A recent phase of Aboriginal occupation in Lawn Hill Gorge: a case study in ethnoarchaeology

Robins, Richard and Trigger, David (1989) A recent phase of Aboriginal occupation in Lawn Hill Gorge: a case study in ethnoarchaeology. Australian Archaeology, 29: 39-51.

Author Robins, Richard
Trigger, David
Title A recent phase of Aboriginal occupation in Lawn Hill Gorge: a case study in ethnoarchaeology
Journal name Australian Archaeology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0312-2417
Publication date 1989
Sub-type Article (original research)
Issue 29
Start page 39
End page 51
Total pages 13
Place of publication Brisbane, Australia
Publisher Australian Archaeological Association
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The use of ethnography in Australian archaeology has become an accepted device for the formulation of arguments to assist archaeological interpretation. The 'ethnographic background' forms a chapter for almost every archaeological thesis and many of the articles produced in the Australian archaeological 'trade journals' relate archaeology to ethnography in some way. One interesting and paradoxical aspect of Australian archaeology is the overwhelming use of ethnohistorical or ethnographic sources in preference to ethnoarchaeological ones. Reduced to its simplest form this means that archaeologists undertaking research on Aboriginal archaeology and who rely on ethnographic analogy to develop their arguments, prefer to do so from ethnohistorical or ethnographic sources rather than undertaking ethnographic research themselves.

The question can be posed: if archaeologists working in Australia need ethnographic analogy, and it would appear many do, why is so little ethnoarchaeological work undertaken to obtain data which may offer new insights to assist the interpretation of the archaeological record? Answers to this question relate to a complex set of issues, including an ambivalent attitude to the relationship between social anthropology and archaeology in Australia which varies from seeing them as separate disciplines to viewing archaeology as a subdiscipline of anthropology. In some universities social anthropology is not taught as part of training in archaeology and archaeologists may lack the anthropological skills to conduct ethnoarchaeology. Other factors include the expense of undertaking long term research in remote areas, access to those remote areas and effective supervision by archaeologists of projects that may include a significant social anthropological component. Answers to the questions that archaeologists ask may simply not require an ethnoarchaeological perspective. In this paper it is argued that the lack of ethnoarchaeological work also relates to poorly defined notions of ethnoarchaeology, analogy and Aboriginality.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Mon, 09 Sep 2013, 11:14:09 EST by Debbie Lim on behalf of School of Social Science