Talk:Australian archaeology

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I'll be slowly filling out this article, adding content and constantly updating it. However, feel free to add anything that I haven't done so yet. Aggelophoros 01:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I'll also be adding plenty of references and links, so that everything is properly attributed. Aggelophoros 02:10, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Charles Dortch has recently found evidence that dates Aboriginal arrival at Rottnest Island, Western Australia, at 70,000 years. John D. Croft 14:37, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Megafaunal extinction[edit]

I removed the statement, "It is proven that that Megafauna existed in Australia alongside Aborigines until about 6,000 years ago", and rewrote the para (without committing to any one view).

Hard to be sure since the statement was not cited, but it might possibly be referring to results reported in the 1980s of Diprotodon remains dating to the Holocene or ca. 6500 BP, at sites such as Trinkey, Lime Springs and Tambar Springs (see for eg. James Kohen, Aboriginal Environmental Impacts 1995 p.51, and Mulvaney & Kamminga Prehistory of Australia 1999, p.124).

However, AFAIK these and other late-extinction dates obtained from other sites are generally open to question, and have been much debated. At least, there would be plenty of researchers (eg Richard Roberts, Tim Flannery) who would not agree that Megafaunal survival to such a late date is in any way 'proven'.

The whole set of questions surrounding Australian megafauna —just when they became extinct, how it was differentiated across the continent, what if any anthropogenic causes there were—is still an active and at time contentious research field, & as such categorical statements are probably not desirable here. --cjllw ʘ TALK 06:55, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Jeannette Hope[edit]

... might like to note that Sturt did not just go wandering in 1829 or 1844.

He also did an expedition along the Murray in 1836. This was Whether he saw crops then I dont know but he may have, given the Hentys were in that area big time then. Also, who grew those crops? Europeans had long been in the Depot Glen area pre 1844? Here Indigenous people did the sheep washing but they didnt husband the sheep or import them from Europe etc. The McArthurs did. All go read Charles Sturt's journals aagain and place them in their correct and appropriate context given the 1830s dynamics and ontologies of the time. There is no journal for 1836 but there is a paper. JJones —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:01, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Response: 1. In 1836 Sturt was living on his property at Mittagong, NSW. In 1838 he overlanded stock down to Murray to Adelaide. This was an (unsuccessful) money-making venture, not an exploration expedition, but he did establish that the Hume River and the Murray (which he'd named at the Murray-Darling Junction in 1830) were the same river. He does not mention crops on this trip. The Hentys were at Launceston, Portland Vic, and Swan River WA. The town of Henty in the Riverina is named after them; one son (out of seven) had a property there in the 1860s, well after Sturt's time. 2. There were no Europeans in the Depot Glen area / far NW NSW before Sturt got there in 1844. The first pastoral runs were taken up in the far NW after 1855, among the first into this country were the Wallaces ca 1862-3; recent research on Runs suggests leases are mainly 1860s. 3. On 14 March 1845, on a short trip out from Depot Glen, Sturt described riding 'over flooded lands of somewhat sandy soil, covered with different kinds of grass, of which large heaps that had been thrashed out by the natives were piled up like hay cocks'. 4. Aborigines were involved in pastoral industry including wool washing in NW NSW, but after ca 1860. 5. Sturt's 'Journal of the overland Journey to South Australia of 1838' is in the Library of Rhodes House, Oxford. He also published a report in the South Australian Gazette 12.1.1839 and 19.1.1839. 6. There is a huge literature on Sturt, as well as his own journals so it is easy to check facts; recommend some in depth research before posting inaccurate information.JeannetteHope (talk) 13:03, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Jeanette Hope.

Sturt wrote a paper titled: Sturt, C. 1844 'Course of the Hume River, From the Hilly Districts to the Junction of the Morumbidgee', in "Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London", Vo. 14, pp.141-144

That is about Sturt's 1838 journey not 1836 as I put above. Maybe it was a typo or I just thought it was 1836 when it wasn't. Whatever, I have a copy of that paper here in a box somewhere so I excuse my error or typo. Aboriginal people were involved in the pastoral industry at Gundagai at least in around 1830 and likely well pre that even before 1824 (i.e. pre what history usually tells us re some areas via the names of Runs etc), but I am still working on that. Sturt and Eyre and others sometimes took stock with them on their expeditions to see if it could be done then sold that stock when they got to where they were aiming for. Eyre particularly did that. His overlanding was also exploratory to find routes for stock so it would have been pointless to proceed with no or few stock. Even if the explorers were overlanding for more commercial reasons they would still have been checking their surroundings out as that is the sort of people they were. Eyre had long conversations with Sturt pre leaving on his several years long route finding from eastern Australia to the west coast, and Hamilton Hume wrote Eyre's story. Sturt consulted with Hume before he set out in 1829. Eyre, Hovell (of the H and H expedition), and Sturt took the same route from Gundagai. If we believe popular fiction, in 1830 Sturt travelled south of Gundagai and in 1824 Hume and Hovell travelled south through KNP. Neither party did. I will finish this later as I need to be elsewhere right now. johneen jones - gundagai — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:11, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm Back.

OK, your perspective on what happened south of Yass, south of 1803 or thereabouts, is likely different to mine. What I was told by my family who were sea merchants out of Hobart and Sydney (and China and the UK) and some involved in the whaling. My great aunt was born at Gundagai in 1838. I have a closer relative that was here ten years pre that according to what I was told and so far everything but it written in his own hand saying he was here has been found. What would anywhere south of Argyle or west of Bathurst have been called then though? It certainly was not what anything is named these days. Ignore the generation oddity as I have out of synch generations.

One error post cows a lot make is where H and H went. Then from that the route taken in 1929-30 by Charles Sturt, then Eyre's route. Eyre says he was the first overlander to take that route but he wasnt as the ones pre him wouldnt admit they had been trading down that route that also involved a skirmish or two that wasnt anything anyone would disclose. These days people KNOW H and H went through KNP so that is the mindset. Of course the Hentys were at Portland in the 1830s. The Cowpastures were near Appin also and only there. These days my property is as it is set out by Lands NSW or whatever they call themselves but what happened between 1760 and 1851?

Modern mindsets maybe need to go sit in a cave or two for a week or two and think of England. It wasnt like that in this southern part of the continent around 1800. I get astounded by the blue flag iris' that proliferate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:40, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

I just noticed that I put '1838' on the Gundgaai page years back re Sturt's trip south in that era. The 1836 here on what is a discussion page not an article page, was an error not any deliberate posting of inaccurate information. Wiki asks for use of good faith not incorrect accusations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:34, 22 August 2011 (UTC)


- I think we should abandon use of the term 'Aboriginal archaeology' and replace this with Indigenous archaeology which is more inclusive.

- The term 'Aboriginies' is highly problematic (borders on racism frankly) and very rarely appears in academic literature originating in Australia at least. Needs to be replaced with: Aboriginal people where the content specifically refers to mainland Aboriginal groups, communities, populations; Indigenous people where the content is referring to the broader community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia.

- Prehistory? There needs to be some consideration/discussion of whether this is really appropriate as well as some inclusion of a summary about debate about this term.

Happy to make these changes myself, but thought it polite to flag them here first. Mickmorrison (talk) 23:16, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

- I agree although it might be better to explain on the page why this terminology is preferred. I have a few issues with historical archaeology as well although it is a persistent term and the alternatives are much worse! - Iain Stuart (talk) 23:31, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Aboriginal Archaeology[edit]

Archaeology isnt 'Aboriginal' or 'Indigenous' so there is no such thing as Aboriginal or Indigenous Archaeology anyway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

You're entirely incorrect. The article explicitly refers to Aboriginal archaeology so the term needs to be dealt with properly. Cultural heritage professionals and academics in Australia routinely refer to both Aboriginal archaeology and Indigenous archaeology. The article needs to reflect this literature Mickmorrison (talk) 06:52, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Deal or Delete?[edit]

If I am entirely wrong I am right by UNE reckoning then, (and by anthropological reckoning also). Just because an archaeologist or someone else used a term does not then legitimize that use in whatever context or provide an excuse to then just build on it ad infinitum. An archaeologist might be an expert on archaeology but not necessarily on grammar. Delete then replace. Its what was tried on Australia's Indigenous people by my lot anyway so is entirely culturally appropriate from both sides? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 21 October 2010 (UTC)


I hope that Australian archaeology one day sorts out re the yowie. If the yowie does exist then there is likely descent back to something other than boats. He does actually exist though but is not the hairy person version. He is the bunyip in another form. Some think bunyips dont exist though too but its all recorded. That will do away with the hairy person theory though it likely gets very hairy if he is around. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:19, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't Correspond[edit]

Paragraph 1 does not correspond with sub headings further on in the article such as what historial archaeology is and what the archaeology of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Isand people is about. Generally, slang headings such as 'historical archaeology' and Aboriginal archaeology give no correct description of what the sub discipline actually addresses plus incorrect anyway. The sub discipline named 'The Archaeology of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People' likely needs to have added to it 'culture' resulting in 'The Archaeology of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and Culture'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:52, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Article Has Changed Focus[edit]

The article is now about names of archaeologists rather than anything else. Many of the names on the list cannot be very notable as they have no link to any bio of them noting their notability. They may be known within the archaeology trade but the wikipedia article is not written for the the archaeology trade but for all readers. Most of the names on the list that claim notability likely need removing and perhaps being posted instead in some future edition of the Journal of AA rather than on wiki. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

I see, has taken out the names without links. A number of editors of the australian archaeology pages have intentions of improving entries by creating articles for some of these people, and there has been separate discussion regarding who qualifies as notable

I will start putting a number of them back in as soon as I can get some suitable articles together.

Garyvines (talk) 04:47, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Good Idea[edit]

Don't put back all and sundry though as all and sundry likely are not notable at all. The article would be heaps better with no names noted and a seperate article about people the archaeology trade considers notable and warranting listing but dont the AAA have an awards night for that 'in house'? This is wikipedia and the article is about the Archaeology of Australia not a place to note Australian archaeologists that are a species it seems acceptable to the AAA so a very in house thing. Where does that leave Governor Phillip and James Dawson? (Mulvaney & Kamminga, 1999:11) They are both very very notable but no one noted them in that silly list. Phillip and Dawson would be more interesting to the wider non archaeologist reading public than many of the names on the list. What about the missing Australian archaeologists too as there must be more missing archaeology in Australia (and the UK and France etc), than noted. Who excavted it then removed it and where is it now? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Chinese coins[edit]

What on earth is this stuff? The article says:

"The oldest historical artefacts discovered in Australia are several Chinese coins, discovered in a cache found buried in Northern Queensland. The coins have been given dates of 1,300 years ago.[9] It is possible that they were brought to Australia by Chinese miners rather than being evidence of earlier Chinese settlement.[citation needed]"

The source given is a highly improbable-sounding website <> which no longer exists. To find very old Chinese coins in Australia is not unusual, because they could remain in circulation for centuries, but the date of a coin gives no information about the date when it arrived in Australia. Is this a garbled version of the Palmer River "coin hoard" story of the 1980s, which has long been discredited? Unless someone can supply a very good source, I'm deleting that paragraph. Peter Bell (talk) 05:54, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

No response after a month. I've deleted it. Peter Bell (talk) 07:42, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

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