Thesis abstract ‘Heritage Archaeology in Australia: Analysing the Entangled Cultural Constructions of Aboriginal Heritage by Aboriginal People, Antiquarians and Archaeologists’

13th November 2013

Daniel Leo

BA(Hons), School of Social Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, 2000

In this thesis I combine notions of archaeology and heritage when researching Aboriginal heritage in Australia. This is important as various people from different cultural backgrounds define and use the elements of ancient Aboriginal history in divergent ways. In particular, when archaeologists conduct research they must be aware of, and respond to, the knowledge and interpretations of Aboriginal heritage by two cultural groups. Firstly, archaeologists must consult and learn from the appropriate Aboriginal custodians of such heritage. Secondly, archaeologists must recognise that antiquarians of Australia’s settler society have amassed collections of ancient objects, and knowledge of ancient places, that are of significance to both archaeological research and to Aboriginal people. Indeed, some antiquarians own the land where such heritage is located, and are therefore crucial to its management.

Consequently, I propose that Aboriginal people, antiquarians and archaeologists form a triad central to the interpretation and management of Aboriginal heritage in Australia. Thus, this triad and its members’ divergent notions of heritage must be understood, and this is achieved in three phases. Firstly, how people culturally construct the historical meanings of an element of heritage. Secondly, how there has been an historical process in Australia where four cultural constructions of Aboriginal heritage have progressively overlaid themselves onto elements of Aboriginal heritage. Lastly, how these two processes are demonstrated by a case study of the knowledge and interpretations that Aboriginal people, antiquarians and archaeologists have of Aboriginal heritage from the Central Burnett Region in Queensland.

Leo, D.
Thesis abstract 'Heritage Archaeology in Australia: Analysing the Entangled Cultural Constructions of Aboriginal Heritage by Aboriginal People, Antiquarians and Archaeologists'
2002
55
46–47
Thesis Abstracts
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