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UQ announces dates of 65,000 years for Madjedbebe

20th July 2017

Today the University of Queensland with a team led by Associate Professor Chris Clarkson announced new dates of 65,000 years for Madjedbebe in Mirrar land in the Jabiluka mineral lease.

Dr Clarkson said that more than 10,000 artefacts were found in the lowest layer of the site and “contains the oldest ground-edge stone axe technology in the world, the oldest known seed-grinding tools in Australia and evidence of finely made stone points which may have served as spear tips,”

Also found were “huge quantities of ground ochre and evidence of ochre processing found at the site, from the older layer continuing through to the present.”

Dating carried out by Professor Zenobia Jacobs at the University of Wollongong has revealed that Aboriginal people lived at Madjedbebe at the same time as extinct species of giant animals were roaming around Australia, and the tiny species of primitive human, Homo floresiensis, was living on the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia.

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer Justin O’Brien said a landmark agreement had made it possible for Dr Clarkson and colleagues to dig the site.

“This study shatters previous understandings of the sophistication of the Aboriginal toolkit and underscores the universal importance of the Jabiluka area,” Mr O’Brien said.

The study, funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant, promotes discussion about the timing and ways that modern humans first left Africa.

Other UQ researchers involved in the study included Dr Tiina Manne, Dr Andrew Fairburn, Professor James Schulmeister and Kate Connell.

Numerous completed and continuing PhD and honours students Dr Kelsey Low, Dr Xavier Carah, Anna Florin, Delyth Cox, Jessica McNeil and Kasih Norman collaborated on the study. 

The full release can be read here.


The NEC would like to congratulate Dr Clarkson, the Mirarr people and team involved on these finds. 

These exciting dates are vitally important for Australian archaeology as they help to aid our understanding of the length of time that Aboriginal people have occupied the Australian continent”, Professor Lara Lamb, President of the Australian Archaeological Association, said today on learning of the Madjedbebe dates. “For Indigenous people around Australia, such dates help to confirm Aboriginal narratives of their long attachment to country.  These dates and the wider archaeological results from Madjedbebe demonstrate the importance of archaeologists and Aboriginal people working together to build a picture of the occupation of the Australian landmass.  Professor Clarkson and his team are to be congratulated for the strong collaborative partnership developed with the Traditional Owners of the site.

The NEC would also like to encourage anyone who has other interesting or significant news to write in and share with us at



Megan & Annie

Media liaison officers

2017 Monash PhD in Indigenous Cultures and Histories

19th July 2017

Location: Faculty of Arts, Historical Studies Graduate Research Program, Clayton Campus, Monash University.

Supervisor: Professor Lynette Russell, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre

Remuneration: The successful applicant will receive a Faculty of Arts Research Living Allowance. Current value: $26,682 p.a. 2017 full-time rate (tax-free stipend); (indexed plus allowances as per RTP/MGE stipend conditions:

The Opportunity
A PhD position is being sought in the Indigenous Cultures and Histories doctoral program in conjunction with the Deep Time Indigenous Ecologies Focus Program, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, and the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation to explore the history and/ or archaeology of the Taungurung people of Central Victoria. Potential doctoral projects include, but are not limited to, historical and/ or archaeological enquiries exploring people-environment relations, Indigenous water use and limnology, hunting practices, mobility, rock art studies.

The successful candidate will also work alongside researchers in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH), which is a major new research and education initiative that brings together leading Australian universities with strategically important Australian and international partners. CABAH’s goal is to tell the epic story of Australia’s rich and distinctive natural and human history by revolutionising our knowledge of the events and processes that have shaped this nation, and combining that knowledge with cutting-edge modelling techniques to manage and protect our natural and cultural resources into the future. The candidate will have access to interdisciplinary research support where needed, including specialist dating, climate and environmental research.

Please note applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

For further information please click here.


Vale Tony Sagona

11th July 2017

Vale Tony Sagona

With sadness the AASV shares news of the death last Thursday of Emeritus Professor Antonio Sagona.
There will be a public memorial for Tony on Friday the 7th of July, 12:30pm, at St Carthage’s Catholic Church, 123 Royal Pde, Parkville.
It is asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation; envelopes available at the Church.


From “The Age”: Tony was a valued mentor to legions of students, engaging teacher, inspiring supervisor, highly regarded field archaeologist and respected scholar, promoter of bilateral relations between Australia and the Near East and beyond, and passionate advocate for sharing knowledge about the origins of civilization and the ancient world. He was also well known for his warmth, generosity and many acts of kindness and was a wonderful friend who will be keenly missed.
The School together with the Faculty of Arts and the wider University of Melbourne community expresses sincere condolences to Claudia, Amadea and family.”

And from Glyn Davis: “Tony was a member of the University of Melbourne community for over three decades. He completed his PhD – on the archaeology of the Caucasian region in the Early Bronze Age – at the University in 1984, and in the same year was appointed as a lecturer in Archaeology. In 2006 he was appointed to a full Professorship.
Tony was an inspiring teacher, who could hold an audience while he explained how new excavations in Turkey revealed the story of humankind moving from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers who first began to build settlements. More recently he made major contributions to the excavation of the Gallipoli peninsula, including a book in 2016 on the archaeology of the battlefield, as well as numerous public talks on the archaeological findings of this research.
His contributions were recognised by election to the Society of Antiquities in London in 2004 and to the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2005, and by the honour of Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2013.
Colleagues at the University extend deepest sympathies to Claudia Sagona and family, and to all Tony’s colleagues and friends in the Faculty of Arts and beyond.”


The Archaeological & Anthropological Society of Victoria Inc.

PO Box 2013 Carlton 3053 Australia


Kimberley Visions PhD Scholarship Applications

02nd February 2017





Kimberley Visions is a 5 year (2016-2020) ARC and partner-funded research project (LP150100490) that addresses a fundamental question in the study of human symbolic behaviour – why do human groups share the same artistic traditions and why do these traditions change through time? This project will carry out the first detailed comparative analysis of rock art schema from the Kimberley and Arnhem Land. Kimberley Visions will establish enduring, reciprocal relations between researchers, Indigenous communities and not-for profit partners studying and managing a unique rock art legacy. This collaborative venture will explore sophisticated human responses to social and environmental change in deep time that will provide insights in today’s changing world.

Project team

Lead Chief Investigator: Prof. Peter Veth (UWA). Chief Investigators: Dr. Sven Ouzman (UWA), Dr. Bruno David (Monash), Prof. Andy Gleadow (Melbourne), Sam Harper (UWA: Project Manager/Research Fellow), A/Prof. Martin Porr (UWA) & Dr. Leslie-Zubieta-Calvert (UWA). Partners: Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, Dunkeld Pastoral, Kimberley Foundation Australia, & Western Australian Department of Parks & Wildlife.


Kimberley Visions invites applications for 3 PhD research scholarships on:

Scholarship 1: North-Eastern Kimberley Rock Art Analysis

This focus area deals with exploring iconography and style within the NE Kimberley research region in relation to adjacent rock art provinces. Sub-topics can include: researching how rock art, place and identity triangulate; how rock art is an active mechanism by which people manage social and environmental change; and how rock art may contribute to sustainable heritage futures. Supervising institution: UWA.

Scholarship 2: Occupation Records at Rock Art Sites

This focus area deals with establishing occupation histories and human adaptations to place from excavated and related material from key rock art and occupation sites in the NE Kimberley. Sub-topics can include: linking excavated to recorded rock art assemblages; and comparison of excavated assemblages across the research region to identify change and continuity . Supervising institution: UWA.

Scholarship 3: Legacy Rock Art Data Analysis

This focus area deals with a large body of rock art already recorded from the Victoria River region, a key linkage area between the Kimberley and Arnhem Land. The thesis would aim to analyse existing detailed rock art recordings, with the possibility of systematic analyses of patterns of superimposition; statistical comparisons between the three major rock art regions; and constructing a robust database that facilitates comparisons between rock art regions. Supervising institution: Monash University.


Candidates will have the benefit of working on data from over 250 rock art sites and 6 excavations conducted in 2016; as well as conducting primary fieldwork in the Kimberley to collect their own data.



Step 1              Interested candidates should contact Sam Harper, Sven Ouzman, Peter Veth, or Bruno David for initial discussion on proposed PhD work on Kimberley Visions. Applicants should have a research background and a minimum of a 2A for their Honours/Masters degree.

Step 2              If agreement on a potential research topic is reached, submit a CV, academic transcripts and a 1-page statement of interest and topic outline.

Step 3              Applications will be adjudicated and candidates informed of outcomes. Successful candidates would be expected to commence in the first half of 2017, subject to acceptance into the UWA & Monash PhD programmes.

Opening Date for application: 1 February, 2017; Closing date for application: 28 February, 2017


In addition to the 3 Kimberley Visions PhD scholarships, Honours, Masters and PhD candidates are encouraged from 2017-2020 with funding through:

Research Training Program (former Australian Postgraduate Award) Successful applicants receive a scholarship package of up to $29,000 per annum (with UWA top-up) paid as a fortnightly stipend for up to 2 years (Masters) or 3.5 years (PhD). Open: 1 April 2017, Deadline: 21 May 2017. Details: Scholarships

Forrest Scholarships @ UWA. Forrest Scholars receive a scholarship package worth > AU$45,000 per annum for up to four years. 2017 application round: TBA. Details:

International Research Training Program (former International Postgraduate Research Scholarship) Successful applicants receive a scholarship package of ~$29,000 per annum (with Int. Postgraduate Living Allowance Scholarship) including tuition, stipend & health care for up to four years. Open: 1 April 2017, Deadline: 21 May 2017. Details: here.


Successful candidates will receive additional fieldwork and research support from Kimberley Visions

For additional information on   scholarships, go to


Sam Harper on                                              Peter Veth on

Sven Ouzman on                                      Bruno David on

Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area Advisory Committee positions

12th January 2017


Dear Colleagues,

The Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area is forming a new Advisory Committee. There are three positions available for Scientific Representation for specialists with expertise in archaeology, geomorphology, physical anthropology or environmental science.

If you are interested in applying, go to this link ( for more instructions and information as to the role of the committee.

Nominations close on Sunday 22 January 2017.


For any queries contact:

Dan Rosendahl Executive Officer,

Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area

Phone: 03 5021 8908 or 0417 204 237