Archaeology, anthropology and Indigenous Australians: South Australian perspectives and broader issues facing archaeologists in contemporary practice

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper explores the challenges faced by archaeologists working in progressively complex legal environments such as native title as well as in the ever-expanding cultural heritage management sector. Although written as a result of the author's South Australian experiences the article also draws on interstate examples. A number of common problems that anthropologists and legal representatives encounter in heritage survey reports, work area clearances, conservation plans and other research written from an archaeological perspective are examined. In particular, this paper assesses the following issues: 1) Difficulties in contextualising contemporary assertions of 'connection to country' against the ethno-historical record; and 2) Complexities relating to the inclusion of anthropological materials in archaeological reports. It is argued that there is a need for additional targeted anthropological training for those archaeology students planning to work in the field of Indigenous heritage. Further, it is asserted that basic level training should be provided on topics such as ethnographic analysis of group boundaries and the mechanisms by which relationships to land and waters are established. It is also contended that students need to be trained in relevant methodological approaches to enable them to contextualise the ways in which contemporary Indigenous Australians may interpret archaeological materials within their own social, political and cultural frameworks. Thus, the paper also highlights the need for archaeologists to further collaborate with related disciplines to ensure that cultural risks for Indigenous communities are mitigated and professional risks for practitioners are diminished.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)38-55
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia
    Volume34
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

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