Rhys Jones (archaeologist)

Rhys Maengwyn Jones (26 February 1941 – 19 September 2001) was a Welsh-Australian archeologist.[1]


Jones was born in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales and educated at Whitchurch Grammar School, Cardiff. He was an undergraduate at Emmanuel College, Cambridge where Graham Clarke, Eric Higgs and Charles McBurney were his instructors in archaeology. He spoke Welsh fluently.

He arrived in Australia in 1963 to take up a teaching position at the University of Sydney, where he later completed his PhD on Tasmanian Aboriginal archaeology. In 1969 he moved on to the Australian National University where he spent the rest of his career. He was an Honorary Professor of the University of Wales, Newport, and a Fellow of the University of Wales, Lampeter. For one year, he was Australian Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

He was a key figure in dating the arrival of Aboriginal Australians, first with radiocarbon dating and later with luminescence techniques, and, more generally, in the study of the archeology of Indigenous Australians.

He was credited with naming the Aboriginal practice of "cultural burning" as fire-stick farming.[2]


The Australian Archaeological Association awards the Rhys Jones Medal annually. It is the highest award offered by the Australian Archaeological Association.


  1. ^ "Rhys Maengwyn Jones". Australian Archaeology Association. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  2. ^ Bird, R. Bliege; Bird, D.W.; Codding, B.F.; Parker, C.H.; Jones (30 September 2008). "The "fire stick farming" hypothesis: Australian Aboriginal foraging strategies, biodiversity, and anthropogenic fire mosaics". PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). 105 (39): 14796–14801. doi:10.1073/pnas.0804757105. Retrieved 9 January 2020.

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