Current Research Projects

Rudolph Alagich
Supervisor: Professor Margaret Miller


Caitlin Allen

Caitlin Allen
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke
Associate Supervisor: Dr Steve Brown

In Situ Conservation of Historical Archaeological Sites in Australia – Current Practice and Future Directions
The in situ retention of historical archaeological sites following archaeological investigation has been occurring in Australia’s urban centres for the past 30 years. Using interview, survey and observational data collected from heritage professionals and the general public at a number of case study sites my PhD seeks to better understand:

- what the practice currently aims to achieve;
- how people respond to conserved archaeological sites;
- the functions these sites perform;
- whether they produce public benefits or have the potential to and what these benefits might be;
- alternative ways of conceiving of and managing these sites in the future to maximize these benefits.

A specific area of interest is the value placed on the sites being in situ and how this relates to their affective nature.

I chose this topic for my PhD because I have spent many years working with these types of sites and have increasingly questioned the value of the practice in its current form and the lack of any evidence - based policy on the issue. I am interested in alternative ideas of value judgment and management intention for these places that consider function and benefit rather than just fabric conservation and the more traditional range of heritage values.


Diane Barker

Diane Barker
Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts
Associate Supervisor: Professor Peter Magee (Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia)

Mapping Regional Development and Change in Prehistoric Southeastern Arabia: The Bronze Age Settlement at Tell Abraq, United Arab Emirates
Tell Abraq, a settlement on the Persian Gulf Coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is one of the most important multi-period archaeological sites in southeastern Arabia. It is distinguished by a continuous archaeological sequence spanning approximately 2000 years, with a Bronze Age occupation from approximately 2200 to 1250 BC.

My research has two primary aims. Firstly, a detailed study of the architecture and stratigraphy will provide new insights into the diachronic development of a multi-period site in a region characterised by a scarcity of such sites. The intensity of development at Tell Abraq provides an opportunity to undertake a critical analysis of the dynamics of site formation at the local level. The site-specific analysis will lay the foundation for a broader consideration of settlement patterns, occupational intensity, economic spheres of influence and social complexity during the southeast Arabian Bronze Age.

Secondly, although the ceramic assemblage will be used as an aid in clarifying the phasing of the archaeological sequence, Tell Abraq’s uninterrupted stratigraphy also presents a unique opportunity to trace the internal development of the local ceramic sequence during the Bronze Age. Unlike traditional pottery studies, groups of ceramics will be analysed within their stratigraphic contexts, regardless of shape, to identify the ceramic forms in use at Tell Abraq at different times. This exercise will represent a unique ‘point-in-time’ developmental study of ceramic shapes for the mid to late Bronze Age. This investigation will be married with the analysis of the architecture and the stratigraphy in order to present a fully contextualised study of the Bronze Age period at Tell Abraq.


Adam Black
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke


Natalie Blake

Natalie Blake
Supervisor: Dr James Flexner
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke

Economy, Subsistence and Trade in the Late Prehistoric Southeast Solomon Islands: a Makiran case study
My major focus is on the archaeology of the late prehistoric period in the southeast Solomon Islands. I am working as part of an Australian Research Council funded project named ‘Beyond the New World: a 16th century Spanish colony and its impact on indigenous populations in the Solomon Islands’, with Dr Martin Gibbs as Chief Investigator. This project is in close collaboration with the Solomon Islands National Museum and local landowners.

I am looking at a range of cultural markers that have the potential to characterise the late prehistoric period in the southeast Solomon Islands with Mwanihuki, an abandoned village site on the northern coast on Makira as a case study. This site has a number of indicators that show the study area was the location of a highly populated area, with evidence of economic and social intensification in the late prehistoric period. The presence of 16th century Spanish pottery on the surface of the site, intermixed with a dense scatter of chert, along with worked and subsistence shell on a number of middens, as well as rectangular burial structures and house platforms provides a rich source of data to consider these themes.

Initial work was conducted here by Professor Roger Green and Michael W. Kaschko in the 1970s, recent excavations were conducted here in 2010 and 2011 and work is ongoing.


David Brotherson

David Brotherson
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Professor Adrian Vickers

The Demise and Transformation of Angkor: A Study of Ceramics and the Urban Environment
The demise of Angkor is only beginning to be understood in terms of the archaeological record, having been based too long on unreliable historical records. To understand the transformation of Angkor from an urban capital to a scattered group of villages requires the identification of when certain areas cease to be occupied. In general the chronology of domestically produced (Khmer) ceramics are poorly understood and practically unknown for the late- and post-Angkorian periods (14th ­to 18th centuries). Conversely, ceramics produced in China, Thailand and Vietnam were exported extensively throughout Southeast Asia (and beyond) and, due to the variety of contexts in which they are found, offer a finer chronological resolution.

The primary research objective is to use the foreign produced ceramics found at Angkor to date archaeological contexts, specifically, the terminus date of occupation. Pedestrian surveys gather surface collections of ceramics over wide transects of the Angkorian settlement. In conjunction with targeted test pit excavations, areas with promising surface scatters are investigated to establish a chronology for post-Angkorian Khmer ceramics. In addition to ceramic analyses, modifications to the infrastructure of the urban environment (i.e. hydraulic, religious, defensive) are also considered, and how the spatial and temporal implications of these phenomena relate to the population model.


Rebecca Bryant
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor: Dr Patrick Faulkner


David Burke
Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts


Pamela Chauvel
Supervisor: Dr James Flexner
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke

Social aspects of late nineteenth and early twentieth century industrial periods on Maria island, Tasmania, a landscape archaeology approach
The settlement of Darlington on Maria Island in Tasmania has undergone several periods of development, from Aboriginal landscape to penal settlement, to convict probation station, to vineyards and early industry, to cement works. Each short-lived transformation reflected the ideologies and aspirations of its creators as elements of earlier phases were retained but reimagined and reworked.

My thesis examines the landscape of Darlington settlement during two industrial periods in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (1884-96 and 1920-30). I am using archaeological survey, spatial analysis, and historical records to provide a context for how and why elements were reused and altered and to look at the continuities. I want to investigate how a landscape approach to archaeology can inform our understanding of the settlement as a whole as well as domestic sites within it, and in doing so explore issues of labour, capitalist paternalism, community, agency and everyday lived experience.


Jillian Comber
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke

Heritage in the context of dispossession: an analyses of applied cultural heritage and Indigenous people in rural New South Wales: A study of the creation of “dissonant heritage” in the management of the past as a resource in conflict resolution.
The terms “cultural heritage” and “heritage” have multiple meanings. Where once “cultural heritage” had a very specific application to the physical remains of human culture the term and its abbreviation to “heritage” have now evolved into a multiplicity of meanings. These meanings have been usurped for political benefit by both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community. The exploitation of the past for the creation of “heritage” inevitably affects the nature of the resource which could lead to a distortion of the past. The distinction between the past as history and the past as heritage will be examined in association with a rural Aboriginal community in Central NSW, the Bogan River Wiradjuri. The data will be analysed to understand the cultural significance of archaeology and anthropology to the Bogan River Wiradjuri. The archaeological research will contribute to Indigenous representation, identification and understanding. Identity in the modern world creates and is created by the past. The denial of Aboriginal prehistory, occupation and identify through “terra nullius” and cultural appropriation has contributed to the ongoing denial of Aboriginality and inclusiveness. Aboriginal people are relegated to the margins of mainstream Australia through ongoing cultural colonisation and dissonance.


Ghada Daher

Ghada (Rada) Daher
Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts
Associate Supervisor: Dr Ina Kehrberg-Ostrasz

Terracotta Figurines from Beirut, 13 Century BC to 4th Century AD
My PhD research is on Beirut terracotta figurines, from the 13th century BC to the 4th century AD.

The archaeological remains in Beirut are extremely rich in artefacts covering all the important archaeological periods in the Mediterranean from Prehistory through to Classical and on to Ottoman. Preliminary reports on recent excavations in Beirut proved that, contrary to Herodotus, Beirut was established well before the 5th century BC. Through my research I intend to confirm these preliminary reports and provide a detailed specialised study of Beirut terracotta figurines.
My corpus includes around 1400 figurines (most incomplete). I aim to identify the typology, qualitative/quantitative material and investigate their evolution. This new data will help to determine Beirut’s population, the development of its cults, and also the interrelations between typology and local/imported productions. I will also seek to explain the socio-cultural-religious dynamics in the ancient city. Using GIS, I will look at the distribution of the figurines in the city between temples, houses and shops.

I collected 349 samples for chemical analysis. Analyses reports will be incorporated in my thesis and will determine the provenance of the figurines and confirm locally made/imported types and their concentration in the city.

This data will help to write an account of the missing link in the history of ancient Beirut.


Meg Dains

Meg Dains
Supervisor: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Julia Kindt

Archaeological investigation of the religious landscape of an Aegean Early Iron Age settlement: the case of Emporio
My research project is an archaeological investigation of the religious landscape of settlements in the Aegean in the Early Iron Age, with specific focus on the case study settlement site of Emporio on the island of Chios.

The study employs data from domestic and sanctuary contexts at Emporio and its environs to explore how the religious landscape of the settlement is constituted. It engages with recent scholarship on theories of ritual behaviour, interaction, agency and materiality to reconsider accepted interpretations and models and to develop new understandings. It considers how investigation at the local level contributes to broader debates about Early Iron Age religion.


Ben Dharmendra
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Professor Adrian Vickers


Harriet Donnelly

Harriet Donnelly
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Dr Ted Robinson

Reuse and Transformation in Western and Central European Urbanism 500 - 1000 AD
The period following the demise of the Roman Empire in Western and Central Europe has come to be known as the Dark Ages; a time characterised by decline in the social, economic and political conditions of Europe. The decline and abandonment of Roman towns has been well documented both where abandonment is followed by repopulation such as Londinium and Canterbury, as well as permanent abandonment such as Iruña-Veleia in Hispania. This phenomenon is important in our understanding of the shift in urban practices and development from Roman to post-Roman. However, the period between 500 and 1000 AD was also a period of intense change with shifting power and the expansion of the Viking and Islamic worlds into Western Europe. New urban power centres emerged such as Metz, Paris and Reims in France and Toledo and Cordoba in Spain, which facilitated the development of new trade networks and the communication of knowledge and religion. The introduction of the Islamic urban layout has frequently been excluded from discussions of urban development in this period which have tended towards a central Mediterranean or Northern European focus. However, the Islamic towns of the Iberian Peninsula became a significant part of a new Western European network. That network is to be analysed in terms of a north-south gradient in regards to initial breakdown, reuse and transformation of the urban space. There are three processes within the phenomenon of breakdown and reformation; the decline of old Roman towns, the redevelopment of other Roman sites and the establishment of new towns. Traditional urban markers such as population, density and areal extent as well as changes in function are vital in mapping and understanding how Europe and its new developing cultures and powers remade itself in the context of the declining urban network of the Roman Empire.


Stephen Gale
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock


Denis Gojak

Denis Gojak
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke

Secret visitors to Australia: the disciplinary response to pseudoarchaeological claims
I document and analyse the widespread popular belief that Australia was discovered by secret visitors - other maritime nations prior to the Dutch in 1606. This has been a long-standing vernacular belief despite being contrary to archaeological and historical orthodoxy. Claims for such contacts are often supported by evidence such as misinterpreted natural and human environmental phenomena, skewed readings of historical texts and pseudoarchaeological evidence. The belief in secret visitors remains current in different forms, ranging from the plausible - Spanish shipwrecks on the Queensland coast to preposterous - Egyptian burial chambers near Sydney - to explicit appropriation of arguments to push political ideologies, e.g. multi-migration models of Aboriginal origins favoured by rightwing groups. With the rise of the internet dissemination of such beliefs has increased and many older claims have also been rejuvenated. Managing and responding to these claims is often an onerous and controversial task for public sector heritage managers and archaeologists throughout Australia.

The thesis addresses how professional archaeology and history have dealt with this challenge over two centuries in order to [a] understand the reasons for the belief in secret visitors and its longevity, [b] critically evaluate the evidence put forward to support the claims and [c] identify potential strategies to improve public understanding of archaeology and to enhance critical understanding of the historical past.

For further information please visit the Secret Visitors Project blog


Sandra Gordon

Sandra Gordon
Supervisor: Dr Ted Robinson
Associate Supervisor: Dr Stephen Bourke

Roman Heads, Greek Hearts, Canaanite Souls: A study of culture, religion and identity at Pella of the Decapolis during the Roman period, 63 B.C to c 295 C.E
Pella is a significant archaeological site in northern Jordan, with a record of near continuous human habitation stretching over 14,000 years, from the Epipalaeolithic to the recent past.

The archaeological evidence from Early Roman period Pella has yet to be contextualised regionally although it is (arguably) one of the most significant phases in Pella’s history, heralding a profound shift in the city’s culture, religion, economy and society. In a wider context, Pella is known at this time to have formed part of the Decapolis, ten apparently Greek or heavily Hellenised cities that flourished in the south/central Levant in the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.

The objective of my thesis is to address gaps in our knowledge of Early Roman Pella by analysing data and contextualising it regionally. My approach is to synthesise the various elements of archaeological evidence in order to better reveal the political, economic, cultural and religious influences impacting Pella during the period 63 B.C to c.295 C.E (The campaigns of Pompey the Great in the Levant to the Reforms of Diocletian). Of particular interest is the nature of Pella's relationship with the Decapolis. This comparative investigation is expected to contribute substantially to our overall understanding of culture, religion and identity at Pella and in the Decapolis during this important period of its history.


Balazs Hansel
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor: Dr Leila Haglund


Justin Hewitt

Justin Hewitt
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke
Associate Supervisor: Dr Steve Brown

Understanding Authenticity: The role of tradition design in contemporary heritage management
In a built context, architectural and conservation doctrines of the nineteenth and twentieth century have shaped the way we understand, practice and manage heritage. They have also clearly defined the way in which we interpret the authenticity of heritage, to understand what is real, and what is not.
The principle of this theory is that any intervention to a building must appear contemporary to ensure historical authenticity. The same theory has also broadly evolved to mean that no historical or traditional styles of architecture can be copied, thus ensuring an identifiable and unmistakable period of modern design.
However, historical designs have often been used as a way to manage heritage and continue tradition. Many buildings listed on heritage registers are themselves derived from traditional designs. Yet the practice today is considered to be a falsification of history. So, at what point then did the authentic become unauthentic?
This study will use the practice of traditional design as a case study to examine the meaning and relevance of authenticity in heritage management. The presentation will also evaluate the social response to traditional design, how the public view heritage through design and to what extent authenticity is really valued.


Samantha Judges

Samantha Judges
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher

Spatial Organisation of Crater Cove, Sydney Harbour
The purpose my research is to map and record the settlement of Crater Cove and identify its’ pattern of development from 1920s to 1980s. The study will investigate the informal spatial patterning by the Euro-urban population that was a user/builder space created solely by social preference and not by formal planning or municipal regulations. The study will look at the use of the structures from fishing weekender, squatter camp, to weekend recreation use.


Michael Leadbetter
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Dr James Flexner


Samantha Leggett
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher


Lorraine Leung
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Professor Elizabeth Carter


Michael Lever
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke


Hannah Li

Hannah Li (PhD)
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts

The Tools of State: The Evolution of the Chinese Scholar's Toolkit
The central role of the scholarly elite within political and social spheres in early dynastic China is widely recognized and their writing tools are crucial as both symbols of power and as the practical instruments with which the agendas of the state were carried out. Traditional studies, however, has revealed a tendency to seek a single point of ancestry for these writing tools and, by extension, adopt a linear perspective of the development of not only the material but also that of early Chinese states. This research examines the evolution of the “Scholar’s Desk” assemblage from the Shang to the end of the Han dynasty with a focus on broad geographical and inter-dynastic patterns of interconnection and regional diversity in order to reassess the traditional centrist and linear view of early Chinese state development.


Peta Longhurst

Peta Longhurst
Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke
Associate Supervisor: Dr Peter Hobbins

Materiality and Ideology at North Head Quarantine Station: The archaeology of maritime quarantine
My research is concerned with the ways in which disease has been materialised at sites of human quarantine. Within the context of public health it is places, rather than just people, that are diagnosed as infected. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw earlier ideas about disease transmission such as miasma give way to modern germ theory. This study will consider the extent to which these shifting ideas of public health and contagion were enacted within sites of maritime quarantine. This will be achieved through an archaeological study of the built environment of the North Head Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia. Comparisons will also be made to related sites such as Angel Island in San Francisco. This research forms part of the University of Sydney’s multidisciplinary Quarantine Project.


Joshua Madden
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock


Kristen Mann

Kristen Mann
Supervisor: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont
Associate Supervisor: Professor Margaret Miller

Social living: A methodological consideration of Early Iron Age households, settlement organisation and archaeological interpretation, a
case study of Zagora on Andros

My doctoral research investigates household material, distribution patterns and spatial arrangements at the EIA site of Zagora on Andros. It aims to examine activity patterning, spatial use and household life cycles in order to investigate social organisation at the settlement. It also investigates the extent to which we can use inherited datasets to answer current research questions, and how best we can manage various issues (such as deposition/post depositional processes, and the original sampling and recording methods employed) that affect our ability to draw social inference from excavated household data in a manner that is both constructive and accountable.


Brian Marshall
Supervisor: Dr James Flexner
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Annie Clarke


Robert Maxwell
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher


Kate McAllan
Supervisor: Professor Margaret Miller
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont


Qi Meng
Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts
Associate Supervisor: Dr Peter Jia


Alison Mercieca
Supervisor: Dr Patrick Faulkner


Brett Myers

Brett Myers
Supervisor: Dr Ted Robinson
Associate Supervisor: Professor Margaret Miller

The Visual Interoperability of Lucanian Hill-Forts - A Spatial Analysis
The hill top circuit walls of Lucania are the most obvious extant archaeological remains of the ‘Lucanian’ period (5th to 2nd century BC.) of what is now substantially modern day Basilicata in Southern Italy. The history of scholarship on these fortified enclosures dates back at least to the 19th century (Lacava 1881). Initially thought to be purely places of refuge, subsequent excavation has shown increasing evidence for occupation, often at ‘semi-urban’ level, (Isayev 2001), (Gualtieri 2004), (Osanna 2005), (de Cazanove 2008) with some larger centres assuming a “centralising role in the formulation of institutional and political structures” (Stek 2009: 38).
The fundamental research question I wish to answer is 'were some groups of Lucanian hill-forts in visual communication with each other?' and if so 'do those with visual interoperability define any sort of hierarchal or territorial boundaries?'. A secondary analysis could then examine whether any hypothesised territorial divisions are consistent with other markers such as ceramic distributions, local construction techniques, access points, communication routes, etc.
Lucanian settlement dynamics have often been explained in terms of the ‘pagus-vicus-oppidum’ model. This Italic settlement model is frequently cited as a framework to describe the ‘non-urban nature’ of the relationship between the various fortified centres and the surrounding settlement patterns (Gualtieri 2004, 1987), (Stek 2009). However looking in isolation at any one system obscures the wider implications of such a territorial organization and a supra-regional analysis of the spatial relationship between the fortified centres of Lucania and their topographic setting is still lacking. Also unexplored is the spatial relationship between the fortified centres and associated sanctuary sites, delineated burial areas, settlement nucleuses and communication routes.
Topographic data would need to be collected using and evaluated using GIS framework. The examination of the data would include: view shed analysis, virtual landscape reconstruction based on digitised terrain models and least-cost path analysis.
The inclusion of the spatial location of the sanctuary sites, known settlement nucleuses and delineated burial areas could then be integrated for further analysis. Initially all known Lucanian fortified centres could be included in the analysis, however there maybe some benefit in an intensified analysis on a particular geographic or spatial subset.


Ladislav Nejman
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor: Dr Patrick Faulkner


Ameila O'Donnell
Supervisor: Dr James Flexner
Associate Supervisor: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont


Angela Rosenstein
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock


John Sapienza
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock


Michael Spate
Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts
Associate Supervisor: Dr Daniel Penny


Amy Tabrett
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor: Dr Patrick Faulkner


Alix Thoeming

Alix Thoeming
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Dr James Flexner

Birka to the Black Sea: Urban Trajectories in Northern and Eastern Europe
Up until the turn of the first millennium, there have been very few known settlements in Northern and Eastern Europe interpreted as decisively 'urban'. Urban growth in these areas seems to coincide with the growth and expansion of Scandinavian trade routes, most notably in the south-easterly direction of Byzantium and the Caspian. Characterisations of these sites, however, have generally occurred on an individual or regional scale rather than as a whole. While largely consisting of similar characteristics and circumstances, these settlements met different ends; some were abandoned, some superseded, and some persist to this day. This study proposes to use a multiscalar and multivariate approach to determine the reasons for the multiple trajectories of these sites, incorporating various theoretical frameworks as well as others drawn from alternate disciplines.

Contact


Steven Vasilakis

Steven Vasilakis (PhD)
Supervisor: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont
Associate Supervisor: Dr Martin Gibbs

An Archaeological Approach from the Sea: A Seaman’s Perspective of the Maritime Cultural Landscape/Seascape in the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Eastern Aegean
From a Postmodern/Postcolonial perspective, it would be fair to say that over the last few decades there has been a substantial increase in interdisciplinary studies conducted in the Aegean and wider Mediterranean. Following global trends, the sea, as a socio-cultural actor, has entered traditional lines of enquiry otherwise reserved for a Classical and Near Eastern audience. For instance, the Braudelian (and Post-Braudelian) approach to contextualise the longue durée of human maritime endeavour into diverse micro-ecologies has provided a conceptual shift from a Mediterranean dominated by narratives of historical events to a sea of socio-cultural activity.

This research looks at how an archaeological approach from the sea can provide another way of seeing, interpreting, and constructing alternative narratives specific to the social reproduction of ancient maritime culture. The study aims to incorporate anthropological reflections on the archaeology of the eastern Aegean to explore the people’s sense of place and identify specific space-related perceptions that are deeply embedded in the phenomenology of the sea. This study is underpinned by a maritime cultural landscape approach, a theoretical concept widely used in Scandinavia, Britain, and the Asia-Pacific, but yet to be adequately applied to maritime cultural studies in the Aegean and wider Mediterranean.


Hugh Watt
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor Dr Valerie Attenbrow


Amy Mosig Way

Amy Mosig Way (PhD)
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor: Dr Patrick Faulkner

The prehistory of Lake George
My project forms part of an ARC Linkage grant titled 'Landscape evolution, environmental change and human occupation history of Lake George – an outstanding natural archive'. The aim of the project is to examine both the human occupation and environmental prehistory of Lake George.

The Lake George environment is unique in Australia, as a massive, resource rich, upland freshwater lake that has been environmentally varied over both the short and long-terms. There is a significant, and as yet unanswered question about the nature of prehistoric foraging in such a landscape within Australia.

My thesis seeks to characterise a regional sequence of occupation in the Lake George region. To do so, I plan to excavate several sites within the Lake George basin to examine spatial and temporal changes in foraging technologies throughout the occupation period. I aim to contribute to current archaeological debates regarding the nature and role of technology in landscape exploitation and the sequence and timing of technological changes in south eastern Australia. Additionally I plan to contribute to the debate regarding the degree of association or disjunction between environmental and technological changes.


Elizabeth White
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock
Associate Supervisor: Dr Valerie Attenbrow


Kirrily White
Supervisor: Professor Roland Fletcher
Associate Supervisor: Dr Ted Robinson


Robert Williams
Supervisor: Dr James Flexner


Holly Winter

Holly Winter
Supervisor: Professor Alison Betts
Associate Supervisor: Dr Stephen Bourke

Palaces of the Middle and Late Bronze Age Southern Levant (2000-1200 BC): A Functional Analysis
My PhD research investigates the function of Middle and Late Bronze Age palaces in the southern Levant, using a number of particular case studies to address ongoing questions surrounding palatial function during this time.

Levantine palaces were traditionally thought to have functioned as redistributive entities with administration at the core of the organisation. This idea has recently been challenged by new work emerging from the site of Tel Kabri, where researchers have struggled to find adequate archaeological material to support classic interpretations. Instead, they have opted for a new method of viewing the palaces in the southern Levant as essentially independent estates, following the idea of an oikos economy, where redistribution and administration were not the key functions of these supposed administrative hubs. Furthermore, the challenges introduced by the dominance of the Egyptian empire in the Late Bronze Age, associated with deterioration of the building fabric and reduction in both quality and quantity of elite signifiers, suggests that change in social/economic circumstance may be impacting function and power within these complexes as the Late Bronze Age unfolds.

My research aims to analyse the palatial assemblages drawn from a number of key sites, including Kabri, Tell el-‘Ajjul, Megiddo and Shechem, along with a special case study of the site of Pella. Detailed analysis of palace structure and directly associated contexts will seek to identify form and function across the MB-LB period life of many of these structures. I aim to interrogate both traditional and revised models of palace function, and explore alternative possibilities. As well, I hope to produce a gazetteer of all known palaces in the southern Levant, and employ it in an inter-regional comparative analysis with cognate structures found in Syria, Anatolia, Mesopotamia and the Aegean.


Katherine Woo

Katherine Woo
Supervisor: Dr Patrick Faulkner
Associate Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock

Shifting Palaeoeconomies in the East Alligator River Region: An Archaeomalacological Analysis
My research examines the changing economic role of molluscs in the East Alligator River Region, located in the Kakadu National Park, through the analysis of two rockshelter sites: Madjedbebe (also known as Malakunanja II) and Ngarradj Warde Djobkeng. This region has undergone considerable environmental change throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene, drastically altering the environments and ecosystems present in the area. Throughout these environmental changes molluscs played an important role in the economic activities of many groups inhabiting these areas. Through a detailed examination of the midden component of two sites, this project aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of molluscs in the region during these shifting environmental sequences. This project will also use known biological and ecological information for the molluscs present within these assemblages to build on and assess current environmental models for the East Alligator River Region.


Jennifer Wright
Supervisor: Associate Professor Lesley Beaumont
Associate Supervisor: Professor Margaret Miller

Greek Textiles from the Archaic to the Classical Period
Textiles have a number of different functions-clothing, furnishings (such as wall hangings, floor coverings and bed coverings), funerary use (such as a shroud for the corpse or alternatively a wrapping for cremated bones) and offerings to the gods. It is therefore somewhat surprising that the scholarship, both ancient and modern, on ancient Greek textiles has been scarce and scattered. Whilst there has been increased interest in the last twenty or so years, not only in textiles per se but also in their manufacturing, including experiments in the use of loom weights and spindle whorls, this has been scattered among various fields of expertise and perhaps not adequately disseminated or alternatively not noticed by the wider archaeological world. My aim is to take an holistic approach to collect and collate this information in order to consider the following questions:

  1. what types of plant and animal fibres, their association with man and the consequences of that association, were used in this time period in the production of textiles?
  2. how were these fibres used – this will require examination of the production line from raw fibre to finished product.
  3. what conclusions, if any, can be drawn by the application of such a multifaceted approach?

Simon Wyatt-Spratt

Simon Wyatt-Spratt
Supervisor: Professor Peter Hiscock

Core reduction strategies across Australia
My research will explore variations in the way stone artefacts were reduced during the Holocene in order to address questions about the dynamics of cultural change and transmission in Aboriginal societies during this period. Key to my research is the construction and analysis of 3D models of cores from museum collections from across the country. These models will be used to identify regional and chronological patterns of lithic reduction. The results will be examined within the context of the broader archaeological and palaeo-environmental record. My work is part of the project: Traditions, Transformations and Technology in Aboriginal Australia.