Forensic archaeology on the Kimberley frontier

Pamela Smith, Soren Blau, Robert Fitzpatrick, Donald Pate

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Historical research into episodes of frontier violence in the Kimberley region of Western Australia indicates that Aboriginal victims of massacres were frequently cremated following the event as a means of concealing the atrocities. The identification of such massacre sites would involve being able to distinguish them from, for example, the results of an epidemic. In order to identify the 'signatures' of a European presence at such sites and test the assumption that a burning event involving the disposal of humans had occurred, forensic archaeological methodologies with potential to identify, analyse and interpret such evidence have been tested at one site. The aim of this paper is to present the outcomes of this study and, in particular, the evidence for site formation processes


ConferenceAustralian Archaeological Association and Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Conference 2005, Fremantle, Western Australia
Abbreviated titleAAA/AIMA Conference 2005
Internet address


  • Forensic archaeology
  • Frontier violence
  • Kimberley
  • Western Australia
  • Indigenous archaeology
  • Massacre sites
  • Site formation processes


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