Researchers

Associate Professor Rachel Popelka-Filcoff; Professor Claire Lenehan; Professor Claire Smith; Associate Professor Amy Roberts; Professor Robert Edwards; Assistant Professor Shanan Tobe

Research overview

Ochre archaeomicrobiology: a new tool for understanding Aboriginal exchange. This project aims to identify the origins and movements of Australian archaeological ochre through the development of a novel tool combining genomic and chemical analysis. The geographic distribution of Australian ochre is closely linked to Aboriginal creation stories, while its physical distribution by people is evidence of cultural cooperation. Using this new archaeomicrobiological technique, the project aims to answer significant questions about past human behaviour, in terms of trade, cultural interactions, territoriality and colonisation. The method also has the potential to benefit traditional owners by contributing to repatriation projects. The collaborative detailed recording, sampling and analysis of ochre sources on traditional lands will also assist Aboriginal communities to manage this important aspect of their cultural heritage.

Current major grants

ARC DP190102219 (2019-2022) $478,500