This thesis examines the propos it ion that problem oriented research is necessary for the effective management of Queensland’s archaeological resource. An examination of Queensland public archaeology indicates that an emphasis is placed on descriptive site recording while problem oriented research plays a minor role.
A problem oriented research project was undertaken on Moreton Island to establish a case for archaeological significance. A model of Aboriginal settlement and subsistence derived from ethnographic literature and environmental data is used to establish a predictive model for settlement areas . This is then compared to the results of a probability survey using site recording methods designed to approximate those currently used in Queensland public archaeology.
The results of the probability survey were checked one year later by a resurvey of selected quadrats using more comprehensive site recording methods. It was found that a large percentage of the sites had either disappeared, altered or the recorder’s interpretation of them changed due to new data. There is, however, a close correlation between the predictive model and the survey results, although the interpretation of the settlement pattern for some areas of coastline remains problematical.
The results of this survey were then compared to those of two previous surveys which were not problem oriented. The assessments of significance derived from these surveys are also discussed.
The question of the archaeological significance of Moreton Island is placed within the framework of current significance assessment in Queensland. A case study using Moreton Island is presented to illustrate the ad hoc and capricious nature of significance assessment.
It is concluded not only that the descriptive site record in approach to Queens land public archaeology is inadequate to fulfil its porported aims, but also that problem oriented archaeology is essential if management of the archaeological resource is contemplated. Recommendations are made concerning alternative strategies that might be implemented to more effectively preserve the archaeological resource.