The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria is a group that promotes the study of archaeology, anthropology, ethno-archaeology and ethno-history in both Australia and further abroad. Lectures, from a range of talented presenters, are held every third Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the The Kathleen Syme Library & Community Centre – 251 Faraday St, Carlton.
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Next Lecture: **presented via Zoom – Members Only**

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Thursday 29th of October, 2020, @ 5pm

A multi-scalar approach to marine survey and underwater archaeological site prospection in Murujuga, Western Australia

Presented by Dr Jonathan Benjamin
Associate Professor, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University

During the past 20,000 years approximately one-quarter of the continental landmass of Australia was inundated by postglacial sea-level rise, submerging archaeological evidence for use of these landscapes. Underwater archaeological sites can offer substantial insights into past lifeways and adaptations to rapidly changing environments, however the vast scale of inundation presents a range of challenges in discovering such sites. Here we present a suite of methods as a model methodology for locating sites in submerged landscapes. Priority areas for survey were based on palaeoenvironmental contexts determined from the onshore archaeological record. Remote sensing was used to identify seabed composition and indicators of palaeolandscapes where high potential for human occupation and site preservation could be identified in Murujuga (or the Dampier Archipelago), northwestern Australia. Target locations were surveyed by scientific divers to test for the presence of archaeological material. Application of this methodology resulted in the discovery of the first two confirmed sub-tidal ancient Aboriginal archaeological sites on Australia’s continental shelf. Survey methods are discussed for their combined value to identify different classes of landscapes and archaeological features to support future underwater site prospection.

Dr Jonathan Benjamin FSA is a specialist in the archaeology of submerged landscapes, Pleistocene-Holocene transitions and applied methods in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology. Dr Benjamin’s research interests include past human transitions and cultural migrations, the inundation of coastal sites and resulting impacts on past societies, 3D site recording and the advancement of method in maritime and underwater archaeology. Jonathan has undertaken various aspects of terrestrial, aerial and underwater archaeological research across a wide temporal spectrum from prehistoric, classical and historical periods in Britain, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Israel, Denmark, as well as pre and post-contact sites in North America and Australia. He is an expert in diver-based photographic and photogrammetric recording of underwater archaeological sites. As a member of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action ‘SPLASHCOS’ (2009 – 2013) Jonathan was an Early Stage Researcher and was lead editor of Submerged Prehistory (2011). Before joining Flinders Jonathan was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh (History, Classics and Archaeology) and worked for Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine, based in Scotland. Jonathan joined Flinders University in 2014 and served as Co-Chair of the UNESCO UNITWIN Network for Underwater Archaeology from 2015 – 2018. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London), and is the Lead CI for the Deep History of Sea Country: Climate, Sea Level and Culture (ARC DP1700100812).


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