Talk:Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology

Latest comment: 6 years ago by InternetArchiveBot in topic External links modified

historical archaeologyEdit

Given is concerned with societies that had 'writing', and given language is archaeology as are words and signs etc, that then leads to art motifs also being a similar means of transmitting communication - why this delination re 'writing'. A prehistoric society (such as Indigenous Australia) might have plenty of art work that tells story in an alternate form often with more depth than 'English' ever could - so why does historical archaeology only deal with societies that have 'writing', (whatever writing is).

Methinks the 'prehistory' tag is more about heritage assessors abilty to process some info rather than being about some groups of people while excluding some others.

In other words, words/writing fail to qualify as a qualifier.

Just a thought -


Who said anything about prehistory (generally considered to be an outmoded term) on the page about historical archaeology? The point is that as a practice historical archaeology deals with both documentary evidence in a wider variety of forms and with material evidence (artefacts ...etc) and their archaeological contexts. Many historical archaeologists also work in the area of Aboriginal archaeology and others choose not to. It is a distinction about the practice of archaeology, how it is done by archaeologists, rather than some form of exclusion.
Iain Stuart 04:56, 3 June 2007 (UTC)IainIain Stuart 04:56, 3 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Clicking on the 'historical archaeology' link on the article page, leads to a talk about prehistory.

Its taught by recent Australian university arch courses that civilised societies are those that record their history (in witing?). Societies that do not do this are considered not civilised.

Its this I do not necessarily agree with given the rich source of history contained in Indigenous art, though Indigneous art is not generally considered by the scientific archaeology profession to record Indigenous hisotry, archaeology instead trying to order the motifs within Indigenous art collections (e.g. in one location) into groups such as fish, kangarooos, people etc. to find their meaning. Ordering Indigenous art in this manner is not how it should be categorised then interpreted.

The Ancestors did not come through Oz in mass as though they just alighted from the Ark.

Now we have one archaeologist recently claiming the Australian Mt Olympus because of a mass of artwork in one place, (Blue Mtns). I am not sure how a mass of artwork establishes the Australian Mt Olympus. Maybe that Mt is also at the Art Gallery of NSW? Two of them? (Just one actually and its neither the previous.)

Also, archaeology seemingly discounts interpretation of Indigenous art by current people well versed in Indigenous culture, suggesting only the 'initiated' can interpret such art.

How an archaeologist would know who is or isnt initiated is a bit of a mystery given that process is a cultural one and the initiated know who else is. Archs would not do initiation would they as it is not science based.

I think Australian archaeology needs to rejig itself a bit or it will continue to run with blunders such as where THE Bogong Mtn is with the resulting mislocation then throwing a heap of other stuff in SE Oz, right out. Cheers - jacqui

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