School of Social Sciences

Archaeology

Further information

Funding

Our research projects are funded by:

 

Our research covers archaeology in Australia, Asia and Europe, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous archaeology.

Historical archaeology

The study of historical archaeology at UWA is a vibrant field of archaeology spanning culture contact between Aboriginal Australians and outsiders, European colonisation and colonialism, maritime archaeology, visual cultures and contemporary archaeology. It requires collaboration with researchers in many fields such as history and geography. Partnerships and collaborations providing opportunities for research and teaching are strengthened by the National Trust, UNESCO World Heritage Site Fremantle Prison, and Maritime Archaeology at the WA Museum.

Hunter-gatherer archaeology

Humans have been nomadic hunters and gatherers for most of their history. As a consequence, the variability of material traces from this time period is of crucial importance for the interpretation of global human history altogether. The archaeological evidence connected to this way of life contains specific challenges as well as great potentials for understanding the distant human past. Because people move frequently, archaeological structures are often very well preserved, but it is often difficult to connect these across the landscape and through time.

Archaeology of Indigenous Australia

Maritime and Coastal Archaeology

Rock art and symbolic behaviour

Rock art forms the most important area of artistic expression for hunting and gathering people and in the earliest phases of human history. Rock art and other forms of art illuminate distant people’s life-ways, social interactions, and world-views. An important aspect of research in this field is also to understand the significance of rock art for living Indigenous people and how these insights can help in understanding and appreciating ancient rock art and other forms of art in greater depth and detail.
  • Assistant Professor Jamie Hampson – rock art regionalism, theory and method in rock art studies, rock art and identity, socio-politics and the commodification of archaeological heritage, the role of rock art today
  • Winthrop Professor Jo McDonald – rock art and information exchange, engendered rock art, arid zone rock art, contemporaneity of rock art with other occupation evidence, rock art dating
  • Associate Professor Sven Ouzman – rock art of the Kimberley, northern Australia and southern Africa, Indigenous intellectual property and knowledge, management of rock art and related sites, rock markings, rock art of colonial and cross-cultural contact, graffiti.
  • Professor Alistair Paterson -– historical archaeology, archaeology of culture contact, pastoralism, Aboriginal history, relationship of history and archaeology.
  • Associate Professor Martin Porr – the archaeology of hunter-gatherers, the archaeology of Palaeolithic Europe, human cognitive evolution, theoretical issues of archaeological research, anthropology and archaeology of art, anthropology and archaeology of shamanism, material culture studies.
  • Winthrop Professor Benjamin Smith – theory and method in rock art studies, rock art dating, digital archiving in archaeology, rock art and identity, contextual approaches to rock art, the role of rock art in modern societies
  • Winthrop Professor Peter Veth - archaeology of arid zone hunter-gatherers, the emergence of maritime societies, art in archaeological context, and critical heritage and native title studies.
  • Assistant Professor Leslie Zubieta Calvert - body perceptions and representations in rock art, material culture, memory, rock art and indigenous knowledge, creation processes behind rock art and other media, rock art and gender

GIS and spatial analysis

Archaeology focuses on the spatial context of artefacts, sites, and other cultural remains. Analysing and understanding spatial relationships is done primarily using the tool of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Archaeologists use GIS-based spatial information to examine everything from very simple debris disposal patterns to large scale complex models of human behaviour.
  • Dr Tom Whitley – statistical and spatial data analyses, dynamical systems modeling, probabilistic assessments, settlement pattern analysis, heritage, North American archaeology

Heritage Studies

  • Assistant Professor Jamie Hampson – rock art regionalism, theory and method in rock art studies, rock art and identity, socio-politics and the commodification of archaeological heritage, the role of rock art today
  • Associate Professor Sven Ouzman – rock art of Australia and southern Africa, museums, collections-based research, object rights and lives, monuments, heritage management, pseudo archaeology,  origins, understandings of time.
  • Winthrop Professor Benjamin Smith – theory and method in rock art studies, rock art dating, digital archiving in archaeology, rock art and identity, contextual approaches to rock art, the role of rock art in modern societies
  • Professor Jane Lydon – cross-cultural history and its legacies, Australian colonial visual cultures, posthumanism, heritage: the colonial past in the present.

Home   |   Research  |  Staff & Students  |  Courses  |   Current Projects   |   Facilities & Funding  |   Working in Archaeology  |   Fieldwork   |   FAQs  |   Contact us