Mary-Jean is the Principal Archaeologist and Director of Virtus Heritage, a company that delivers expertise in historical, contact and Indigenous archaeology and cultural heritage management, ethno-history, archival research, ground-penetrating radar, cultural landscape mapping, interpretation and Aboriginal community consultation. Mary-Jean directs a team of archaeologists and specialists in ground-penetrating radar within Brisbane, Northern New South Wales, Gold Coast and Newcastle.
Mary-Jean has over 20 years professional cultural heritage and archaeological consulting experience (of which 8 years are directing Virtus Heritage) providing expertise to clients in commercial, government and private sectors as well as community projects and research grants. Mary-Jean has directed Aboriginal cultural heritage and historical heritage assessments and investigations for Major Projects and State Significant projects for infrastructure and mining projects. Mary-Jean has directed numerous sub-surface archaeological testing and salvage investigations, led Aboriginal community consultation and community research projects, provided expert and peer review of consultancy reports and academic papers, directed major archaeological surveys in remote and urban landscapes and delivered heritage management plans, interpretation strategies and conservation management plans for many clients. Mary-Jean’s professional experience includes Department of Defence and Office of Australian War Graves. Mary-Jean has professional experience on projects across New South Wales, Queensland, including Cape York, Central Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and Canberra and overseas in London and Papua New Guinea.
Mary-Jean’s has a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Queensland and a B. Arts Honours in Archaeology (Prehistoric and Historical) from the University of Sydney. Mary-Jean’s PhD research was undertaken with funding from an Australian Postgraduate Award and also from numerous research grants successfully won from AIATSIS, Australian Geographic, Berndt Foundation and within the University of Queensland. Mary-Jean is an accredited historian.
Mary-Jean has worked in research and teaching positions at the University of Queensland and with research projects at the University of Sydney. Mary-Jean continues to undertake training and cultural exchange workshops focussing on archaeology, heritage legislation and cultural heritage management to Aboriginal community members, government agencies, Councils and private sector.
Mary-Jean’s research interests are contact archaeology and community heritage, focusing on missions and places of ‘dark heritage’ or traumatic history.