McNiven, Ian J. and David, Bruno and Barker, Bryce (2006) The social archaeology of indigenous Australia. In: David, Bruno and Barker, Bryce and McNiven, Ian J., (eds.) The social archaeology of Australian indigenous societies. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, Australia, pp. 2-19. ISBN 0855754990
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In some respects lack of relevant imagery for what ancient Indigenous Australians did in the past reflects a general ignorance of the fruits of archaeological research and poor public education (Balme & Wilson 2004). But we also suggest that the problem lies elsewhere. We contend that the issue is not so much about selling the 'product' of archaeological research as about the nature of the 'product' being produced by archaeologists. We cannot expect the public to easily imagine the rich and varied lives of Aboriginal peoples living 1000, 5000, 10 000 or even 40 000 years ago if archaeology always focuses on diet and stone tools and changing adaptations to different environments through time and across space. The history of 'hunter-gatherer' societies is like the history of any society. It concerns the ways that people interacted with each other in the past, and about ways people structured - and were structured by - their social and ecological settings. This 'social' archaeology is an explicit attempt to access a peopled past through the material remains of that past. This book explores such social archaeologies and the varied ways of understanding the history of Indigenous Australian through archaeological practice. In doing so, it honours the work of Harry Lourandos who, for some thirty years, has been pivotal to the establishment of a social archaeology in Australia.
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