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TESS Seminar - The Archaeology of Barrow Island: The Atlantis of the Northern Australia

When Sep 20, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where D3.054 Cairns, 145.030 Townsville
Contact Name
Contact Phone 07 4232 1427
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Professor Peter Vethaerial views of Barrow Island with Peter Veth
University of Western Australia


During 2017 two significant and early sites (Boodie Cave from Barrow Island and Madjedbebe from the Northern Territory) have helped recast understandings of Australian archaeology. While the implications of both recently published sites will be discussed, in this talk I will focus on the earliest evidence we now have for coastal – desert occupations from the now-drowned coastal plains of the North West Shelf. Dated to over 51,000 years ago, Boodie Cave and likely other sites from the Carnarvon bioregion, provide unique windows in the old coastlines and vast coastal plains inhabited by early Aboriginal settlers for much of human history and which now lie drowned by up to 125m of ocean. New dates, visualisations and archaeological understandings will be shared from an international research team including faculty from JCU. The presentation will end with a tantalising glimpse in to a landmark project from the Kimberley region where early rock art is being dated back to the last Ice Age. 


Peter is Professor of Australian Archaeology and the Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art at the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management at the University of Western Australia. He has worked in many parts of the north-west of Australia including the Pilbara, Kimberley and Western Desert. Peter has also carried out collaborative work in East Timor, the Aru islands, Torres Strait and Pitcairn Island. He has been involved in rock art and maritime archaeology projects throughout Australia and in 2012-2013 served as the Consultant for the Walkley award-winning series First Footprints. Peter is currently Head of the Archaeology Section of the Australian Academy of Humanities.  

Centre for Tropical Environmental & Sustainability Sciences

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