Women in Australian archaeology: challenges and achievements

Claire Smith, Niamh Formosa, Gwen Ferguson, Kristen Tola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter outlines how interconnected networks of women have shaped the development of Australian archaeology from 1960 to the present. We have focused on those women who have pioneered particular research areas while simultaneously making outstanding contributions to the empowerment of Indigenous Australians. We introduce their significant achievements and consider the challenges they faced in their personal quests to contribute to the development of archaeology in Australia. We argue that these networks of women in Australian archaeology had two major impacts on the development of Australian archaeology. The first is an insistence on systematic archaeological surveys prior to development and the protection of cultural heritage sites by legislation, policy, and processes. The second is that efforts to decolonise archaeology in Australia were led by women whose work was embedded with deep and lived understandings of the impact of socio-politics on archaeological theory and practice. Throughout our analysis, we emphasise the power of a cohort of like-minded women.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen in Archaeology:
Subtitle of host publicationIntersectionalities in Practice Worldwide
EditorsSandra López Varela
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3031276507
ISBN (Print)978-3031276491
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameWomen in Engineering and Science


  • gender
  • archaeology
  • Australia
  • cultural heritage


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