Archaeology and the teaching of frontier conflict in Australia


As archaeologists working in Australia for the past thirty years, we have had the privilege of recording, documenting and excavating hundreds of Aboriginal heritage places. Mostly, these are 'conventional' archaeological sites: places where the detritus of peoples lives has been left, sometimes for thousands of years, allowing us an insight into what it was like to live in this country in times gone by. While the scope of our work is often focused on 'ancient' time periods, when working with our Aboriginal colleagues on such sites, what inevitably emerges during the course of discussions are stories about 'the killing times', or the 'war', as many Aboriginal people remember frontier conflict of the 19th (and in places the early 20th) century. For our Aboriginal colleagues the past and present are intertwined, and they consider that in order to understand the far distant past it is equally important for us to acknowledge and understand what happened in more recent times.


Indigenous peoples--Historiography, Aboriginal Australians--crimes against, Archaeology--Field work, massacres, Genocide--Historiography

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