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 in the Discovery Centre, Melbourne Museum

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Next Lecture: Thursday 18th August 2016:

Palaeodemographic studies at the hominin-bearing palaeocave site of Drimolen, South Africa. 

Presented by Angeline Leece

Palaeodemographic studies play an important role in the interpretation of extinct hominin species.

All demographic studies are based on the concept of life-histories. Inspection of life-history characteristics provides information about the chronology and synchrony of growth, maturation, and aging milestones (i.e. age at weaning, age at first reproduction, interbirth interval, etc.).

Examining these landmarks can help broaden our understanding of the behaviour of extinct taxa. A palaeodemographic interpretation of both the Paranthropus robustus and early Homo populations within the Drimolen assemblage was established and used to hypothesis as to the accumulation processes of the material. It was found that the Drimolen P. robustus demographic profile most closely resembled that of a carnivore accumulation while the Drimolen early Homo demographic profile most closely resembled that of a natural mortality accumulation.

Angeline Leece completed her Bachelors of Anthropology Honours under the guidance of leading hominin researcher Professor David Strait. After having investigated the phylogeny of Australopithecus sediba at New York’s SUNY Albany, Angeline moved to Australia to undertake her Masters research into Paranthropus robustus at La Trobe University. Angeline has worked at a number of early hominin sites in the South African UNESCO Cradle of Humankind and was lead author for the announcement and description of the first hominin remains from the site of Haasgat. Angeline’s PhD research will focus on the adaptive, biomechanical, and phylogenetic implications of early hominin dentition.


The Archaeology of Danish Plantation Agriculture and Historical Heritage at Dodowa, Ghana. 

David Akwasi Mensah Abrampah
Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

The closing stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade impelled the escalation of large-scale cash crop agriculture on the Gold Coast/Ghana, as an alternative to the overseas slave trade. This subsequently led to a surge in the local slave trade in the late 18th century. Historical and archaeological researches have shown that between 1788 and 1850 the Danes established a number of plantations along the estuary of the Volta River and in the foothills of the Akuapem Mountains in the south-eastern Gold Coast/Ghana, and used the labour of enslaved Africans to cultivate them. This was an attempt by the Danes to put an end to slave trafficking across the Atlantic Ocean. The project seeks to explore and harness historical and archaeological heritage resources in the area in order to investigate one of the earliest Danish plantations known as Frederikssted, established in 1794 in Ghana. The project encompasses survey, excavations and compilation of oral traditions about the Frederikssted plantation settlement site as inhabited by plantation owners and enslaved fieldworkers. This research is a significant sequel to earlier archaeological works such as Bredwa-Mensah (2002) on Frederiksgave plantation and Decorse (1993) on Daccubie plantation, all located at the foothills of the Akuapem Mountains in Ghana.

David is a Ghanaian born international postgraduate student studying at La Trobe University since 2014. His research interests include linguistic anthropology, the archaeology of salt mining/trading and culture contact in the Gold Coast/Ghana. He is currently studying Danish plantation systems in Dodowa, in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.


Post Office Boxes

We advise all members that AASV now has two mailing addresses.
Membership address : PO Box 887, Benalla Vic 3672.

General Correspondence Address PO Box 203, Carlton Vic 3053.