Humans Through Time and Space > Colonialism, Capitalism and Cosmopolitanism

Associate Professor Amy Roberts, Dr Mick Morrison, Dr Ian Moffat, Associate Professor Heather Burke

Collaborating Institutions:
River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation; Australian Landscape Trust

Building on a pilot project that explored the extent and nature of contact and post-contact interactions on Calperum Station and the wider central Murray River region, SA, this project is the first comprehensive study of the colonial frontier in South Australia’s Riverland. This was a region that was the scene of nationally significant colonial endeavours, coupled with violence towards Aboriginal people. While previous studies have focused on discrete events from the historical record, this project will to use a multi-layered strategy to explore this past and present. By coalescing archaeological, anthropological and oral history evidence this project expects to generate meaningful narratives for and with Aboriginal descendants. These insights should substantially contribute to understandings about the colonial frontier in Australia and globally.

Current major grants:
ARC Linkage Project 170100479 (2018-2020)

Current postgraduate projects:
Simon Munt (PhD) A Technological and Functional Analysis of Flaked Stone and Glass Technology from Frontier Conflict Regions around Calperum Station, South Australia.
Supervisors: Amy Roberts and Mick Morrison.

Mia Dardengo (Master of Archaeology and Heritage Management) Culturally Modified Trees at Calperum Station, South Australia.
Supervisors: Amy Roberts and Mick Morrison

Project Link:
Calperum Station Project

Selected Publications

Roberts, A.L., H. Burke, A. Pring, J. Zhao, C.T. Gibson, R.S. Popelka-Filcoff, J. Thredgold, C. Bland and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation 2018 Engravings and rock coatings at Pudjinuk Rockshelter No. 2, South Australia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 18: 272-281. DOI:

Burke, H., A.L. Roberts, M. Morrison, V. Sullivan and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation 2016 The space of conflict: Aboriginal/European interactions and frontier violence on the Western Central Murray, South Australia, 1830-1841. Aboriginal History 40:145–179.

Roberts, A.L., W. van Duivenvoorde, M. Morrison, I. Moffat, H. Burke, J. Kowlessar, J. Naumann and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation 2017 ‘They call ‘im Crowie’: An investigation of the Aboriginal significance attributed to a River Murray barge in South Australia. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 46(1):132–148.

Completed Theses:
Sullivan, V. 2014 Frontier Conflict Along the Central-Murray River in South Australia: A Spatial Reconstruction Approach to the Archaeology of Conflict. Master of Archaeology, Flinders University. Supervisors: Heather Burke and Amy Roberts.