Mirani is a Lecturer in Archaeology in the College of Arts, Society and Education and previously, she was a Lecturer in Cultural Heritage at the University of Canberra (2020-2021). Mirani received a Bachelor of Archaeology (Hons) from Flinders University and a PhD in Archaeology from the Department of Archaeology and Natural History at the Australian National University. Her doctoral research explored early globalisation in islands through an exploration of the archaeological record of the Maldives during the first millennium AD, focusing on cowry shell money.

Mirani's research focus is in coastal and island archaeology, the archaeology of cross-cultural encounters, early globalisation, conflict and warfare, and archaeomalacology. Her regional focus includes Australia and the Indian Ocean and she has been involved in research projects from Australia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. Mirani is currently a Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project: 'Before Cook: Contact, Negotiation and the Archaeology of the Tiwi Islands'. This project will redefine, deepen and reconcile divergent narratives of early cultural encounters between Tiwi Traditional Owners, the Dutch, Macassans and British. Mirani is also an Associate Investigator on the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH).  

Outside of academia, Mirani has worked as a heritage consultant in South Australia, the ACT, Victoria and New South Wales.

  • Archaeomalacology
  • Cross-cultural exchange
  • Shell money
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology
  • Island and coastal archaeology
  • Indian Ocean archaeology
  • Research-led teaching
  • Critical pedagogy
  • 2021 to present - Lecturer in Archaeology, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2021 - Discipline Lead in Heritage and Conservation, University of Canberra (Canberra)
  • 2020 to 2021 - Lecturer in Cultural Heritage, University of Canberra (Canberra)
  • 2019 to 2020 - Project Manager, ARC Laureate Project 'Collective Biography of Archaeology in the Pacific' (Canberra)
  • 2016 to 2018 - Sessional Lecturer (Cultural Heritage), University of Canberra (Canberra)
  • 2011 to 2018 - Sessional Lecturer (Archaeology and Cultural Heritage), The Australian National University (Canberra)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2015 - Ulm-Ross Prize for Best Paper in Australian Archaeology
  • 2006 - University Medal, Flinders University
  • 2022 - Association of Critical Heritage Studies
  • 2022 - International Council for Archaeozoology
  • 2020 - Australian Museums and Galleries Association Inc.
  • 2009 - Australian Archaeological Association
  • 2020 - Visiting Fellow in Archaeology, Australian National University
  • 2020 - Book Review Editor, Australian Archaeology
  • 2019 - Associate Research Fellow in Archaeology, Flinders University
  • 2018 - Editorial Board, Kapata Arkeologi (Balai Arkeologi Maluku)
  • 2018 - Editorial Board, Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia
  • 2017 to 2021 - Public Officer, Australian Archaeological Association

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 29+ research outputs authored by Dr Mirani Litster from 2016 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

DP200100559 Before Cook: Contact, Negotiation and the Archaeology of the Tiwi Islands

Indicative Funding
$63,921 over 3 years (administered by Flinders University)
This project will redefine, deepen and reconcile divergent narratives of early cultural encounters between the Dutch, Macassans, British and Indigenous Australians and the responses of Traditional Owners to globalisation. Focussing international attention on the Tiwi Islands will contribute to the Northern Territory tourism economy. National heritage areas have significant potential to contribute to local Indigenous tourism enterprises. The project will create substantial international collaborations between Australia, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Indigenous Australians. It will contribute to capacity building for Traditional Owners to manage the nationally and internationally outstanding cultural heritage values of the Tiwi islands and provide many allied social, health and economic advantages for the Indigenous community to be on country.
Daryl Wesley, Wendy Van Duivenvoorde, Michael Smith, Peter Monteath, Rachel Popelka-Filcoff, Kellie Pollard and Mirani Litster (Flinders University, Charles Darwin University, College of Arts and Society & Education)
Tiwi Islands; Archaeology; Island and Coastal; Cultural Encounters

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Millenial-scale Variability in Lizard Island Group Mollusc Exploitation: Studying Mollusc remains to understand Past Aboriginal Shellfishing practices and Reef Resource use for Future Reef Conservation (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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