the front foot and need to be prepared and able to say what a good heritage act should look like. We need to be advocates.

– L P said that NSW, ICOMOS and AACAI are meeting with DEH and that he would like to be part of the working group. That it needs to include people from many parts of Australia.

– F H identified a number of potential targets. She will report back to the organisations on this discussion.


Action: In principle AACAI support was agreed for participation in the workshop. Volunteers are L P and J T. A third member/representative is required and an email will be sent out. F H to follow this up.

c) JAACAI: Report from C B. 


– Reminded members about JAACAI.

– Aim to publish and encourage people to submit articles.

– Membership asked to spread the word and take this request back to their chapters and promote.

– Discussion concerning a print version of the journal but view is that this would not be cost effective.

– Need to improve website and this will be a focus in 2017.

– Online opportunities to publish in full colour, instantaneous publication, cutting edge technology etc.

– F H suggested more advertising of the journal through email, OzArch etc.

– A single volume will come out in January and be publicly available after 6 months. Single article available to member during year. There was discussion over the timing and access to articles and public access.

– 5 yearly review process.

Motion from the floor that JAACAI articles be immediately available to the public.

Moved: H W

Seconded: J M

Motion carried (one against). 

Benefits –ACCAI members would be moved to front of queue.

M M suggested JACCAI publish comments on proposed legislative changes and important information as a mouthpiece for the organisation.

d) Membership Issues 

– A G said that SA Chapter had people willing to be State Chapter officers but on hold because of membership application.


e) Code of Ethics 

Chair referred to point 16 regarding preference of employment, and made point that large employers often employ non-members. Remind/call to members to please support the association and look to prioritise employment of AACAI members.

f) Election of new Treasurer 

– Call for nominations from floor

– No nominations


Action: Email call for nominations (D N and L W). Constitution allows for co-opting by NEC.

g) Other business 

-A G advised of Trailblazer website on Latia Haglund.

Meeting closed by Chair at 5.30pm

Handwritten minutes forward to NEC Secretary S M




AGM Reports from the State Chapters


NSW State Chapter

Click here to read the minutes from this meeting:

WA State Chapter

Click here to read the minutes from this meeting:

VIC State Chapter

Click here to read the minutes from this meeting:

SA State Chapter

Click here to read the minutes from this meeting:

If any of these links are not active for you, please cut and paste them to your browser.





Archaeological News from around the World


Oldest stone buildings found in Australia and they pre-date some of Europe

Archaeologists working on the Dampier Archipelago, just off the West Australian coast, have found evidence of stone houses dated to shortly after the last ice age, between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago – making them the oldest houses in Australia.

Read more here:

Don’t leave your sofa to discover new archaeology

Get your Akubra  andlwhip, because a new online platform called GlobalXplorer allows anyone to become a modern-day Indiana Jones.

Developed by Sarah Parcak, an archaeologist and winner of the 2016 TED Prize, GlobalXplorer relies on satellite imagery to give users a bird’s-eye look at various terrain in Peru, which they can search for new archaeological sites.


Read more here:



AACAI Student Fund recipients for 2016


The AACAI Student Support Fund provides financial assistance to Honours and Masters students working on research projects with relevance to consulting archaeology.  In 2016, along with seed funding from AACAI, the Fund was supported by Artefact Heritage Services, Comber Consultants, North Qld Cultural Heritage, Ochre Imprints, Thomson Cultural Heritage Management, Virtus Heritage and Wallis Heritage Consulting.  Below are summaries of two of the 2016 projects, undertaken by Karen Horn at the University of Western Australia, and Lara Tooby at the University of Sydney.  Karen and Lara’s results will also be published in the AACAI Journal.



Karen R Horn

Archaeological Paints: Detection of organic binders in ochre based paint by VNIR-SWIR Reflectance Spectroscopy (Wajarri Yamaji Country, Weld Range, WA).


Karen R Horn Archaeology, University of Western Australia,

This study tested the idea of reverse engineering archaeological paints, so that in the future, when a reference collection has been suitably aged, VNIR-SWIR (visible and near infrared and short wave infrared) spectroscopy might detect organic materials in rock art. VNIR-SWIR spectroscopy is a reflectance technology that is now portable. This technique is non invasive and non destructive and has been widely used in industry. Geology uses it to analyse minerals (Ramanaidou et al. 2008) and in the art conservation field, it has detected organic binders in Renaissance art (Dooley et al. 2013; Ricciardi et al. 2012), yet archaeology has made very little, if any use of it. The challenge may be that organic materials deteriorate and without a reference collection for Australian rock art, identifying the remnants becomes an impossible task. Scientific methodology and archaeological theory work together in this study, to develop a relevant and predictive reference collection of VNIR-SWIR spectra and features of replica paints for use in analysing rock art with reference to the Weld Range, but with universal elements can be adapted to other study areas.

Binders give lasting properties to paints and are indicative through survival of rock paintings since paints made with non-binders such as water do not last (Clarke 1976:140; Rudner 1983:18,20). The binders known traditionally in historic art were investigated for features of their functional groupings after being mixed with laboratory grade pigments. This enabled a baseline collection of replica paints to be developed. To this was added Weld Range specific organic materials. Figures 1 and 2 show the similarities between chicken fat and emu oil lipids. Chaîne opératoire methodology following the process from selection of raw materials, through mixing to painting onto a substrate highlighted technological properties of organics when mixed with hematite, goethite and kaolinite pigments in the replica paints. These are properties that would have affected the choices of the rock artists.

Figure 1 Hematite mixed with chicken fat showing lipid identification from 1000 nm to 2500 nm. Figure 2 Hematite mixed with emu oil showing lipid identification from 1000 nm to 2500 nm.


 Figure 3 Light box.

The Weld Range is an excellent study area with its two known and well investigated hematite mines. The mines are culturally bound through memory to a myth that connects their creation to the death of a red kangaroo whose blood seeped into the earth. Hematite or red ochre dominate the rock art in the Weld Range. As a potential signifier of ritual, kangaroo blood as a binder was selected as one of the organic materials used in the replica paints. As well as enabling cultural relevance in the selection of the organic materials, there is a property of ferric minerals in VNIR-SWIR spectroscopy that is useful. The ferric pigment is opaque on one end of the wavelength where it can be identified because the grains ‘shield’ other particles from being detected (Cloutis et al. 2016:35). However, on the upper end of the wavelength, the property enables increasing transparency allowing the detection of other compounds (Cloutis et al. 2016:34): ideal for ferric paints mixed with organic binders. By following the methodology from art conservation and grouping the features functionally for each organic material, the spectral images could be understood and more easily mapped. However, fresh paints are not archaeological paints. The third experiment forced changes in the replica paints through accelerated light weathering which could be controlled. This was done in the full knowledge that there are many other ways for organics to deteriorate, but not many ways that the process has been proven or can be controlled (Feller 1977, 1994; Korenberg 2008).

Relative to rock art, this period of deterioration is tiny, but features and spectra changed, some more than others. Egg yolk over this period changed very little. Sandalwood oil changed a great deal. This study showed that organic materials in rock art deteriorated differently, and that spectral databases of aged paints need to be developed before archaeology can take advantage of a technique that art conservation has found useful, although not straightforward. To 100 years, the substrate could not be detected through the paints. This might have implications for differentiating taphonomic processes from the organic materials in the rock paintings. For now, VNIR-SWIR should be able to detect that there may be an organic material in ferric and kaolinite painted rock art, but identification will be difficult until a relevant aged reference collection of spectral profiles is developed.


Reference List

Clarke, J. 1976 Two Aboriginal rock art pigments from Western Australia: Their properties, use, and durability. Studies in Conservation 21.

Cloutis, E., A. MacKay, L. Norman and D. Goltz 2016 Identification of historic artists’ pigments using spectral refelctance and X-Ray diffraction propoerties I. Iron Oxide and oxy-hydroxide-rich pigments. Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy 24:27-45.

Dooley, K.A., S. Lomax, J.G. Zeibel, C. Miliani, P. Ricciardi, A. Hoenigswald, M. Loew and J.K. Delaney 2013 Mapping of egg yolk and animal skin glue paint binders in Early Renaissance paintings using near infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy. Analyst 138:4838-4848.

Feller, R.L. 1977 Stages in the deterioration of organic materials. In J.C. Williams (ed.), Preservation of Paper and Textiles of Historic and Artistic Value., pp.314-335. Advances in Chemistry Series. American Chemical Society.

Feller, R.L. 1994 Accelerated aging, photochemical and thermal aspects. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute.

Korenberg, C. 2008 The photo-ageing behaviour of selected watercolour paints under anoxic conditions, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, British Museum.

Ramanaidou, E., D. Lau, A. Hacket, M. Caccetta, S. Furman, M.A. Wells and B. McDonald 2008 Reflectance spectroscopy monitoring of the petroglypgs of the Burrup Peninsula, Western Australia. Ninth International Congress for Applied Mineralogy, Brisbane, QLD, 8-10 September 2008.

Ricciardi, P., J.K. Delaney, M. Fancini, J.G. Zeibel, M. Picollo, S. Lomax and M. Loew 2012 Near infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy to map paint binders in situ on illuminated manuscripts. Angewandte Chemie International 51:5607-5610.

Rudner, I. 1983 Paints of the Khoisan rock artists. Goodwin Series: New Approaches to Southern African Rock Art 4.



Lara Tooby, The University of Sydney







The current interpretation of the shell mounds of Ballina as subsistence discard neglects their substantial sociocultural significance. Since the principal work of Geoff Bailey (1975a, 1975b), few academic archaeological studies on the shell mounds of Ballina have been undertaken. Bailey analysed the shell mounds with the aim of examining the contribution of shellfish to the diet of past Indigenous Australians of the region. This was a vital component to understanding the shell mounds, but these mounds have more than just economic evidence about past human practices. The thesis in question aims to rectify gaps in the current archaeological literature by examining new evidence that has emerged since the 1970s through consultancy excavations, as well as some historic evidence from the 1890s to 1930s of burials within the shell mounds which have remained largely ignored thus far. Most of this new evidence has received minimal interpretation due to the assigned parameters of consultancy report generation, and therefore new information was re-organised into a cohesive narrative of the changing cultural landscape of the Ballina region from the Late Holocene to the colonial period. By reconstructing a history of Ballina, focusing on the once-large shell mounds that bordered North Creek, this research project looked at the relationship between the mounds and Aboriginal society.



Landscape approach is the overriding method of the thesis. It is a holistic, context-based approach to archaeology in a location, concerned with both tangible -and (often) intangible- aspects of the human past. This usually involves looking at landscape in terms of long-term climatic and geomorphological processes on the region, micro-scale interactions as shown in the archaeological and ethnohistorical record, and the relationship between these two time frames. Such information is drawn from Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) archaeological site and report register, climatic/geomorphological/environmental information, ethnohistorical information and regional academic reports. This has resulted in a database of 161 sites in the study region, which were mapped using Photoshop.



Shell mounds had agency in they were continuously revisited for over one and a half millennia. Furthermore, this importance transformed through time. By reassessing Bailey’s (1975a, 1975b), earlier age determinants, it appears that the shell mounds grew at an increased rate through time, synchronising with their development as features in the landscape. As the mounds surpassed a height of 2m, it appears their presence in the landscape created return point for groups of people.


Although it appears the shell mounds emerged similarly to other shell middens in the region, their continued resistance to the forces of weathering and the continuous attention by Indigenous people appears to have increased the amount of shell harvesting and deposition in the mounded areas. The estuarine environment may have become more important in the subsistence patterns of the Indigenous Australians, due to their stability to environmental changes. Nevertheless, this increase in exploitation would need to be carefully controlled to avoid overexploitation of the constantly available molluscs. An outcome of the growing mounds would have undeniably been the creation of tangible link to ancestors of the past. This idea is solidified by the accounts of burials within the mounds that – as far as the scant evidence allows – all generally appear to be located in the upper regions of the shell mounds. Historic reports of people ‘avoiding’ such burial grounds also give an indication of their late role as a mortuary place during the destructive period of European contact.



Understanding social implications of shell deposits is important, as it humanizes material remains and highlights cultural significance. The archaeological significance of the shell mounds needs to be revised to take into account the often-neglected significance of late 19th century and early 20th century reports of burials within the mounds.





Bailey, GN 1975a, ‘The role of shell middens in prehistoric economies’, PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Bailey, GN 1975b, ‘The role of molluscs in coastal economies: the results of midden analysis in Australia’, Journal Of Archaeological Science, vol. 2, no. 1,

  1. 45-62.