Past Lectures

16 May 2024.

Encountering ancient lives by visualising the structures and decoration of death: Photogrammetry in the tombs of Dra Abu el-Naga

Presented by Dr Christopher Davey
Executive Director, Australian Institute of Archaeology

The Macquarie University Theban Tombs Project has worked for thirty years in the Theban Necropolis. Christopher Davey has been a member of the team for ten years. The seminar will consider the origins of tomb decoration recording in Egypt and the reasons for doing such work. After introducing the Theban Tomb Project at Dra Abu el-Naga, the recent season that involved the application of photogrammetry to record and visualise two tombs will be described, and the results discussed.

Dr Christopher Davey is a Mining Engineer and Archaeologist. He has been a member of AASV since 1978. He is Executive Director and Public Officer of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, an Honorary Fellow of The University of Melbourne and a Trustee of the Cyprus American Archaeology Research Institute. He digs at Kourion, Cyprus, with a team from Lipscomb University and at Dra Abu el-Naga Necropolis, Luxor, Egypt, with Macquarie University where he has responsibilities including GIS, architecture and object imaging. He edits Buried History, the Journal of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, and publishes research on the archaeology of metallurgy, mining and ancient seafaring, and the history of archaeology (see

21 April 2024.

Change and continuity among nomads of eastern Tibet

Presented by Dr Gillian G. Tan
Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Deakin university

This talk focuses on how Tibetan nomads from the historical region of Kham have engaged with changes that have occurred—and are continually occurring—in their lives, culture, and society. It draws from both the speaker’s decade-long ethnographic experience living with Tibetan nomads and the wide range of scholarly material on Tibet. It aims to make more complex the often-simplified portrayals of Tibetan culture and society while offering a different perspective on human-environment interactions on the Tibetan plateau.

Gillian G. Tan is an anthropologist based at Deakin University. Her research interests include contemporary social and environmental changes on the Tibetan plateau; human-nonhuman relationships for Tibetan nomads; and theoretical and practical intersections between ecology and religiosity. She is currently part of an ARC Discovery Project on a multidisciplinary investigation of the Brahmaputra and Yangzi rivers that will produce a deep environmental history of waterways in the Asian Highlands amidst planetary climate change.

Relevant publications:
2022. Human-nonhuman relations in the making of place in Kham. In Wouters, J. & M. Heneise (eds). Routledge Handbook of Highland Asia. Routledge.

2020. Smoky relations: beyond a dichotomy of substance on the Tibetan plateau. In Schorch, P., M. Saxer, and M. Elders (eds). Exploring Materiality and Connectivity in Anthropology and Beyond. London: University College London Press.

2018. Pastures of Change: Contemporary Adaptations and Transformations among Nomadic Pastoralists of Eastern Tibet. Geneva: Springer Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation.

2016. In the Circle of White Stones: Moving through Seasons with Nomads of Eastern Tibet. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

21st of March, 2024

Concepts of place, World Heritage values and archaeology in the Pacific Islands

Presented by Dr Anita Smith
Adjunct Associate Professor of Heritage and Archaeology, La Trobe University

For Pacific Island communities, ‘place’ – the land, the people, the ancestors and the ocean – is a single all-encompassing entity that is integral to, and inseparable from the past, present and future. ‘Place’ is at once a highly fluid concept and yet fixed by sets of relationships and obligations transmitted through language, genealogy and story, and expressed in concepts of kastom or ples in Melanesia; vanua in Fiji; the Polynesian concept of fenua or whenua; tabinaw in Micronesia. This intangible cultural heritage structures access to resources, social interactions, customary decision making and connections to communities elsewhere, sometimes over vast distances. These highly complex knowledge systems are reflected in a tangible form in landscapes and seascapes.

In this presentation I discuss the experience of working with local communities to develop World Heritage nominations for two Pacific sites – Taputapuatea Marae in French Polynesia and the ‘Stone Money’ of Yap Island in Micronesia. The monumental stone structures at both these sites has long been the focus of archaeological investigation. This archaeological research provided the initial arguments for the World Heritage values of the sites and the impetus for development of the nominations. The process of working with local communities to determine a culturally appropriate extent for the nominated site has included the recording of detailed contemporary community knowledge of the places and their traditional or customary significance. As a result of this process, the significance of the stone structures of Taputapuatea and Yap has been reconsidered within the wider cultural landscape, enriching and localising the World Heritage values by interpreting archaeological evidence as an expression of the customary relationships that pattern the landscape. The nominations respect and give voice to Pacific communities and their values on the World Heritage List.

Dr Smith is an archaeologist specialising in cultural heritage management. She is advisor to the Pacific World Heritage program and was a member of the Australian delegation to the World Heritage Committee (2008 – 2012 and 2018 – 2022). In partnership with First Nations communities, Anita has provided research and capacity building to support the WH nominations for Budj Bim, Australia; Taputapuatea, French Polynesia; Levuka, Fiji and Nan Madol, Micronesia. She is currently working with communities in Micronesia and the Cook Islands.

16th November, 2023

Archaeology at the Frontiers: Recent Investigations at Rabati, Southern Caucasus

Presented by Assoc. Prof. Andrew Jamieson
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne

This talk will discuss recent archaeological investigations at the ancient frontier fortress of Rabati, in southwest Georgia, a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the Georgian National Museum. Key discoveries at the settlement of Rabati – stratigraphy, architecture, ceramics – with reference to its regional setting in the Southern Caucasus will be presented, includinghighlights from the 2023 season.


Borderline: Life in the medieval mountains of southwest Georgia

Presented by Cassandra Kiely
PhD Candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne

Located in the borderlands of southwestern Georgia, the fortified site Rabati is a very rare example of a settlement that has been occupied continuously for thousands of years. In this presentation we will give agency to the residents of the medieval period. Firstly, we will discuss key objects (pottery, textiles, tools), discovered during excavations by the University of Melbourne. These objects illuminate how Rabati’s inhabitants survived in the harsh natural environment and in the face of near-constant threats from both local rivals and great empires. We then expand the discussion to take in the site’s surroundings, where an extensive archaeological survey has helped clarify how borders were established and maintained through a network of modified caves, rock-cut shelters and ancient ‘Cyclopean’ walls. A picture of daily life emerges, opening a window onto the world of the resilient people of medieval Rabati.


A darker version of home: Surviving the turbulent Middle Ages in the highlands of southwestern Georgia

Presented by Abby Robinson
PhD Candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne


Andrew Jamieson is Associate Professor in Near Eastern Archaeology in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. For more than three decades, he has participated in archaeological fieldwork, in Egypt, Georgia, Lebanon, Syria, and Australia. He has been especially active in preservation and salvage projects. In 2017, Andrew became the director of the Georgian-Australian Investigations in Archaeology (GAIA) project. He is also an award-winning teacher, whose work in the sphere of object-based learning has been highly influential, both in Australia and internationally. He is very active in the field of community engagement, promoting the ancient world within the wider community and fostering interest in university activities. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and in 2023 was the recipient of the Faculty of Arts Alumni Award for his contribution to the faculty and university.

Cassandra Kiely is an archaeologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne. She is currently excavating at the multiperiod fortress complex, Rabati, in Georgia, and previously worked in Italy and Australia. Her current research is concerned with the entanglement of objects and with interdisciplinary approaches to archaeology, integrating art history and philosophy. She is a graduate research teaching fellow.

Abby Robinson
 is a doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne, who has taken part in archaeological fieldwork in Georgia and Turkey for more than a decade. Her PhD thesis is based on extensive field surveys in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of southwest Georgia, with a focus on matters of border formation and maintenance. As well as studying material culture, she incorporates both ancient texts and GIS spatial analysis into her work.

19th October, 2023

Desert People: New approaches to the settlement and dynamics of Australian Deserts

Presented by Professor Peter Veth 
School of Social Sciences, University of Western Australia

In this talk Peter Veth will profile a new model for the settlement of the Australian arid zone and outline the research aims, collaborators and geographies of his ARC Laureate Project. He will discuss sites and Aboriginal corporations from the Ningaloo coast, through the Pilbara and into the Western Desert”

Peter is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, Forensics and Anthropology at UWA. He has worked in the deserts of north-west Australia for 40 years, including the Dampier Archipelago, Barrow and Montebello Islands. He lives in Fremantle with partner archaeologist Jo McDonald.

21st of September, 2023.

Borderline: Life in the medieval mountains of southwest Georgia

Presented by Cassandra Kiely & Abby Robinson 
PhD Candidates, University of Melbourne

Located in the borderlands of southwestern Georgia, the fortified site Rabati is a very rare example of a settlement that has been occupied continuously for thousands of years. In this presentation we will give agency to the residents of the medieval period. Firstly, we will discuss key objects (pottery, textiles, tools), discovered during excavations by the University of Melbourne. These objects illuminate how Rabati’s inhabitants survived in the harsh natural environment and in the face of near-constant threats from both local rivals and great empires. We then expand the discussion to take in the site’s surroundings, where an extensive archaeological survey has helped clarify how borders were established and maintained through a network of modified caves, rock-cut shelters and ancient ‘Cyclopean’ walls. A picture of daily life emerges, opening a window onto the world of the resilient people of medieval Rabati.

Cassandra Kiely
is an archaeologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne. She is currently excavating at the multiperiod fortress complex, Rabati, in Georgia, and previously worked in Italy and Australia. Her current research is concerned with the entanglement of objects and with interdisciplinary approaches to archaeology, integrating art history and philosophy. She is a graduate research teaching fellow.
Abby Robinson is a doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne, who has taken part in archaeological fieldwork in Georgia and Turkey for more than a decade. Her PhD thesis is based on extensive field surveys in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of southwest Georgia, with a focus on matters of border formation and maintenance. As well as studying material culture, she incorporates both ancient texts and GIS spatial analysis into her work.

17th of August, 2023

Unearthing Patterns: An exploration of 19th Century global trade through ceramic shop stock in Melbourne

Presented by Natalie Paynter

PhD Candidate, LaTrobe University

During the 19th Century, ships carrying cargo with crates and boxes of ceramics landed at Port Philip Bay for consumption in colonial Melbourne. The supply of imported ceramics, direct from manufacturers or merchants, provided familiar goods attempting to meet the demands of the developing city.  An examination of the archaeological signature of ceramic retailers at Swanston Street, Melbourne evaluates imported wares during the 1860s to mid 1870s. The analysis of this commercial assemblage provides a unique opportunity to trace patterns of global trade links from Britain and Europe to curated shop stock in Melbourne.

Natalie is an archaeologist and material culture analyst. She has worked in the public and private sectors across Victoria, remote sites in Western Australia and Queensland and has contributed to projects in Laos PDR.


Origins of Water Powered Flour Mills in Victoria

Presented by Gary Vines
Historical Archaeologist, Biosis; and PhD Candidate, LaTrobe University

360 flour mills have existed in Victoria at one time or another, 32 of these were water powered. Almost all the flour millers were British, and they nearly all established their flour mills within a few months or years of arriving in Victoria. The milling technology they introduced depended on what they already knew in Britain as there was no existing technology, industry or skill set in the colony. Some employed the most up-to-date steam powered technology that the British Industrial Revolution was able to provide. But others used simple, water-powered, timber-geared mills, that were little changed from the Middle Ages. These extremes of technological sophistication or simplicity continued to operate side by side from the very first mills built in the early 1840s until the last water wheel stopped turning in the 1950s. Why then, were these disparate technologies introduced to Victoria at the same time and why did an obsolete technology survive for so long? 

Gary is an archaeologist, historian and heritage consultant who has worked in museum, communitiy heritage organisation, commercial and government roles for about 35 years and is currently undertaking  archaeological research for a PhD at the Archaeology Department, La Trobe university.

20th of July, 2023

Traumascapes of Ancient Greece: Exploring Trauma and Resonant Spaces in the Ancient World

Presented by Benjamin Crawley

Masters Student, Monash University

In this presentation, I delve into the historical study of trauma in the ancient world, examining previous efforts to identify and diagnose specific instances of trauma, as well as the persistent challenges encountered by scholars in this area. To address these challenges, I propose a fresh perspective by introducing the concept of “traumascapes,” a term coined by Maria Tumarkin, to the ancient world. These Traumascapes refer to physical spaces that become imbued with profound emotional resonance for a specific community following a traumatic event. Using the case studies of the 405/4 BCE siege of Athens and the eighth century BCE destruction of Messenia, I explore the emergence and functioning of these traumascapes in Ancient Greece. By adopting this perspective, I aim to demonstrate the historical value of examining trauma within ancient societies from the vantage point of traumascapes, shedding light on the enduring impact of trauma and enriching our understanding of the past.


I am currently undertaking a Master of Arts at Monash University, specializing in history. I have very recently completed a thesis in which I explored the far-reaching consequences of ancient Greek siege warfare for the environment, the economy, and the mindset of ancient Greek individuals. My academic interests lie in the fields of memory and social history, with a specific emphasis on the intersection of warfare and its societal implications.


Object and Text – the non-elite production of written culture in urban Amarna

Presented by Erin Casey

Masters Student, Monash University

This research focuses on the urban experience of text, focusing on the non-elite production of text-objects (i.e. objects with text on them). It uses the residential settlement of Amarna, a New Kingdom site in Pharaonic Egypt (c. 1347 – 1332 BCE) to study the daily lives of the non-elite and their experience of written culture. This study is situated in the recent turn in broader research which seeks to connect the material culture and writing, which had previously been treated as separate fields of interest. It asks questions of: how were text-objects produced? Who was producing the object and/or text? How did the ‘everyday’ individual interact and understand these objects? How can this shed light on our current understandings of literacy and written culture in Pharaonic Egypt? Using comparative case studies of faience and metal jewellery, this research utilises a chaîne opératoire methodology, studying the step-by-step approach of the production process, focusing on the people, practices and places as it occurred in the urban landscape. More broadly, this project contributes to wider research by engaging with non- ‘traditional’ text studies which allows us to question literacy and written culture more broadly. By using objects as a dataset, it refocuses the urban experience on the lives of the people themselves and the networks that they have created. This research is a valuable study on the relationship between people, objects and text at Amarna, and can improve our understanding of the urbanism and the daily lives in Pharaonic Egypt.


Erin is a master’s student at Monash University, studying the intersection of materiality and written culture and the experience of the ‘everyday’ person in urban Amarna. Her research is particularly interested in the lives of the non-elite, material culture and embodiment.

15th of June, 2023

A reflexive tale about an anthropologist, her fields, her friends ‘inside’ (prison), and research ethics

Presented by Tamara Kohn

Professor of Anthropology, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

In this talk I will indulge in a very brief tour of a variety of ‘fields’ I’ve encountered over the past 40 years (from long-term residence in in tiny remote villages to epistolary relations with men in Supermax prisons) in order to consider how they stand against contemporary representations of what anthropological research is expected to be (from an institutional perspective). I also hope to stimulate a discussion about how and to what extent we all have responsibilities to our fellow human beings, wherever they reside, through our engagement with them and with the knowledge we are offered about their condition and potential. I’ll start the conversation by introducing you to a friend ‘inside’ who has spent decades on death row and solitary confinement in the US.


Tamara (Tammy) Kohn is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Melbourne (UCBerkeley BA, UPenn MA, Oxford DPhil). She has research interests in humanistic anthropology, death studies, communities of practice, the body and senses. Tammy has conducted fieldwork in the Scottish Hebrides, East Nepal, Japan and the US. She is a founding member of the DeathTech research team (, currently completing an ARC Linkage project on The Future Cemetery. Recent books include Sounding out Japan: a sensory ethnographic tour (2020 Routledge), and Residues of Death: disposal refigured (2019 Routledge). She is also a 4th degree blackbelt in aikido, a Japanese martial art.

For publications that relate particularly to today’s talk, please see:

2021 KOHN, T. Decay, Rot, Mould and Resistance in the US Prison System, In Hage, G (ed) Decay, Duke University Press.

2017 KOHN, T. On the Shifting Ethics and Contexts of Knowledge Production, In Gronseth, A. and L. Josephides (eds), The Ethics of Knowledge Creation, Oxford, UK.: Berghahn

2017 KOHN, T. & Shore, C. The Ethics of University Ethics Committees, In Wright, S. & Shore, C (eds) Death of the Public University?: Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy, Oxford: Berghahn Books.

2012 KOHN, T. Crafting Selves on Death Row, In Davies, D. and C. Park (eds), Emotion, Identity and Death: Mortality across Disciplines, London: Ashgate, 71-83.

2009 KOHN, T. Waiting on Death Row. In Hage, G. (ed), Waiting, Melbourne, Australia: University of Melbourne Press, 218-227.

18th of May, 2023

Wurranderra’s Symbols: An Exploration of Rockshelters and Rock Art on the Murray River, South Australia

Presented by Professor Amy Roberts

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University

This lecture will present recent research into the Aboriginal significance of rockshelters and rock art in the South Australian Riverland region. Since the inception of Australian archaeology rockshelters on the River Murray have been a focus of investigation and were instrumental in demonstrating the time-depth of the Aboriginal past to non-Indigenous Australians. This presentation will explore the intricate Aboriginal narratives about these rockshelters and provide a synthesis of rock art in the region, as well as outline the impacts of European invasion and settlement in relation to these important heritage places.


Amy is an archaeologist and anthropologist who works collaboratively with Aboriginal communities in South Australia. In In recent years she has worked on a number of broad ranging projects with the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation and with their support her talk will canvass some of the results of their field work.

Amy is the lead investigator for the ARC projects ‘Rockshelters and Rock Art in the River Murray Gorge: New Data and Syntheses’ LP200200803, ‘White People had the Gun: Interrogating the Riverland’s Colonial Frontier’ LP170100479 and a CI on ‘Ochre Archaeomicrobiology’ DP190102219 and ‘A National Facility for the 3D Imaging of the Near Surface’ LE210100037. Prior to her appointment as an academic at Flinders University she worked as an ‘expert’ for a number of native title cases – including for the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region which achieved a successful determination.

20th of April, 2023

Two legs and a tale: The Neutron and Synchrotron imaging of a Cat Mummy

Presented by Dr Christopher J. Davey,

Executive Director, Australian Institute of Archaeology

The talk will report on the recent high-resolution X-Ray scanning of a cat mummy held by the Australian Institute of Archaeology at the Imaging and Medical Beam Line, Australian Synchrotron, Clayton. It will also discuss the reasons why ancient Egyptians mummified animals.

The cat mummy was previously studied using X-ray CT scanning at Macquarie University, Neutron scanning at the DINGO Beamline, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, and Radiocarbon Dating (Raymond & Bevitt 2018; Raymond & Bevitt et al 2019). The results revealed that the cat was wrapped twice six hundred years apart in a procedure that was somewhat obscure.

The subsequent high-resolution X-Ray scans undertaken at the Synchrotron clarified the mummy’s history and revealed a hitherto unknown mummification procedure, which adds a new dimension to the understanding of animal mummification in ancient Egypt.


Dr Christopher Davey is a Mining Engineer and Archaeologist. He has been a member of AASV since 1978. He is Executive Director and Public Officer of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, an Honorary Fellow of The University of Melbourne and a Trustee of the Cyprus American Archaeology Research Institute. He digs at Kourion, Cyprus, with a team from Lipscomb University and at Dra Abu el-Naga Necropolis, Luxor, Egypt, with Macquarie University where he has responsibilities including GIS, architecture and object imaging. He edits Buried History, the Journal of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, and publishes research on the archaeology of metallurgy, mining and ancient seafaring, and the history of archaeology (see

23rd of March, 2023.

When did the archaeological record begin and who was the first toolmaker? Insights from recent research in eastern and southern Africa

Presented by Professor Andy Herries

La Trobe University

Archaeology is the study of the material culture of modern humans and our direct ancestors and close relatives (hominins). Acheulian stone tools that date to between 1.8 million years (Ma) and 200 thousand years ago (ka) have been known about since 1797. It was not until the discovery of stone tools at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania in the 1950s that an earlier period of stone tool manufacture, the Oldowan, was identified dating to about 1.8 Ma. These were initially thought to have been made by Paranthropus boisei, a specialist extinct side branch in our evolutionary tree that was found at Olduvai in association with Oldowan in 1959. However, a year later with the discovery of Homo habilis (handy man) a putative member of our own Genus, Paranthropus’ potential role as a tool maker was sidelined. Since the late 90s it has been known that the Oldowan stretched as far back as 2.6-2.5 Ma in Ethiopia. In 2023 this was significantly extended with Oldowan stone tools in Kenya now being dated to just under 3 Ma, a period of time prior to the known occurrence of our Genus, Homo. Moreover, hominin fossils from the site represent the earliest fossils of Paranthropus yet discovered and suggest again that perhaps Paranthropus, not Homo was the first maker of Oldowan tools. Not only that but that they were eating a wider range of foods than previously expected including plants and meat, including megafauna such as hippos. This talk will explore the question of whether Paranthropus was a toolmaker using examples from Nyayanga in Kenya and Drimolen and other sites in South Africa and what if any links there might be to even earlier purported tool technologies.


Professor Andy Herries is a palaeoanthropologist and geochronologist in the Archaeology program at La Trobe University. He directs The Australian Archaeomagnetism Laboratory that specialises in dating archaeological and fossil sites. Prof Herries has specialised in working out the age of early hominin fossil and archaeological sites in Africa for much of his career, providing some of the first dates for South African fossil sites and new species, such as Australopithecus sediba. He also directs excavations and field schools at ~2 Ma cave site of Drimolen and ~500-100 ka Acheulian to Middle Stone age site of Amanzi Springs in South Africa. In 2020 Prof Herries’ team published research on the oldest cranium of Homo erectus yet discovered from Drimolen and in 2021 the most complete cranium of Paranthropus robustus yet discovered. In 2023 Prof Herries was part of a team that dated the earliest evidence for Oldowan stone tool technology and Paranthropus from the site of Nyayanga in Kenya to close to 3 Ma.

21st of November, 2019.

Secrets of the City – reflections on 30 years of archaeology in Melbourne

Presented by Jeremy Smith
Principal Archaeologist, Heritage Victoria

The study of Melbourne’s archaeology began, in a blaze of publicity, in 1988 with the investigation of part of the Commonwealth Block site in the infamous ‘Little Lon’ district. This excavation demonstrated, for the first time, that conditions in Melbourne are suitable for the preservation of extensive and significant archaeological remains. In the 30 years since Little Lon, more than 200 digs have taken place in the city, and a complex picture of the 19th century urban landscape is emerging.
Melbourne is now recognised as one of the world’s most significant 19th century archaeological sites. It is a key site in the international research theme of The Archaeology of the Modern City, which looks at how cities are established, and how they change. In this talk I will discuss the growth of archaeology in Melbourne, and present some results and key finds from some of the city’s most interesting digs.

Jeremy Smith studied History and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne, and has a Masters’ degree in Archaeology. He worked for four seasons on the excavation of the Iron Age Neo-Assyrian city of Tell Ahmar in north Syria, and was employed at Heritage Victoria in 1998. He was appointed Senior Archaeologist in 2002. He is a member of the Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage Committee of the Victorian Heritage Council. He has written extensively on the subject of Melbourne’s historical archaeology and was a key contributor to the award-winning book Ned Kelly: Under the Microscope, CSIRO Publishing, 2014.

17th of October, 2019.

Investigating Ancient Proteins Using Liquid Chromatography-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry

Presented by Dr Colin Smith
Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

Stable isotope analysis is a well-established tool in archaeological and geochemical science, used to interpret palaeodietary preferences and aspects of palaeoenvironment. In archaeology this commonly involves isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen from proteins that have remarkably survived for hundreds to tens of thousands of years and such analysis has informed us about major dietary changes in the past. In my lab we have been searching for new ways to investigate stable isotope signatures in these ancient proteins and other organic materials, using Liquid Chromatography Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry. In this talk I will discuss some of the research that we have been conducting in the lab ranging from the analysis of mummified hairs to organic remains trapped in stalagmites.

Colin Smith studied Archaeological Science, Analytical Chemistry, and a PhD in Geochemistry in the UK, and has since conducted research at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid), in Uppsala and Stockholm Universities, Durham University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig). He has been an ARC Future Fellow and currently runs the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at La Trobe University, a collaborative space for staff and students to study ancient biomolecules. His most recent research has focused on the application of stable isotope analysis to ancient proteins with a particular interest in analyzing them at the amino acid level. Through his research he has made significant contributions to the field of biomolecular archaeology, ancient biomolecules and stable isotope analysis, having published in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) among other journals.

19th of September, 2019.

Between a Rock and Hard Place: Elemental Objects and the Significance of Rocky Terrain in Late Bronze Age Crete

Presented by Larissa Tittl
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Melbourne

The Bronze Age civilisation of Crete—whose people we call the ‘Minoans’—engaged in ritual activity largely focused on specific aspects of their natural environment. Crete’s landscape melds mountains with productive plains and coastal areas, within which the Minoans embedded dispersed settlements, large urban (‘palatial’) centres and ritual sites. This talk focuses on ritual activity in the caves and peak sanctuaries found on Crete’s mountains. In particular, it examines the ‘votive’ objects deposited in these ritual sites and argues that their significance relates to the intrinsic properties of their elemental origins (stone, metal, clay/earth). The mountainous landscape is itself ritually significant: it is likely that mountains were either worshipped, either as the home of specific divinities, or as entities themselves. In addition, rocky terrain features in a significant number of scenes depicting possible divine epiphanies, ecstatic ritual behaviour, ritual architecture or animals and plants closely associated with divine or sacred elements. This talk will highlight the finds from Crete’s Psychro Cave, located near the Lasithi Plain in central Crete, and what the metal double axes, swords, daggers and tools deposited there can tell us about the interactions between people, objects and landscape.

Larissa Tittl is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. Her interest in the connections between landscape, people and ritual behaviour was piqued during her time as a Project Assistant in the Indigenous Cultures Department at Museum Victoria. Larissa’s current PhD research examines the Bronze Age culture of Minoan Crete through an animistic, ecocritical and relational lens, exploring the idea that the Minoans lived in a landscape in which they were embedded with and connected to many other-than-human entities. Larissa has received two scholarships in 2019—the Jessie Webb Scholarship from Melbourne University, and the Richard Bradford McConnell Fund for Landscape Studies—to help her to finally complete her research in Crete, and submit on time!

The Development and Significance of Mortuary Iconography on Late Bronze Age Crete: An Examination of Painted Ceramic Coffins

Presented by Jacob Heywood
Ph.D. candidate, University of Melbourne

Following the decline of the Minoan palatial administrations, the latter-half of the Late Bronze Age on Crete (the ‘Late Minoan III Period’, ca. 1430—1100 BCE) was marked by a widespread re-configuration of funerary practices consistent with a broader context change in the island’s material culture. Alongside the introduction of new tomb architecture and grave-good types, key amongst these developments was the revival of the earlier Minoan custom of burial in clay coffins, or ‘larnakes’. Unlike earlier burial containers from the island, larnakes from this period were regularly adorned with painted compositions that included a variety of terrestrial, marine, cultic, and abstract motifs. Scholarly examination of larnax decoration has typically focused on the reconstruction of specific elements of Cretan eschatological belief, while other potentially important aspects of its practical and ideological role within the context of mortuary activity have received minimal attention.

This presentation provides an overview of current doctoral research on the topic of larnax iconography and discusses the relationship between larnax decoration and the broader context of mortuary innovation on Crete. Even though the adornment of burial containers was a relative novelty, many of the motifs used on larnakes during the Late Minoan III already had a long history of prior use across the Aegean in a wide variety of artistic and archaeological contexts, underlying an effort by Cretan communities to actively manipulate existing symbolic traditions in order to fulfil developing mortuary and social needs. Larnax imagery may furthermore have worked to stimulate important social memories during funerary and post-funerary rites given the central place of the burial container as a ceremonial ‘focal point’ in such circumstances. In some cases, iconographic compositions might even have recalled activities, concepts, and topographies (terrestrial, marine, symbolic) of broader significance to the deceased individuals and their communities, helping to affirm key forms of social, historical, ritual and personal knowledge around which group-based identities were constructed.

Jacob is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, studying the iconography of decorated ceramic burial containers from Minoan Crete. He completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne with Honours in Ancient World Studies and a Major in History. For the past four years Jacob has excavated and undertaken field survey on the island of Crete as a member of the Sissi Archaeological Project (investigating a large Minoan settlement and cemetery, under the auspices of the Belgian School at Athens), and has spent additional periods of time in Greece undertaking work towards his doctoral studies as a member of the British School at Athens. Along with some fieldwork experience in Victoria, he has also spent four field seasons excavating as part of the University of Melbourne team at the Philistine/Canaanite site of Tell es-Safi/Gath in Israel.

15th of August, 2019.

A new subspecies of 2 million year old human from South Africa

Presented by Angeline Leece
Ph.D. Candidate, La Trobe University

Angeline Leece is a PhD student at La Trobe University. She moved to Australia five years ago. She has been working on UNESCO world heritage sites for seven years now and has been running them for five. Angeline spends her time in South Africa exploring palaeocaves in search of fossil human ancestors and running an international field school aimed at mentoring the next generation of palaeo scientists.

Shaken apart, pieced together: the post-earthquake archaeological assemblage from Christchurch, New Zealand

Presented by Jessie Garland
Ph.D. candidate, La Trobe University

It has long been acknowledged that urban archaeology should involve “the archaeology of the city, rather than just in the city” (Praetzellis and Praetzellis 2011), but it is not often that this has been extended to encompass the archaeology of the city as a single site, in which the traditional analytical units of household, business or city block exist as a network of interconnected features and deposits that can be analysed on multiple scales.
In Christchurch, the scale of the archaeological work carried out as a result of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes has created the opportunity to apply this perspective in a New Zealand urban context. While it remains difficult to quantify the archaeological dataset collated in Christchurch since the earthquakes, current estimates suggest that approximately 2000 Māori and European archaeological sites have been recorded across the city, ranging in type from domestic households, hotels and retail establishments to cottage industries, large industry, roading and sewerage infrastructure and religious sites. This variety of sites, combined with the large assemblage of European artefacts also recovered, has provided an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the changing availability and use of material goods within the nineteenth century city, at both an individual and ‘city as site’ scale. The objects that people acquire and use, after all, say something about them: when considered collectively, what do they say about the city, or the broader British colonial landscape in which it existed?

Jessie Garland is an archaeologist and artefact analyst, with a specialised interest in the material culture of nineteenth century New Zealand. She has a BAHons and MA from the University of Otago, in Dunedin, and spent six years working with and writing about the vast quantity of archaeology discovered in Christchurch after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. She now lives in Melbourne, where she is pursuing a PhD in archaeology, exploring the ways in which the availability and use of goods in nineteenth century Christchurch contributed to the development and identity of the modern city, particularly when considered within the global archaeological landscape of the British Empire. Jessie is fascinated by the relationship people have with things and the ways that we – individually and collectively – use them to construct our own worlds and connect to the people around us.

18th of July, 2019.

Connections across Country: A spatial and temporal analysis of Wardaman rock art motifs in the Northern Territory, Australia

Presented by Madeleine A. Kelly
Ph.D. Candidate, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre and Centre of Excellence for Australia Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH)

In 1988 the “Lightning Brothers Project”, funded by the American organisation Earthwatch, began a four-year effort to record the rock art and knowledge of the Wardaman people in the Victoria River district, Northern Territory. The archive of rock art recordings and ethnographic information documented during this project will form the case study through which I aim to explore how rock art is used to socially structure and inscribe landscapes over time. I will be undertaking a spatial analysis of Wardaman rock art motifs, mapping the relationships and disconnects between Wardaman motif forms (the visual appearance of motifs) as well as exploring the relationships identified in Wardaman ethnography.

A Cautionary tale: excavation and conservation of low-fired pottery from Papua New Guinea

Presented by Holly Jones-Amin
Ph.D. candidate, Monash Indigenous studies Centre, Melbourne;
Associate Investigator/PhD candidate CABAH (Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity and Heritage);
Senior Objects and Archaeological Conservator, University of Melbourne.

In 2009-2010 Monash University (Australia) undertook a large archaeological survey and excavation program at Caution Bay, on the south coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG) revealing readily identifiable dentate stamped Lapita ceramics from 2900 years ago. Many of the ceramics from Caution Bay are friable, they crumble like a biscuit and flake like fish and without conservation, it would not be possible to analyse vessels in any detail. The conservation of individual sherds and vessels from Caution Bay contributes to a hitherto unknown area of Lapita people on the south coast of PNG and the conserved ceramics are of international academic worth, and of immeasurable cultural value to their country of origin and to local communities whose ancestors made the pottery. This presentation outlines deterioration pathways, lifting, and best-practice archaeology and conservation techniques for Caution Bay low-fired pottery.

Holly is a senior conservator at the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne, where she is team leader for the objects consultancy program and is a foundation lecturer and tutor for the Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation. Holly has over twenty years of experience and predominantly works on archaeological materials and indigenous and world cultural objects. She has worked in Australia, Italy, the Middle East, South-east Asia and Central Asia. She is an associate investigator to CABAH (Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity and Heritage), is involved in the SHIRiN initiative for the protection of archaeological sites in Syria and is an assistant coordinator for the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) working group for archaeological materials and sites working group.

20th of June, 2019.

The popes and the protection of Rome’s cultural heritage

Presented by Honorary Professor Ron Ridley, University of Melbourne

As the imperial capital of the Mediterranean world, Rome was a stunning city at the end of the classical period (c. 300). Then, with the conversion to Christianity, her monuments became less precious, but the imperial law codes still protected the fabric of the city. By the Middle Ages the municipal government on the Capitol assumed responsibility, until edged out by a renewed papal government, following the return from Avignon in 1377. From the fifteenth century popes began issuing edicts to forbid illegal and damaging ‘excavations’ (treasure-hunts) or export of art treasures. The popes were themselves, however, precisely the most powerful and destructive forces, as they sought ready-made materials for their own enormous building projects, such as new St Peter’s. And as the compulsion of collectors, especially royal and aristocratic, of classical art increased, popes faced irresistible pressure to allow exports. An attempt will be made to trace the developing papal legislation, which is the basis for all modern international law protecting the ‘cultural patrimony’ everywhere. 

Inaugural Teaching Fellow in Ancient History , University of Sydney, 1962-1964; lecturer in History, University of Melbourne, 1965, retiring in 2005 from a Personal Chair. Main teaching and research interests: the whole Ancient World, the history of archaeology in Egypt and Rome, the history of historical writing, on which I have published some twenty books (also about to appear: Akhenaten, an historian’s view (AU Cairo) and Magick City, travellers to Rome from the Middle Ages to 1900, 3 vols, Pallas Athena, London) and more than 100 articles and chapters in books.

May 23rd, 2019.

Unearthed Stories: Hidden voices from Victorian archaeology

Presented by Anne-Louis Muir
Curator, Heritage Victoria

Archaeologists working on historic sites in Australia have advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages include the fact that the sites are not necessarily very old in terms of human history, and so we don’t find grails, or lost arks, pyramids or mummies. However a big advantage we do have is the historical record. The very thing that makes our archaeology less glamorous provides us with the means to explore stories in depth – to really get to know who lived or worked on the site – both through the official record, and through the objects they left behind. This talk will explore stories from 3 Victorian archaeological sites through their artefacts and their historical records: the wreck of the Fiji, 4-6 Cohen Place, and Parliament House.

Annie Muir has been the Curator of the State historical and maritime archaeological collection at Heritage Victoria for five years. Before this she worked in various collection management and archaeological roles with Heritage Victoria and other agencies. Annie has a Masters degree in Archaeology from La Trobe University and special interests in exploring engaging ways of interpreting and displaying archaeological artefacts, as well as Bollywood dance.

March 21st, 2019.

Studying Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge: Challenges of the physical and social scientist

Presented by Dr Duane Hamacher
Senior Research Fellow, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have long developed and maintained complex knowledge systems about the Sun, Moon, and stars, which have been passed down through oral tradition over millennia. Our current understanding of this knowledge is based largely on the work of anthropologists and archaeologists. But historically, this posed a number of problematic challenges. Largely dismissed by physical scientists, and with social scientists often lacking training in astronomy, studies of Indigenous Knowledge were subject to misidentifications, conflated concepts, and incorrect conclusions that have long plagued the discipline of cultural astronomy, and resulted in feeding false information back to Indigenous communities. How can we address these issues and better train the next generation of researchers and educators? Cultural astronomer Dr Duane Hamacher will discuss these issues and highlight exciting new collaborations with community elders that are revealing a wealth of new traditional knowledge about the cosmos.
Dr Duane Hamacher is an astronomer and academic with training in archaeology and anthropology, and degrees in physics, astronomy, and Indigenous Studies. He has worked with Indigenous communities across Australia and Asia for a decade, and in 2014 was awarded an ARC DECRA Fellowship to study the astronomy of the Meriam people of Murray Island in the eastern Torres Strait.

November 15th, 2018.

Heritage in the Middle East: Responding to the Crisis

Presented by Assoc. Prof. Andrew Jamieson, University of Melbourne

Conflict in the Middle East has unleashed an unimaginable wave of human suffering as well as an unprecedented period of heritage destruction. The appalling, deliberate and calculated devastation of cultural property in Syria and Iraq by the self-proclaimed Islamic State has stirred a widespread sense of horror within the media and general public.In responding to the destruction of cultural heritage, critics have reported on the failure of the international heritage community, which has focused on three types of responses: site documentation projects; public-awareness-raising projects; and emergency training and mitigation projects. The international community have placed a premium on obtaining information about the crisis and distributing it, rather than acting to ameliorate the conditions created by the crisis in whatever small way possible. According to some commentators, we have failed as an expert community if we do not demand something more. This paper examines two responses: 1) SHIRĪN International and 2) SHIRĪN Australia. SHIRĪN International (Syrian Heritage in Danger: An International Research Initiative and Network) was created at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Basel in 2014: this presentation will provide an overview of the past activities, present projects and future plans of the SHIRĪN initiative. SHIRĪN Australia was formed shortly after SHIRĪN International and identified four primary tasks: this talk will document these actions.

Andrew Jamieson, Associate Professor in Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Melbourne, has extensive archaeological field experience and has worked at sites in Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. In the mid-1990s he was deeply involved in the UNESCO post-war salvage operations in Beirut. For ten seasons he was involved in the Australian salvage excavations at Tell Ahmar in northern Syria. Since 2005 he has curated over 20 exhibitions in the Classics and Archaeology Gallery at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. In 2014 he was invited to represent Australia on the Shirin international committee for Safeguarding and Protection of Syrian Heritage. In 2015 Andrew won the Barbara Falk Award for Teaching Excellence. He became the general editor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in 2017. His research interests include ancient Near Eastern archaeology and archaeological collection management practices.

October 18th, 2018.

A brief history of archaeology in Victoria

Presented by Gary Presland

Although it was not until 1972 that archaeological fieldwork was officially sanctioned in Victoria, much work—generally of a sporadic and localised nature—had taken place prior to that. In this lecture, Dr Gary Presland will provide a brief overview of the circumstances and purposes of these early endeavours. He will look also at a number of significant moments in the history of archaeology in Victoria.

Gary Presland’s first involvement with Aboriginal archaeology was with members of the Archaeological Society of Victoria, at the Dry Creek site in 1972. He subsequently gained an MA at the Institute of Archaeology in London.  He was a part-time Tutor in the Prehistory Division at La Trobe University, before joining the Victoria Archaeological Survey in October 1980. He is the author of five books and numerous articles, and is a regular speaker, on Aboriginal studies in Victoria.

September 20th, 2018

The Bab adh-Dhra’ proposal: Using objects to engage students with the ancient world

Presented by Gemma Lee
Ph.D. Student, University of Melbourne

Active, student-centred teaching and learning approaches, such as object-based learning (OBL), are gaining attention as an alternative form of pedagogy in tertiary education. OBL is a teaching practice proven to give rise to deeper engagement by providing multi-sensory learning experiences. For university students, OBL has the potential to provide highly immersive opportunities; however, the use and selection of the types of objects involved in curricula of Near Eastern studies has largely gone unscrutinised.

This paper will discuss doctoral research conducted to examine and evaluate OBL experiences of students studying Near Eastern archaeology at the University of Melbourne. The objects selected for this initiative focus on the Early Bronze Age pottery from the Jordanian site of Bab adh-Dhra’. The Bab adh-Dhra’ objects offer multiple levels for interpretation and consideration: ranging from issues covering the archaeology of death and mortuary practices to the looting and subsequent excavation and post-excavation management of the site’s artefact assemblage. In this presentation, preliminary findings from the study are analysed which indicate favourable student responses verifying the efficacy of OBL in teaching and learning outcomes and engaging students in Near Eastern archaeology.

Gemma is currently undertaking her PhD dissertation at the University of Melbourne, studying the use of Jordanian ceramic artefacts from Bab adh-Dhra’ in education and display. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Ancient World Studies and Anthropology. Gemma’s archaeological fieldwork experience includes excavating in Israel at Tell es-Safi/Gath, and at numerous historical sites across Victoria, Australia.

Counter-efforts to heritage-based violence: What have we learned from Iraq and Syria?

Presented by Sophie Russell
Ph.D. Student, University of Melbourne

This talk will explore the ways in which the global community has responded to the destruction of archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria since the emergence of Islamic State in 2014. In the wake of cultural genocide, programs to protect the archaeology of Syria and Iraq during armed conflict have been found wanting. This talk highlights the significance of recognising archaeological sites as non-neutral spaces that hold a multitude of meanings to a variety of stakeholders in formulating effective responses to heritage-based violence. It will also address the opportunities and limitations of emerging heritage digitization trends in the field of conflict archaeology.

Sophie Russell is a first year PhD student at the University of Melbourne in the department of Classics and Archaeology. Sophie is interested in the management of cultural heritage in post-disaster contexts, and her doctoral research builds on her 2017 Honours thesis entitled ‘Global Responses to Islamic State Cultural Heritage Destruction: Are They Succeeding’? She has recently worked in the Philippines on heritage conservation following extensive typhoon damage, and has participated in archaeological fieldwork in Peru, Greece and Australia. Sophie is also currently involved in the SHIRīN initiative for the protection of archaeological sites in Syria.

August 16th, 2018

Technology or Taphonomy? A study of the world’s oldest bone tools from Drimolen, South Africa

Presented by Rhiannon Stammers
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

The world’s oldest purported bone tool technology comes from a series of palaeocave sites in the UNESCO Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa World Heritage Area, Gauteng Province, South Africa. These purported bone tools are dated to between c.2 and 1 million years and have been suggested to be utilised to either excavate underground storage organs (Brain and Shipman, 1993) or forage for termites (Backwell and d’Errico, 2001). The identification of these bone tools is based on their gross morphology and an associated use-wear pattern (Backwell and d’Errico, 2001). However, there is disagreement as to if these fossils are in fact tools (Kuman, 2005). Through comparative analysis and utilising of the concepts of traceology, a collection of 64 specimens from DMQ and two specimens from Kromdraai B were identified as bone tools. The use-wear on the working tip of these tools most closely correlates to sediment interaction and the tools are most likely a multi-purpose implement. Bone surface modifications created by site formation processes do not appear to correlate with the use-wear pattern that is restricted to the working end of the tools. Additionally, it is argued that the bone technology is a genuine element of the South African ESA, equally associated with Mode 1 and Mode 2 stone technology and the correlation between tool user and tool is not clear.

July 19th, 2018

Shifting Human Subsistence in Late Bronze to Late Antique Greater Mtskheta, Georgia: Evidence from Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotopes

Presented by Natalie Langowski
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne

The region of Mtskheta, Georgia, lies nestled in the Caucasus mountains at the cross-roads between Europe and Western Asia. Rich archaeological evidence reflects a cultural transition from the sedentary settlements of the Late Bronze Age (1500 BC) to the urban populations of the Iberian Kingdom (~400 BC-AD 580).
This doctoral research project uses stable isotope analyses of skeletal remains to reconstruct the human diet over time, and examine the social organisation of the Iberian Kingdom. Carbon and nitrogen isotope results highlight the variable nature of Late Bronze-Early Iron Age subsistence practices, which stands well apart from the standardised animal management strategies of the Hellenistic and Roman-Late Antique periods.

Natalie is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Melbourne Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, and an AASV committee member. She completed her Master’s research project at the University of Melbourne in 2014, using stable isotopes to reconstruct human diet at Samtavro cemetery (Mtskheta, Georgia) in the 1st-6th centuries AD. This doctorial research expands on that work to examine human behaviour at multiple sites across Mtskheta, and across various time periods.


Palaeopathological survey of Late Bronze Age to Early Medieval Period populations from the Mtskheta region, Georgia

Presented by Marine Chkadua
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne

The Mtskheta region lies in central eastern Georgia (southern Caucasus), and was situated at the crossroads of important trade routes in ancient times. It provides an important site for studying human health during a period of transition from a pre-state society in the Bronze Age (15th – 6th centuries BC), to an urbanised city-state in the subsequent Antique Period (5th century BC – 4th century AD) and Early Middle Ages (4th – 6th centuries AD).
Based on doctoral research, this talk will focus on lesions on the skull known as porotic hyperostosis, which are multifactorial stress markers for anaemia. Changes in the incidence and degree of severity of the lesions provide important insights into the transition of health from pre-settled agro-pastoralists to settled urban dwellers and allow us to examine trends of mortality and survivability of populations over time.

Marine is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience. She graduated with a Medical degree from the Tbilisi National Medical University. In 2008, she began working at the Georgian National Museum managing the anthropological collections. Marine has participated in numerous archaeological and paleontological expeditions in Georgia, and joined several international archaeological and anthropological research projects. She is a recipient of the “President’s Grant for Young Scientists”, Tbilisi, Georgia.

June 21st, 2018

A Review of the Latest Evidence on Human Origins

Presented by Dr Varsha Pilbrow
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne

Our understanding of the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa has recently become complicated by new fossil discoveries within Africa and throughout the world. Early dates for modern humans in several parts of the African subcontinent, Asia, and Australia challenge our previous views on the origin and dispersal of modern humans from East Africa around 200,000 years ago. This talk will review the current evidence by bringing together the paleontological, archaeological and genetic information along with current theoretical and methodological perspectives to provide an up-to-date understanding of human evolutionary history.

Dr Pilbrow is a biological anthropologist at the University of Melbourne, with a research focus on palaeoanthropology, in particular, the dentition of fossil and living apes. She completed her PhD in Biological Anthropology from New York University, USA in 2003. After three years of postdoctoral research at George Washington University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, she joined the University of Melbourne, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience as Lecturer in Topographic Anatomy.

Her research has taken her to fossil hominid localities in Tanzania and Kenya, and museums in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Extensive data collected from these sites has allowed her to develop comprehensive models, including a three-dimensional great ape dental scoring system from the living apes to apply to fossil species questions.

May 17th, 2018

Gariwerd petroglyphs and their situation within the Gariwerd rock art sequence

Presented by R. (Ben) Gunn,
Consultant archaeologist

Recent site recording has recorded the first examples of petroglyphs within Gariwerd (Grampians National Park). At one small site there is a single pounded motif, and at another a pair of scratched and abraded figures. These images are unique in Victoria and appear to have no similarities with other rock art in south-east Australia. This presentation will introduce the sites and their rock art and discuss the situation of the petroglyphs within the Gariwerd rock art sequence.

Dr Gunn is a freelance consultant archaeologist specialising in the recording and management of Aboriginal rock art. In 2016 he was awarded his PhD at Monash University documenting and analysing the rock art of Nawarla Gabarnmang (a major site in Arnhem Land). He has recorded rock art in many areas of Australia documenting both the archaeological and ethnographic aspects of the sites with senior custodians and traditional owners.  Living near the Grampians, he has been studying Gariwerd rock art on and off for the past 28 years.

April 19th, 2018

The Gallipoli battlefields and the archaeology of Anzac

Presented by Dr Jessie Birkett-Rees
Lecturer, Centre for Ancient Culture, Monash University

This lecture presents the results of archaeological fieldwork in the Anzac battlefields at Gallipoli. The Gallipoli campaign continues to generate many historical publications but the largest document, the battlefield itself, has only very recently been investigated by archaeologists. Between 2010 and 2015, a team of archaeologists led by Professor Antonio Sagona, historians and classicists from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey surveyed the Anzac battlefields at Gallipoli; the area near Anzac Cove offers one of the best preserved WWI landscapes in the world. The battles of the First World War at Gallipoli in 1915 were immensely destructive to generations of Australians, New Zealanders, Ottoman Turks and their allies, yet the eight months of industrial conflict on the peninsula produced a unique material record. Here I unite Classical and historical sources with the newly documented archaeological record of the battlefields to present a new perspective on the landscapes of Gallipoli.

Dr Jessie Birkett-Rees is an archaeologist of the ancient Near East and a specialist in cultural landscape analyses. She researches the ways people in the past adapted to and understood their environment, and is interested in the archaeology of conflict and commemoration. As a member of the Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey of the Gallipoli battlefields, she spent five field seasons recording and investigating the material remains of the 1915 conflict within the context of the broader human history of the peninsula. She has research projects in Turkey, South Africa, Australia and Georgia, but spends most of her year in Melbourne where she is Lecturer in Archaeology at Monash University.

March 15, 2018 

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis the first artists?

Presented by Dr Margaret Bullen
Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria

Recent research into the Neanderthal genome and new dates for marks in European caves that predate the arrival of Homo sapiens sapiens give credence to the belief that some of the oldest European art may not be the work of Homo sapiens sapiens. Many questions remain unanswered; did the Neanderthals have the capacity to create art, and if so did they do so and when do marks become art? This talk will probably raise more questions than it answers.”

Margaret Bullen is a medical practitioner who also has a degree in prehistory and a 20 year interest in studying rock art from around the world.

November 16, 2017 

Investigating the role of native animals in Australian archaeology

Presented by Dr Jillian Garvey 
Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University.

Little is known about how animals were used in past Aboriginal diets, or how they were hunted, butchered and cooked. Due to this lack of information archaeologists have had to reply on international zooarchaeological studies. However, these are mainly based on placental ungulates such as sheep and reindeer, making the results difficult to apply to Australia’s unique fauna. New research on modern butchery and the nutritional value, as well as the ethnography and contemporary use of native animals is being combined to establish baseline information to help understand archaeological faunal assemblages, as well as the potential role of native animals in the modern Australian diet.  

Dr Jillian Garvey is an ARC DECRA Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University. She researches Australian Indigenous archaeology with current projects investigating human occupation and subsistence during the late Quaternary in northwest Victoria and Tasmania. With formal training in zoology and archaeology, Jillian specialises in zooarchaeology – the role of animals in the archaeological record.  

October 19, 2017

The Final Fate of the La Pérouse Expedition: Wrecked in Northern Australia?

Presented by Dr Garrick Hitchcock,
School of Culture, History and Language; Australian National University

The final fate of the French expedition led by Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse, has been a source of intrigue and fascination ever since the frigates L’Astrolabe and La Boussole sailed out of Australia’s Botany Bay on 10 March 1788, vanishing, it seemed, into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Forty years later it was discovered that both ships had been dashed on the fringing reef of Vanikoro, in the Santa Cruz Group, Solomon Islands, during a violent storm. According to Vanikoro oral history, after approximately six months the survivors departed the island in a two-masted vessel constructed from wreckage of L’Astrolabe and timber hewn from the forest. They were never seen again. This paper reports the rediscovery of a newspaper article and letter, which point to the possibility that the La Pérouse expedition ended finally in northern Australia.

Dr Garrick Hitchcock is a Melbourne-based anthropologist specialising in New Guinea and Torres Strait. He is Director, Arafura Consulting and Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of Culture, History and Language at The Australian National University. An article by Dr Hitchcock, exploring the final fate of the La Pérouse expedition, has been published in The Journal of Pacific History.

September 21, 2017 

The Cemetery 1000 Tomb Assemblages from Tell Fara South

Presented by Paula Phillips
PhD Candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne

The site of Tell Fara South in the southern Levant was excavated over two seasons (1928-1930), by Flinders Petrie on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, uncovering material in settlement and tomb contexts, dating from the Middle Bronze Age to the Roman Period. The Cemetery 1000 is one of two cemeteries at the site dated to the Middle Bronze Period (roughly 2000-1570BCE) in the Eastern Mediterranean, contemporary with the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Periods in Egypt. The topic of this talk is a brief introduction to current research into the tomb assemblages from this cemetery, aimed at verifying and ideally refining their dating, and then placing the cemetery in its correct chronological context with regard to the states of the Eastern Mediterranean at the time (Egypt, Cyprus, Crete, Anatolia, Syria, Mesopotamia and the Levant). The latter is particularly important given the period currently remains poorly understood in many places.

Paula Phillips is a second year PhD student in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, under the supervision of Dr Andrew Jamieson and Dr Louise Hitchcock. The topic of her research is a re-examination of Middle Bronze Age tomb assemblages from the Cemetery 1000 at Tell Fara South in the southern Levant, originally excavated by Sir Flinders Petrie on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Egypt from 1928-1930. Prior to the University of Melbourne, Paula completed a BA with Honours at Monash University under the supervision of Dr Colin Hope. This project looked at scarab seals and associated pottery from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period, contemporary with the Middle Bronze Period in the Levant. The focus of both projects is a better understanding of the events and interactions that characterize this crucial part of history in the Eastern Mediterranean (approximately 2000-1575BCE).

The Transmission and Innovation of Faience and Glass Technologies from Egypt and the Near East to Cyprus in the Late Bronze Age

Presented by Kellie Youngs
PhD Candidate, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne

Society in Cyprus during the Protohistoric Bronze Age (1750/1700-1100/1050 BCE) went through significant and rapid changes, many of which are imperfectly understood. Building on an agro-pastoral economic base, Cypriots extended their society into a more industrial, town-centred, way of life that was more stratified, and international in outlook (Webb, 2005). Scholars emphasise the development of the copper industry as the major contributing factor to the accelerated growth of the Cypriot economy, as it was ushered into the prominent and extensive system of international trade in the eastern Mediterranean (Knapp, 2013, p. 416). However, many interrelated questions of identity remain, particularly regarding the formation of social, political, and economic entities, as well as migration, integration, materiality, and connectivity. To illuminate these processes of change, it is my intention to survey the import, manufacture, and use of two luxury materials, glass, and faience, in Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age to provide a material context for the examination of power relations.

Archaeologist and graduate researcher at the University of Melbourne, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies.
Research interests: Technological innovation and logistics in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, the relationships between people and landscape, and the archaeology of conflict and commemoration. Methodologies include spatial analyses, and the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to model logistical links between urban environs and landscape, and address archaeological questions. Fieldwork undertaken in Australia and Cyprus.
Supervisors: Associate Professor Louise Hitchcock and Dr Andrew Jamieson
In the past year, also worked on two projects at the University of Melbourne under the guidance of Dr James Harvey Kim On Chong-Gossard:

1) Classics and Archaeology Thesis Digitisation Project
2) Classics and Archaeology Library Project (relocating the library into its new Arts West home).

Prior to graduate research:
– Monash Arts Honours in Archaeology
– Monash Bachelor Business in Manufacturing Management
– Twenty years’ experience as a Business Management Professional, working as an independent entrepreneur and in corporate management roles in the manufacturing, logistics, training, and retail sectors.

August 17, 2017 

Maritime cultural landscapes of the ‘middle ground’: The development of the Pākehā shipbuilding industry in pre-colonial New Zealand (1792-1840)

Presented by Matthew Carter
PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

Between 1792 and 1840 at least 22 sailing ships were built in 11 different shipbuilding yards around New Zealand. Located on the edge of the Tasman Frontier, these yards manufactured the largest and most complex machines of the period while also operating as hubs of entanglement between Pākehā and Māori. As part of ongoing PhD research, this presentation will combine the archaeological and historical evidence of this industry to explore the motives, strategies and products of these shipwrights providing unique insights into pre-colonial society in this formative period of New Zealand’s past.

Matt Carter is currently completing his PhD at La Trobe University under Professor Susan Lawrence investigating the archaeology of innovation and entanglement in the pre-colonial shipbuilding industry in New Zealand. Prior to this, he worked as a consultant archaeologist on diverse projects such as earthquake archaeology in Christchurch, New Zealand, mapping underwater World War II plane and ship wrecks in Darwin Harbour, and searching for submerged Mesolithic settlements (c. 10500-8500BP) off the coast of Qatar. In 2007, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology through Flinders University and graduated with an MA in Anthropology in 2011 from Otago University. In 2009, he received the Our World-Underwater Australasian Rolex Scholarship – the first New Zealander, and maritime archaeologist, to receive this prestigious award. Matt is a Vice-President of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA), the New Zealand representative on the International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH), as well as a member of the Explorers Club. Most recently, Matt was a specialist presenter on the television series ‘Coast: New Zealand’, a spin-off from the BBC-produced UK series ‘Coast’. 

Insights into Life at Lake Mungo During the Last Glacial Maximum

Presented by Elizabeth Foley
PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University

The aim of my research is to build a detailed picture of what life was like on the shores of Lake Mungo during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). During this period, lake levels fluctuated between low and high but regionally, conditions were extremely cold and arid. Highly detailed palaeoenvironmental information coupled with a high resolution, landscape record of archaeological material make the lunette of Lake Mungo an ideal place to investigate the lifeways of the people who successfully endured the LGM. The research draws on multiple strands of evidence, including analyses of stone, bone and shell tools, and faunal remains from hearths. The integration of these data sets will provide insights into aspects of people’s diet, technology and subsistence strategies.

Elizabeth (Liz) is a third-year PhD student at La Trobe University. She has been granted the privilege of working at Lake Mungo by the three Traditional Tribal Groups, the Mutthi Mutthi, Ngyiampaa and Pakaantji/Barkindji. She completed her Honours degree in Archaeology at La Trobe University in 2011, and has experience working on Aboriginal sites and artefact assemblages from NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

July 20, 2017 

Songs of Central Australia Revisited

Presented by Jay Gibson 
PhD Candidate, Monash Indigenous Centre, Monash University Melbourne, Australia

T.G.H. Strehlow’s research on song and ritual in Central Australia stands as one of the most detailed studies of its type ever made in Australia. Succumbing to terrible hubris however, Strehlow cast himself as the only worthy ‘heir’ to these traditions and remained blinkered to the possibility of their ongoing relevance to Central Australian Aboriginal people. In this paper, I describe the process of re-examining Strehlow’s recordings of song and ceremony in collaboration with contemporary Arrernte and Anmatyerr men over a number of years. Included in these discussions were men across three generations, including some of those who acted as informants to Strehlow in the 1960s, those that witnessed him at work in their communities, and younger men who have come to this material for the first time. Recasting Strehlow’s collection as a co-production, actively made with informants who responded dynamically and creatively to their unequal relationships with ethnographers, I argue for greater emphasis on the dialogical and relational properties inherent in ethnographic research. I also describe Anmatyerr people’s extensive contemporary knowledge of this material, as well as the ongoing use of song and ritual in these communities today.

Jason Gibson is an anthropologist and historian specialising in the intercultural histories and ethnography of Central Australia. He has worked with both the Strehlow Research Centre and the Melbourne Museum on the repatriation of men’s ceremonial objects as well as the return of film and audio recordings to Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Jason has also taught in Indigenous Studies at the Monash Indigenous Centre (Monash University) and coordinated a major Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project concerning the works of seminal anthropologists Baldwin Spencer and Francis Gillen with the Australian National University. He is currently engaged in another ARC concerning the nineteenth century Australian anthropologists A.W. Howitt and Lorimer Fison, as well as the publication of Strehlow’s ‘Land of Altjira’.

Breaking bones: an anthropological analysis of the skeletal trauma resulting from falls

Presented by Samantha Rowbotham
PhD Candidate, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University

Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury and death worldwide. Each fall constitutes its own distinct low-energy vertical deceleration event which often results in blunt force trauma (BFT) to the skeleton. How the BFT from a fall manifests in the skeleton however, is currently poorly researched and thus poorly understood by forensic anthropologists. Subsequently, when forensic anthropologists examine skeletal remains with BFT and they do not know the circumstances surrounding the death of that person, it remains difficult for them to interpret if a fall was or was not involved in causing that BFT. To augment this deficit, this doctoral research is investigating what, if any, are the skeletal fracture patterns and fracture morphologies that result from three of the most common types of fatal falls: low free falls (≤ 3m), high free falls (˂3m) and falls involving stairs. To investigate the skeletal trauma resulting from these three types of falls, two unique Victorian resources were used for data collection; the National Coronial Information System (NCIS) database and the post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) database at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. Skeletal trauma was analysed using the full-body PMCT scans of individuals who were known to have died from these falls. This trauma was then contextualized to the variables that are known to influence how an individual falls, as recorded in the NCIS. A number of distinct fracture patterns and fracture morphologies were found to be associated with these particular types of falls. Results of this research will assist forensic anthropologists with their interpretations of the mechanism of BFT when they are investigating the circumstances of death for human skeletal remains in medico-legal contexts. 

Samantha is a doctoral candidate in forensic anthropology with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Archaeology) with the University of Queensland in 2010 and a Master of Archaeological Science (Research) (First Class Honors) with the Australian National University in 2012. Since 2009 she has been involved with archaeological excavations, osteology research, bioarchaeology teaching projects and forensic anthropology casework in Asia, Europe, Central America and Australia.

June 15, 2017 

Early Gold rush Carlton – Recent Excavations in Swanston Street

Presented by Jodie Mitchell
Director of Alpha Archaeology Pty Ltd

Melbourne heritage consultancy Alpha Archaeology has recently completed a large archaeological excavation on the corner of Swanston and Queensberry Streets, Carlton. This is part of the highly significant historical site of the Former Carlton United Brewery complex, containing numerous terrace shops and dwellings, prior to their demolition as the CUB expanded over the decades. Uncovered were some wonderfully intact remnants of Melbourne’s early Gold rush period, when Carlton was first established in 1852, including some great unexpected finds. Jodie Mitchell, Director of Alpha Archaeology, will present the findings from the dig and our understanding of this multi-phase site so far, including some of the very interesting artefacts currently being analysed.

Jodie Mitchell is a qualified archaeologist and has been the Director of Alpha Archaeology Pty Ltd since 2004.  She has extensive archaeological experience working on many and varied projects throughout Australia. She has also worked on archaeological projects overseas in Thailand and Georgia, excavating burial sites and analysing the skeletal remains.

May 18, 2017 

Indigenous memory methods: Stonehenge and beyond

Presented by Dr Lynne Kelly
La Trobe University

Without writing, indigenous elders memorised a vast amount of factual information on which both physical and cultural survival depended; knowledge of thousands of animals and plants, astronomical charts, vast navigation networks, genealogies, geography and geology. How did they remember so much and does this explain the purpose of ancient monuments including Stonehenge, Easter  Island and the Nasca Lines? Can we use these memory methods in contemporary life?

This lecture will focus on the transmission of scientific and practical knowledge among small-scale oral cultures across the world, drawing on Australian Aboriginal, Native American, African and Pacific cultures. The lecture will explain the exact mechanisms used and why this explains the use of many enigmatic monuments around the world.

Dr Lynne Kelly is an Honorary Research Associate at LaTrobe University. Her research focusses on the way non-literate cultures memorise vast amounts of pragmatic information and the implications for archaeology and education. Her most recent books are Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies (Cambridge University Press 2015) and The Memory Code (Allen & Unwin  2016)

April 20, 2017 

Wurdi Youang: What the Stones Tell us

Presented by Heather Threadgold

Aboriginal stone arrangements in Australia are rarely found intact.  A study of fifteen stone sites show us that while many known sites reside in regional landscapes across Australia’s lands and waters, it is the sites on the peri-urban fringes of Australia’s metropolitan cities that are causing considerable angst to Aboriginal custodians, and debates by land use planners and developers as to how to accommodate such sites in sprawl. Three such sites — Wurdi Youang, Sunbury Earth Rings and Gummingurru – have common factors that allow an understanding of Indigenous culture, the positioning of the sites and three layers of landscape: ancient, indigenous Country’s, and European created and envisaged landscape.  All three sites impinge upon farmlands and are under threat by urban sprawl. Land use planning reactions to this issue have primarily involved adaptation; a process whereby Aboriginal custodians, heritage and community groups and governments work together to create a new layered landscape of meaning that incorporates culture, community, a space, and seeks to protect/preserve/conserve the site as an artefact in time. This contrasts with comprehending its cultural meaning and role, its contribution to Indigenous cultural values, and how it sits in the process of culture establishment and continuity

Heather Threadgold is an anthropologist living in Geelong.  Her research is split between cultural anthropology: Indigenous living space, stone arrangements and two distinct genres of monuments and street art culture. For the past 13 years she has been researching Wathaurong (Wadda Wurrung)Living Space in Victoria, highlighting the meanings of stone arrangements and stone monuments as tools in defining landscape, seasonal movement, burial sites and meeting places.

March 16, 2017 

Settlement dynamics in the lower Pontine Plain: the results of recent archaeological fieldwork of the Minor Centres project. 

Presented by Dr Gijs Tol 
Lecturer, School of History and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

This paper discusses the results of recent landscape archaeological fieldwork in the Pontine Plain (Lazio, Central Italy), carried out within the framework of the Minor Centres project. This former wetland, situated ca. 50 kilometres south of Rome, has generally been considered unsuitable for large-scale habitation before Mussolini’s ambitious land reclamations of the 1930’s. However, the adoption of an integrated approach, comprising field walking, geophysical prospections and coring on and around the road stations of Forum Appii and Ad Medias are starting to reveal the much deeper history of the area. The obtained results indicate a waxing and waning of human occupation strongly interlinked with changing environmental conditions. The area appears to have been of particular importance during Rome’s early expansionist phase, when it became colonized as part of a well-planned operation comprising major infrastructural- and reclamation works.

Gijs Tol is Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at the University of Melbourne. He specializes in the archaeology and material culture of Roman Central Italy and has published studies on Landscape Archaeology, the Roman economy, Roman colonization, and craft production. Currently he is the co-director of two international research projects: the Minor Centres-project that aims to investigate the role of secondary centres in the Roman economy by performing fieldwork on a number of road stations along the Via Appia, and the Marzuolo Archaeological Project that studies the Roman-period craft site of Marzuolo in southern Tuscany (Italy).

November 17, 2016 

An Integrative Bioarchaeological Approach to Studying Human Skeletal Remains from Mtskheta, Georgia at a Transformative Period of European & Asian History (1-7c AD).

Presented by Dr Varsha Pilbrow
Lecturer, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, The University of Melbourne

The first to seventh centuries was a period of major political and cultural upheaval in Europe and Asia. The fall of the Roman and Sasanian empires, the start of the Migration Period, the incursion of Eurasian steppic nomads such as the Huns into Europe and the rise of Christianity are some of the transformational events that took place during this time. The people from the Caucasian kingdom of Iberia, based in Mtskheta in Georgia, experienced these events first-hand as a result of their crossroads location between Africa, Asia and Europe. Their legacy is preserved in their skeletal remains available abundantly in several cemeteries in Mtskheta. Who were these people? How was their biology, culture and life-history affected by surrounding events? How much of this legacy is evident in present-day Georgia? My research group has been addressing these questions through a corroborative strategy that melds traditional and new morphological approaches of physical anthropology with chemical and genetic approaches. I will present the current state of our knowledge.

Dr Varsha Pilbrow is a physical anthropologist researching palaeoanthropology, with a focus on the dentition of fossil and living apes. Her research has taken her to fossil hominin localities in Tanzania and Kenya. 

October 20, 2016

There will be two presentations at the October lecture.

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

Presented by Angeline Leece
La Trobe University

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.

Paleopathologies of Egyptian mummy head investigated using non-invasive imaging techniques

Presented by Stacey Gorski

A remarkable find of ancient Egyptian mummified head in the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at the University of Melbourne has led to an on-going multidisciplinary project involving non-destructive scanning and three-dimensional printing in order to develop a biological profile and report on the pathology of the individual, which will be the focus of this talk. An artistic facial reconstruction of the individual was also undertaken by a forensic sculptor. Using cranial morphological criteria and other forensic techniques, the sex and approximate age of the individual has been determined. Several pathologies were apparent from the CT-scans, and appear to be population-specific in line with certain maladies that the ancient Egyptians were known to suffer from. The presentation will also go on to discuss future directions of the research being undertaken and what other information we hope to gain by conducting these analyses.

Stacey Gorski has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from Bond University on the Gold Coast and moved to Melbourne in 2015 to pursue a Master of Biomedical Science degree based in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne. She hopes to continue research in the fields of forensic anthropology and physical anthropology.

September 15, 2016

The prehistoric worked bone and antler assemblage at Uğurlu, Gökçeada: a local and regional perspective

Presented by Jarred Paul
University of Melbourne

Research on Greek and Roman public architecture has been characterised by a tendency to focus on individual building types, and to regard them as a series. This approach overlooks a building’s role in the overall cityscape as well as its intended effect on the observer. The identity of this observer has tended to be ill-defined in scholarship. The observer, who was either a resident or visitor to these cities, experienced public architecture as well as other objects on public display, and they

derived meaning from their placement, decoration and overall connection to the cityscape. This talk will consider the role of the ancient (and modern) observer in relation to two Hellenistic poleis in Asia Minor: a small outpost city, Lyrbe; and the “Triodos” at Ephesus. The discussion will also consider how useful it is to take the ancient observer into account when embarking on studies of ancient architecture.

Simon trained as a Classical archaeologist. His focus is on city planning, building types and their evolution, questions of social identity and the difficulties in defining ancient identity. He also engages with 3D technology and its applications to archaeology through the use of photogrammetry and 3D printing, as well as developing virtual reality environments using the Unity platform. He explores virtual reality’s practical application to excavation, archaeological reconstruction and artefact recording as well as its commercial potential.

The emergence of Greek and Roman Urbanism in Asia Minor from the 2nd century BC to the Roman Imperial period

Presented by Simon Young
University of Melbourne

The Neolithic way of life spread across Anatolia bringing with it an influx of new material and subsistence strategies. The north Aegean island-site of Uğurlu, on the periphery of northwest Anatolia, became host to a migrant community around 6500 B.C.E. that carried with them animals, objects, and tools. In this talk, the worked bone and antler assemblage at the site of Uğurlu, Gökçeada will be identified, located and interpreted through a typological and comparative analysis. The geography and history of Neolithic northwest Anatolia will be examined before an in-depth examination of the assemblage. This collection will then be compared and contrasted with other sites in the wider region to highlight common elements and local variations. Discussion will emphasise the usefulness of comparative worked bone analysis and contribute to an understanding of local and regional development in Anatolia, and the Aegean, during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic.

Jarrad is a PhD student in the Classics and Archaeology Department at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include Anatolian prehistory, craft specialisation, Aegean trade networks and bone technology.

August 18, 2016

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

Presented by 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.

July 21, 2016

Fish traps and stone houses: new insights into the age and form of Gunditjmara sites on the Budj Bim lava flow, southwest Victoria

Presented by Prof Ian McNiven
Monash Indigenous Centre, Monash University

This talk will summarise archaeological research over the past decade between Monash University and the Gunditjmara community which has yielded new insights into the antiquity of Lake Condah’s famous fish traps and the form and use of the regions’ equally famous stone house sites.

Ian McNiven is professor of Indigenous archaeology in Monash Indigenous Centre at Monash University. He has undertaken archaeological research in Queensland (mostly Torres Strait) and Victoria, and also along the south coast of Papua New Guinea.

June 16, 2016

The people behind the AASV: Valentine Leeper, Frederick Wood-Jones, William (Bill) Culican and others

Presented by Dr Margaret Bullen
Secretary of the Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria

The Anthropological Society and the Archaeological Society were each formed by people of passion but their passions were very different. The first story began soon after the First World War and the second in a country changed irrevocably by World War 2. The society formed by their coming together is now forty years old and it is an appropriate time to look back at how it all began.

Margaret Bullen has been secretary of AASV for longer than she cares to remember and a member for even longer. She is a medical doctor with a passion for rock art, the latter providing a great excuse for travel.

May 19, 2016

The Aerial Perspective: Mapping Archaeology with UAV

Presented by Dr Cliff Ogleby
University of Melbourne

This talk will cover modern developments in the mapping of archaeological sites using both off-the-shelf and custom built remotely piloted aerial vehicles (aka, UAV), along with other methods of raising a camera over an area of interest. Cliff will present on his experiences in mapping a stone arrangement, mapping excavations in the Republic of Georgia and a salvage project dealing with ‘cart ruts’ in Azerbaijan.  He will also give an overview of the developments in micro-payloads such as multispectral imaging systems and even lightweight laser scanners.

Cliff Ogleby is a Senior Lecturer at The University of Melbourne in the Infrastructure Engineering department.  He has nearly 40 years experience working in and around archaeology across several continents.  He much prefers to fly into rock painting sites in a real helicopter.

April 21, 2016

From Long Lost Loos to Forgotten Burial Grounds

Presented by Jodie Mitchell
Director of Alpha Archaeology Pty Ltd.

Jodie Mitchell is Director and Principal Archaeologist of Melbourne based heritage consultancy Alpha Archaeology Pty Ltd. Starting her degree at the University of Queensland, then moving back to Melbourne and graduating from La Trobe University in 2004, Jodie has 12 years of archaeological experience working on a very wide range of projects throughout Australia, in Thailand and the Republic of Georgia. Burials and bodies are her passion, often describing them as “the ultimate time capsule”.
During the course of her career some interesting heritage sites have come to light, sometimes literally during construction. On Thursday Jodie will present a small number of these places – from the forgotten underground toilets in Footscray, to Melbourne’s first cemetery at the Queen Victoria Market, and other forgotten sites.  She will discuss the circumstances of these sites and how they reflect the changing attitudes of societies over time as they respond to the outside influences of the world.

March 17, 2016

The Kimberley Rock Art Dating Project: Background Methods and Advances

Presented by Prof Andrew Gleadow
School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Dating of rock art has traditionally been regarded as impossible to, at best, extremely difficult, and only likely to succeed in certain restricted circumstances. Most successful results have been obtained where charcoal has been used as a pigment, enabling direct radiocarbon dating. More recently Uranium-series dating has been applied in Europe and Indonesia to limestone cave deposits, where this method is well established for dating flowstone carbonates. Other methods, such as optically stimulated luminescence, have potential but have so far met with limited success. The spectacular rock art sites of the Kimberley, and Arnhem Land, are found in ancient sandstone terranes that are almost completely devoid of carbonates, and charcoal pigments are restricted only to the most recent rock art stages. Nevertheless, research has shown that the rock panels on which figurative and engraved art motifs are found in northern Australia are not passive substrates, but active and evolving geomorphic and geochemical environments. Understanding the local surface processes on these rock faces, and indeed the surfaces themselves, is providing new insights into mineralogical and organic accumulations that have potential for dating and often show clear bracketing age relationships to rock art. The Kimberley Rock Art Dating Project is a major multidisciplinary effort, supported by the Australian Research Council and the Kimberley Foundation Australia, to date the established rock art sequence of the Kimberley. The project involves a large team of researchers with complementary specialties in geology, geochemistry, geochronology, geomicrobiology, physics and archaeology working together with traditional owners. The concerted application of a range of advanced technologies is now making strong progress on multiple fronts. The project is the largest ever to address the central problem of advancing the science of dating rock art and success will have important implications not only for the Kimberley, but also in rock art provinces elsewhere in Australia and other parts of the world.

November 19, 2015

Dating, understanding and appreciating the Aboriginal Rock Art of the Kimberley

Presented by Dr Helen Green
University of Melbourne

Helen will be discussing results of her work as part of a multi-disciplinary project across the Kimberley to date the rock art using a wide range of scientific techniques. This involves archaeologists, chemists, geologists and physicists from the universities of Melbourne, Western Australia and Woolongong, Archae-Aus consultancy and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. The project aims to use the information from the Kimberley rock art to provide primary evidence of how, when and why people first arrived in Australia.

The Kimberley is one of the last great wilderness areas and the age of its rock art has been challenging archaeologists for years. Direct dating of the rock art itself will hopefully avoid such questions as, was the wasp nest used for an OSL date above or below the dated Gwion image and, how relevant is dating the quartz grains below an engraved rock.

October 15, 2015

Starting from scratch: Hellenistic Pelagonia

Presented by Belinda D’Angelo
La Trobe University

Pelagonia is a large valley in the southern region of the Republic of Macedonia. The name of the area has persisted since antiquity and as such Pelagonia possesses an abundance of archaeological sites from many periods. From the late Classical period, Pelagonia was a part of the region known as Upper Macedonia and the name was retained by the Romans upon their conquest in the middle of the second century BCE. Although there exists this connection with the Macedonians during their time of power, very little is known about the peoples inhabiting the northern fringes of this dominating kingdom. Through burial analysis and funerary architecture, my research is designed to begin the process of understanding the societies of Upper Macedonia.
Belinda D’Angelo is a PhD candidate from the Archaeology Program at La Trobe University. Her specialist area is the funerary architecture and burial practices of Upper Macedonia during the Hellenistic Period. Specifically, Belinda has undertaken archaeological investigations of burials in the region of Pelagonia in the Republic of Macedonia with a view to shed light on the little-known of the region and their relationship with their powerful neighbours.

A Melbourne Institution: the former Convent of the Good Shepherd, Abbotsford

Presented by Edwina Kay
La Trobe University

Abbotsford Convent, here in Melbourne, is much-loved in our community for its beautiful gardens, picturesque heritage buildings, markets and cafes. The complex history of this former institution for wayward and vulnerable women and girls is perhaps not as well-known today as its cafes and children’s farm. This site is the focus of ongoing PhD research exploring the role of institutions in our society. Institutions such as Abbotsford Convent have been used to punish, reform and house ‘problem’ people in Australia since it was first colonised. The physical fabric of institutions is crucial to the process of institutionalisation and confinement – making it a rich source of information for archaeological analysis. This presentation will share some of the findings of this PhD research into the evolution and history of Abbotsford Convent during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, using the extant physical fabric of the institution as archaeological evidence.
Edwina is a third-year PhD candidate at La Trobe University. Her interests in historic buildings and marginalised people in the community have come together in her current research project. She is the winner of the 2015 La Trobe University College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce Three Minute Thesis Competition, and was awarded the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology R. Ian Jack Prize for Best Honours Thesis in 2013.

September 17, 2015

Reconstructing the peopling of the deep interior of the equatorial rainforest of Kalimantan

Presented by Vida Kusmartonoë
Australian National University

The archaeological discoveries at Nanga Balang and Diang Kaung in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) provide data on human occupation at c. 3000 BP. On the other hand a number of investigations carried out at sites which were geodesically close to the coastal area (including Malaysian Borneo) resulted a variety of chronologies indicating late Pleistocene to late Holocene occupation. This work leads to questions about whether the deep interior of the equatorial rainforest of Kalimantan provided sufficient food resources to accommodate the hunter-gatherers to obtain their daily sustenance and survive during the pleistocene until early the holocene? What kind of human activities had occurred prior to 3000 BP?
The veil of mystery was raised by a two-season excavation (2013-2014) in the upper region of the Kapuas River Basin. The radiocarbon dating of 14 charcoal samples indicated at least 6 different periods of dwelling activity, which ranged from cal BP 149 to cal BP 14992, and signified by diverse material cultures. Such chronologies would confirm an important role for such deep interior sites within the prehistory of Indonesia and Island Southeast Asia in general. Furthermore, such a record of human occupation may provide comparative data for understanding sequences of human activity in the equatorial evergreen lowland rainforest regions such as Zaire Basin and the Amazon.
Vida is a PhD student in archaeology at the Australian National University.

August 20, 2015

Distribution of Early Bronze Age Barrow Burials in South-Eastern Georgia: An Attempt to Define Landscape Management during the Early Kurgan Period

Presented by Eleonora Carminati
University of Melbourne

The Early Kurgan period is particularly well-known in southern Caucasian archaeology as a gradual moment of transition from settled, egalitarian tribes to semi-nomadic chiefdoms. The emergence of complex societies foreshadows a broader phenomenon, which will have its largest diffusion during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (2nd-1st millennium BC). The major evidence in the archaeological record is represented by remarkably wealthy burial mounds (kurgans) built in designated areas across the highlands and the river valleys of southern Caucasus. The location of these kurgans is considered a possible indication of community group’s seasonal or fixed annual movement patterns, due to the quest of pasturelands for livestock or the trade of exotic and raw goods.
Intent of this talk will be to present the preliminary results of the Early Kurgan archaeological survey (EKAS) in south-eastern Georgia analysing the distribution and exploitation of distinct landscapes and trade routes by the Early Kurgan groups during the Early Bronze Age (mid-3rd millennium BC).

Eleonora is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. She completed her studies in Near Eastern archaeology at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and attended a semester course at UCL in London. Her research interests focus on the emergence of complex societies and landscape management during the Early Bronze Age (mid-3rd millennium BC) in the southern Caucasus. She is currently directing a survey project in south-eastern Georgia mapping the distribution of barrow burials (kurgans) in the area.

Re-awakening the Power of Persepolis

Presented by Annelies Van de Ven
University of Melbourne

This presentation will explore the various methods of manipulation used by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in his revival of the Persian past during his reign. In 1971 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi invited around 500 guests including 64 world leaders to attend his celebration of 2500 Years of the Persian Empire. The festivities were held upon the ruins of Persepolis, the seat of the Achaemenid Empire, a dynasty that ruled Iran and much of West Asia. The event, by any standard, was a spectacle of dazzling proportions, emulating the great banquets and tributary processions of the Shah’s of old. It was this emulation, this re-enactment of past glory that stood central to the event’s main message, one of continuity, a legitimiser for the new Shah’s myth of pre-ordained rulership. But to what extent could he claim any direct equivalence if the audience towards which and the cultural system within which these symbols of power were being deployed was no longer the same?

Annelies is a second year PhD student within the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her current research project compares how national archaeology and identity-formation are projected into the public sphere in Iran and Iraq. Before coming to Melbourne Annelies completed a master’s degree in Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland with minors in Art History and Anthropology. Her main field of interest is archaeological reception as well as heritage and identity studies more broadly. However, she also really enjoys working in the field and has worked with a number of excavation teams.

July 16, 2015

SHIRĪN – Syrian Heritage in Danger: An international research initiative and network

Presented by Dr Andrew Jamieson
University of Melbourne

The unfolding conflict in Syria is a catastrophe on many levels.  Inevitably, Syria’s heritage is one of many casualties resulting from the armed conflict.  Reports about the destruction and looting of archaeological sites, most recently at Palmyra, are extremely disturbing. Resulting from a workshop organised on Syrian Heritage, funded by the Swiss SGOA (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Orientalische Alterumswissenschaft), as part of the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (9ICAANE) convened at the University of Basel in June 2014, a new initiative known as SHIRĪN, Syrian Heritage in Danger: an international research initiative and network, was formed.  Andrew Jamieson from the Classics and Archaeology program at the University of Melbourne was invited to represent Australia on the International SHIRĪN Committee. In this presentation Andrew will discuss the history of Australian excavations in the Euphrates River valley of north Syria and the International Research Initiative for the Safeguarding and Protection of Syrian Heritage known as SHIRĪN.

Dr Andrew Jamieson, Senior Lecturer and Curator in Classics and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne, has extensive archaeological field experience and worked at sites in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Australia. In themid-1990s he was deeply involved in the UNESCO post-war salvage operations in Beirut. For ten seasons he worked at Tell Ahmar (ancient Til Barsib) on the east bank of Euphrates. He was also involved in recording the Hellenistic ceramics at Jebel Khalid in north Syria.

 June 18, 2015

Footprints on the Rocks

Presented by Dr Margaret Bullen

Leave only footprints, an environmentalist’s command to leave behind no residue of one’s presence implies that footprints are ephemeral, washed away by time as are those on a beach below the high water mark. However, while countless footprints have vanished chance geological events have captured a tantalising few revealing thousands of years later a narrative of long gone journeying. Those footprints, human and non-human encode so much more than just the passage of individuals; were they adults or youth, running or walking or even hopping? In this paper human and non-human footprints will be discussed as storehouses of past presences.


Margaret Bullen is a general practitioner who also has studied archaeology with an emphasis on the study of rock art. She is particularly interested in the connections between neuroscience and rock art.

May 21, 2015

A new 3D printed great ape dental scoring system for human evolutionary research

Presented by Dr Varsha Pilbrow
University of Melbourne

Teeth have a special place in human evolutionary research because they are highly mineralized and preserve well in the fossil record. Dental morphology being under strong genetic control, fine details of teeth are commonly used in the diagnosis and differentiation of fossil species.It is hardly surprising then that dental morphology also lies at the crux of many debates within palaeoanthropology, mostcentring on the lack of standardisation in dental morphological descriptions, poor inter-observer repeatability and poor demonstration of within versus between species variation in dental features. Because sample sizes for fossilsare typically limited, these debates cannot be resolved conclusively except by using present day close evolutionary relatives as analogues for the types and ranges of variation to be expected in fossil human species.
This talk focuses on models of dental variation in our close evolutionary relatives, namely, the great apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans. Dental features encountered in the apes are used to develop a standardised system for describing and categorising dental features and new techniques of three-dimensional printing are used to produce hand-held plaques for use by researchers studying fossil hominid dentitions. How such a system provides much needed methodological rigour in palaeoanthropological research will be discussed.
Dr Pilbrow is a physical anthropologist at the University of Melbourne, with aresearch focus on palaeoanthropology, in particular, the dentition of fossil and living apes. Her research has taken her to fossil hominid localities in Tanzania and Kenya, and museums in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Extensive data collected from these sites has allowed her to develop comprehensive models from the living apes to apply to fossil species questions. Most recently she has been developing a three-dimensional great ape dental scoring system, which is the topic of the talk.

April 9, 2015

The Forgotten Expedition: The Strickland River, PNG – 1885 to 2014

Presented by Monica Minnegal & Peter D Dwyer
University of Melbourne

The Geographical Society of Australasia was established in 1883 initially in New South Wales and, a year later, with a branch in Victoria. At the inaugural meeting, held in Sydney, on 22 June 1883 E. Marin La Meslèe, Honorary Secretary of the Exploratory Committee, read a paper titled “Past exploration of New Guinea, and a scheme for the scientific exploration of the great island” La Meslèe opened his paper by noting that “the Colony of Queensland had a few weeks ago annexed part of the great island of New Guinea to the Colonial Empire of Great Britain” and argued forcefully for “the necessity of an expedition on a large scale” with a party “of sufficient strength, properly equipped and armed, whose object should be the geographical exploration of New Guinea”.
 The Geographical Society of Australasia’s 1885 expedition included some notable Australian scientists but it was not a success. Both before and afterwards it generated disparaging and, indeed, despairing rumours and press reports to the effect, for example, that it was inadequately equipped, that it failed to go where it was supposed to go, that the leader was an incompetent navigator, that the explorers has been killed and eaten and that many native New Guineans had been shot. There were uncomfortable disputes between branches of the society – South Australia and Queensland had formed additional branches – each of which wanted a share of the limited ethnological material that had been collected. There was uncertainty concerning the veracity of the expedition leader and uncertainty about the extent of their travels. The outcome was that no detailed report by expedition members was ever published. It seemed, in fact, that the expedition had been an embarrassment to its sponsors and that they were content to let it be forgotten.
 The expedition was the first to name and explore the Strickland River. We shall argue that the expedition passed through the entire south-to-north length of the territory of Kubo people to touch upon the territory of Febi people though, at that time, the people who occupied the land were probably not Kubo. Since 1986 we have conducted research among these people, focussing on ecology and change and, most recently, looking at the impact of a vast Liquefied Natural Gas Project on their lives. These people live at or near Juha which is the most remote and upstream of the LNG gas fields, fields that were demonstrated to be productive in the mid-2000s, are expected to come on line in 2020  and expected eventually to yield a huge monetary windfall to local ‘landowners’. Paradoxically, fossils collected by the 1885 expedition at its northernmost camp on the Strickland River held clues as to what was, more than 100 years later, found at Juha. But mapping failures and doubtful reporting by the expedition leader meant that geologists and others were not sure where “Fossil Camp” was located, were under the impression that it was on the border of what was then German territory and concluded that if a bonanza of valuable resources was waiting to be discovered then that bonanza was not in British territory.
Monica Minnegal is Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the processes that shape change in the ways that people understand relationships to each other and the land. Monica has spent many years working in Papua New Guinea studying the impacts of modernity on their understandings and practices.  Her latest research explores how anticipating the arrival of a major resource-extraction project – the PNG LNG pipeline – is affecting local social practices and cultural understandings.

Peter Dwyer is an honorary Senior Fellow in the School of Geography, Faculty of Science, the University of Melbourne. After many years researching and teaching as a zoologist – bats, rats, rock wallabies, bowerbirds, ants – he diverted to anthropological concerns after taking a sabbatical in Papua New Guinea. He has undertaken research, for the past 28 years with Monica Minnegal, among Siane, Etolo, Kubo, Bedamuni and Febi people in PNG and among commercial fishermen in Victoria. An early emphasis was on ethnoclassification but social and ecological concerns now predominate and questions of social change – particularly of process – are always focal.

March 19, 2015

Narrating History, Narrating Self: Negotiating National Identity in Bulgaria

Presented by Dr Tim Pilbrow
University of Melbourne

The ethnographic research on which this talk is based was carried out on the teaching of history in Bulgarian schools in the 1990’s. The speaker argues that collective identification, that is the way a group of people perceive themselves, is enabled not so much by their history or the stories of that history but rather by the way in which those stories are framed. History teachers and their students engage in discussions on national identity that are far broader in scope than the historical underpinnings. Examining how history is read through its dialogue with other disciplines enables us to explore the complex and indirect links between the author and the actual social effects. This takes us to the power laden contexts in which history is read and engaged with and wherein people consider how their common imaginings are shaped.


Dr Tim Pilbrow, Research Fellow in Anthropology and Development Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
Research Manager, Native Title Services Victoria

 November 20, 2014

Digging up Ned Kelly

Presented by Jeremy Smith
Heritage Victoria

We are very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker for this year’s AGM is Jeremy Smith, Senior Archaeologist at Heritage Victoria. Jeremy studied Archaeology at the University of Melbourne, and has Honours degrees in History and Archaeology, and a Masters degree in Archaeology. He worked for 4 seasons on the University of Melbourne expedition to Tell Ahmar, a Neo-Assyrian (Iron Age) settlement on the Euphrates River in northern Syria. He began working at Heritage Victoria in 1998 and was appointed Senior Archaeologist in 2002.

His particular interests are the archaeology of early Melbourne and in recent years he has become an expert in the archaeology of the Kelly gang, having been involved in projects at Stringybark Creek, the Glenrowan Siege site, the Old Melbourne Gaol, and Pentridge.

In 2009 he directed the investigations that resulted in the discovery of the remains of Ned Kelly, which will be the subject of his talk at the AGM.

October 16, 2014

Tracing the Huns from their head shapes

Presented by Dr Peter Mayall
University of Melbourne

Peter has been researching intentional cranial modification in Eurasia during the migration period (4th-6th century AD) particularly looking at the role of the Huns and the archaeological evidence from burial sites.

For the past few years Peter has been involved in the excavation of a burial site in the Republic of Georgia and laser scanning modified skulls at various places in Europe. He is a retired Obstetrician Gynaecologist now a PhD student

Diet and Social Diversity during the 2nd-5th Century at Samtavro Cemetery, Republic of Georgia

Presented by Natalie Langowski
University of Melbourne

Natalie, a Master’s student, is using molecular techniques to study the diets of the Iberian population buried at Samtavro Cemetery, Georgia. These burials are dated to the Iberian Kingdom, and exhibit significant cultural diversity in their burial customs, with at least four different burial types currently recognised.

An examination of diet directly from the bones excavated from Samtavro has provided further evidence for the co-existence of two or more distinct cultures within the Iberian population. They differed in both burial customs and their day-to-day dietary practices.

September 18, 2014 

Traces in the sand: a history of human settlement at Lake Mungo, Willandra Lakes, south-eastern Australia

Presented by Dr Nicola Stern
Lecturer, La Trobe University

Lake Mungo came to the attention of the international research community during the 1970s following the discovery of were then, and still are, some of the oldest well-dated traces of human activity in Australia, including the oldest known ritual human burials. However, these are only a few of the thousands of traces of past human activity preserved in the 33-km lunette bounding the eastern margin of Lake Mungo. These activity traces span the entire known history of human settlement on the Australian continent and are preserved in sediments that reflect the hydrological conditions that prevailed in the adjacent lake at the time they accumulated.  As a result, the archaeological traces preserved in the Mungo lunette present an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the changing pattern of life on the edge of the continent’s arid core as environmental conditions fluctuated over the past 45,000 years. The first systematic survey of these activity traces and their geological context began in 2009. This presentation describes how information about past activities and environments is being collected and provides new insights into the history of human settlement in the Willandra Lakes.

Dr Nicola Stern teaches in the Archaeology Program at La Trobe University and leads an inter-disciplinary research project in the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area, in close collaboration with Elders from the Mutthi Mutthi, Ngyiampaa and Pakaantji/Barkindji tribes. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney and a Ph.D in Palaeolithic Archaeology at Harvard University and worked on the earliest archaeological traces in Africa and rock shelters in south-west Tasmania before taking up an invitation to help develop a new generation of research in the Willandra.

August 21, 2014

Assessing season of site use in the archaeological record: a case study in the multidisciplinary approach

Presented by Georgia Roberts
La Trobe University

Assessing seasonality within the archaeological record is notoriously difficult, particularly within Australia where seasonal variation is quite limited. One exception is southwestern Tasmania, which also contains remarkably well preserved assemblages of animal remains, ranging in age from 35,000 to 11,500 years. These archaeological collections are dominated by Bennett’s wallaby and the Tasmanian Common wombat, representing the two species most predated by Aboriginal people in this region at the end of the Pleistocene. This study investigates the season/s in which these sites were being used by identifying the seasonal isotopic curve (associated within rainfall) preserved within wombat dental enamel.

Investigations into hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies during Pleistocene climatic flux have led to the development of a model of highly mobile populations utilising resources on a seasonal basis. Georgia’s PhD research aims to investigate this trend through assessing patterns of seasonal resource exploitation of Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis, the Tasmanian Common wombat, by Australian Aboriginal people in Tasmanian archaeological sites. Seasonality of wombat hunting is being investigated by undertaking high-resolution sequential stable isotope analysis on tooth enamel of Common wombats found throughout the archaeological sequences ranging in age from approximately 35,000 BP to 11,500 BP in order to identify season of death. Comparisons between season of death for Bennett’s wallaby, the major prey species, and Common wombats, will be undertaken, in order to assess the contribution of the Common wombat in the subsistence strategies evident at the sites.


Georgia Roberts is in the second year of her PhD at La Trobe University, based in the Molecular Archaeology Lab. Georgia undertook her undergraduate degrees at the Australian National University in Canberra (BSc – Palaeoenvironments and Marine Geoscience and BA [Hons] – Archaeology and Biological Anthropology), completing a Master of Archaeological Science in 2012.

Making home:  An archaeology of early colonial family farming at Gembrook, south-eastern Victoria

Presented by Wendy Morrison
La Trobe University

Silverwells is a family farm established in 1874 by one of the first selectors to settle in the Gembrook area of the Port Phillip-Westernport Bay region of south-eastern Victoria. For thirty years Silverwells was the nucleus of an embryonic settlement, providing a lifeline to scattered mining settlements and a venue for expressions of community celebration and cohesion. The original buildings and many of their contents remain on the property, and are the subject of my research. They represent a physical manifestation of an ancient process humans have been involved in for much of their history: emigration and inhabitation. They also offer a rare opportunity to investigate the initial formation of an early colonial community, created in relative isolation and through the efforts of the settlers themselves.

Emigration-immigration is an intensely emotional experience. For selectors it involved relinquishing land, family, friends and community with little or no chance of return. They then had to establish themselves in a different place that would nurture their family through successive generations. My research focuses on this process to consider a fundamental and primal question: how did a first generation settler family create home in a foreign landscape?

Wendy studied archaeology at La Trobe University, winning a number of university awards including the Deans Honours Award and the First Year Sociology Prize. In her third year she was awarded an International Network of Universities (INU) scholarship to study at Leicester University in the UK for three months, and on completion of her degree she was granted an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) to undertake a doctorate. Her research interests are strongly focused on Australian historical archaeology, and her doctoral research investigates the process of early colonial settlement and community creation at the family farm of an early settler at Gembrook, in South-eastern Victoria

July 17, 2014

Homo erectus, Homo ergaster and the Dmanisi hominids

Presented by Dr Varsha Pilbrow

Lecturer, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne

Homo erectus was first described by Eugene Dubois in the 1890, from Java, Indonesia and subsequently recognized throughout Asia by its robust cranial morphology. Similar hominin fossils from Africa were more gracile and several 100,000 years earlier than the Asian forms, leading to the belief that these were the ancestral human forms that migrated out of Africa and spread through the world. Hominin fossils from Dmanisi in Georgia began to emerge around 100years after Dubois’ discovery and in the last twenty years have changed our understanding of our earliest human ancestors. How the Dmanisi hominins fit with H. ergaster and H.erectus and how they have changed our perceptions of our evolutionary ancestry will be the focus of the talk.

Dr Varsha Pilbrow is a physical anthropologist researching palaeoanthropology, with a focus on the dentition of fossil and living apes. Her research has taken her to fossil hominin localities in Tanzania and Kenya. She is currently involved in a skeletal biology project in the republic of Georgia and with Professor Tony Sagona organised the recent visit to the University of Melbourne of Professor David Lordkipanidze.

 June 19, 2014

Transegalitarian Aboriginal Societies of Southwest Victoria —  A 12,000 Year Perspective

Presented by Thomas Richards

Research Fellow, Monash Indigenous Centre

Ongoing international debate regarding complexity in Southwest Victorian Aboriginal societies concerns unresolved issues surrounding the validity of the 19th century ethnographic record and the archaeological evidence for complexity in the pre-contact period. SW Victorian Aboriginal societies are critically re-examined with the aid of substantial new empirical data and by exploring the ethnographic and archaeological records through the theoretical lens of transegalitarian socio-cultural complexity. Data from shell middens in the Cape Duquesne study area are used to develop a 12,000 year long coastal archaeological sequence to identify the appearance and nature of transegalitarian features. The direct historical approach is employed at the Lake Condah Outlet study area to investigate the archaeological manifestation of an ethnohistorically chronicled Aboriginal eel fishery. Detailed archaeological mapping and recording of the still extant 19th century cultural features forms the basis for modelling the functioning of this system at varying lake levels, thus highlighting the culture-based fishery form of eel aquaculture. Transegalitarian traits in the ethnographic record of SW Victoria are identified and an assessment of the level of transegalitarian complexity discussed for several key variables, including population density, sedentism, land and resource ownership, production of economic surplus, leadership and government, marriage, polygyny and moieties, and meetings. Finally, the appearance of transegalitarian features SW Victoria is considered in chronological sequence.

Tom is an archaeologist who has been involved in research, consulting, government heritage regulation and teaching in Canada, Guatemala, Britain, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Tom has over 50 publications, most recently in journals such as Australian Archaeology, Journal of Field Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Australian Aboriginal Studies and World Archaeology.

Tom is a Research Fellow with the Monash Indigenous Centre, co-directing research on the remains of newly discovered Lapita settlements excavated recently at Caution Bay near Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Smithsonian Institution is publishing a nine volume series of monographs, “Caution Bay Studies in Archaeology,” on the results of this research and the first volume, co-edited by Tom has recently been completed and sent to the publishers.

Tom has long been a practitioner of community archaeology. Early research in partnership with First Nations people involved investigation of the emergence of sedentary pithouse villages on the Plateau of British Columbia. More recently Tom has worked closely with Traditional Owners on the study of transegalitarian Aboriginal societies in southwest Victoria.

 May 15, 2014

A Rara Avis: FE Williams, the Government Anthropologist of Papua and the Papuan Official Collection

Presented by Dr Sylvia Schaffarczyk, AASV member

FE Williams, the Government Anthropologist of the Territory of Papua from 1922-43 is well known for his ethnographic writing and photography. These aspects of his life have been covered in some detail (Young and Clark 2001, Griffiths 1977) , and are still undergoing scrutiny (Bell 2006), while his collecting has not. While Williams himself saw collecting as a perfunctory part of his duties as Government Anthropologist, his contributions to the Papuan Official Collection (POC), include some of the best provenanced material in the collection and form an unusual sub-set within what is otherwise a rather haphazard official collection. The POC is held at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra (NMA), and its acquisition spans most of the 32 year administration of the Territory of Papua by Sir Hubert Murray. This paper will consider the contribution by Williams to the Papuan Official Collection and the impact his professional training had on the acquisition of objects for the collection and in the Territory. I first gave a version of this paper as a PhD student at the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies (AAAPS) conference at ANU in 2006. The paper was published in 2007, as a chapter in Cochrane, S  & Quanchi, M, Eds. Hunting the collectors: Pacific collections in Australian museums, art galleries and archives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, United Kingdom, republished as an ebook in 2012.

April 17, 2014

Mystery Stones from the Arnhem Land Plateau

Presented by R (ben) Gunn & Leigh Douglas

One of the unusual features repeatedly found on the Arnhem Land Plateau are small stone tablets propped up and chocked to make them prominent. No Jawoyn people can offer any interpretation of these features and there is no consistency in their formal properties

Similar raised slabs were reported by Love from the Kimberley region; their meanings ranging from signifying sacred places or features to documenting where a person killed a kangaroo.

The well-illustrated presentation will offer the extent of our knowledge of these Arnhem Land stones and their archaeological context.

For the past eight years ‘ben’ and Leigh have been recording Jawoyn rock art and other sites and features across Jawoyn lands. ben has been recording rock art for over thirty years throughout Australia and internationally. Leigh has been photographing rock art for the past ten years.

March 20, 2014

The Archaeoastronomy of the Megaliths of Arles: cosmology and monumental architecture in the European Neolithic

Presented by Morgan Saletta

Morgan Saletta will present his archaeoastronomical study of the megalithic hypogées of Arles (The Arles/Fontvieille monuments) which were probably built between 3500 BC and3000 BC. Four of these large subterranean monuments were oriented toward the setting sun on the equinoxes while the largest, the Grotte de Cordes was oriented toward the winter solstice so as to be illuminated at seasonally important periods of the year for ritual, ceremonial and cosmologically symbolic purposes. This illumination phenomenon, which Morgan is the first to have documented, is very similar to the well-known winter solstice illumination of Newgrange in Ireland and Maeshowe in Scotland. Morgan will discuss how his research and discoveries contribute to and engage with longstanding debates in archaeology concerning the origin, diffusion and meaning of megaliths and other monuments in Neolithic Europe and in the recognition of these monuments from a world heritage perspective.

Morgan was educated in the U.S and France, earning Master’s degrees in Anthropology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and in Museum and Heritage Studies at the Muséum National d’Histoire National (Paris) before becoming a doctoral candidate in the History and Philosophy of Science at Melbourne University. An American by birth, he may have left his heart in his native San Francisco but now calls Melbourne home.

2013 September

Marcia Nugent (University of Melbourne)
“Botanic Motifs of the Bronze Age Cycladic Islands: Identity, Belief, Ritual and Trade”

Antonio Gonzalez (University of Melbourne)
“Rethinking heritage. Landscape iconoclasm in the Burrup Peninsula (Western Australia)”

2013 August

Rebekah Kurpiel (LaTrobe University)

“Where did it all come from?: A study of stone sources in the Lake Mungo region, southwest New South Wales”

Claudia A. Garcia-Solis (LaTrobe University)
“Behind the Stucco: Technology and Artifices in the Maya City of Calakmul”

2013 July

Michael Lever (Andrew Long and Associates)
“Neither Bombs nor Butter –V. Gordon Childe and the Life Archaeological”

2013 June

Genevieve Grieves, Amanda Reynolds and Rosemary Wrench (Museum Victoria)
“First Peoples: coming soon … ” First Peoples is an exciting new exhibition opening in 2013 at the Bunjilaka Cultural Centre in the Melbourne Museum.

2013 May

Dr Liam M. Brady and Assoc Prof John Bradley (Monash University)
“Images of Relatedness”: patterning, cultural contexts and agency in Yanyuwa rock art, SW Gulf of Carpentaria

2013 April

Dr Phillip Edwards (La Trobe University):
“The History of Archaeological Excavation: what did Wheeler really know?”

2013 March

Associate Professor Richard Cosgrove (La Trobe University)
“Fire, people and climate change in the Wet Tropics bioregion, north Queensland”

2012 November

(AGM) Dr Colin Hope, “The Death-Pits of Ur”.

2012 October

Johanna Petkov (Monash University)
Child and Infant Burials in New Kingdom Egypt

Daniel James (Monash University)
The Painted Past – the rock-art of the Little Barra rockshelter, Jawoyn country, Arnhem Land

2012 September

Caroline Tully (University of Melbourne)
A Little World Made Cunningly: Glyptic Images of Tree Cult in the Late Bronze Age Aegean

Aleksandra Michalewicz (University of Melbourne)
Roman and late Antique mortuary ritual at the Samtavro Cemetery of Caucasian Iberia

2012 August

Meredith Filihia (La Trobe University)
Aspects of Indigenous Technological Change and Adaptation: an Archaeology of Culture Contact

Anthony Bagshaw (La Trobe University)
Tasmanian Pottery and the Jam Trade 1848-1855

2012 July

Ajda Vrbic (Alpha Archaeology)
Archaeology and Folklore tradition of Salek Valley Slovenia

2012 June

Michael Lever (Andrew Long and Associates)
Why chamber pots don’t have lids – Melbourne, Miasma and Material Culture.

2012 May

Prof Antonio Sagona (University of Melbourne)
Unlocking Gallipoli: New perspectives on the history and archaeology of the ANZAC battlefield.

2012 April

Dr Heather Jackson (University of Melbourne)
The terracotta people of Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates

2012 March

Dr Beth Gott, (Monash University)
Aboriginal plant use and the importance of management