The archaeology of Indigenous Australia is structured to introduce major debates in the prehistory and history of Greater Australia or Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania). The focus of study is Greater Australia because for the majority of the period of human occupation (debated to extend to 60-40,000 years ago), this area was one land mass. The first set of lectures and tutorials focus on major debates concerning the origins of Indigenous Australians, timing of first settlement, megafaunal extinctions and environmental transformations. The second set moves forward from deep history to consider the different Holocene prehistories of Australia and New Guinea, the social and environmental impacts of European colonisation, Indigenous perspectives on archaeological knowledge and practice, and the politics of archaeological practice in contemporary Australia. These substantive and ethical issues are central to understanding the role of archaeology in contemporary Australian society.
This topic aims to: