Humans Through Time and Space > Environment and Society

Researchers:
Associate Professor Amy Roberts, Dr Michael Morrison, Dr Ian Moffat, Craig Westell and Associate Professor Heather Burke

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

This project explores the historical ecology of the Murray River since the Last Glacial Maximum. Historical ecology adopts the perspective that all human societies initiate complex engagements with natural environments, resulting in often subtle physical patterning with spatial and temporal dimensions (Balée and Erickson 2006:2). Key to understanding these engagements is an holistic research agenda implemented via an interdisciplinary focus on the history of both human societies and the biophysical environment—often at multiple timescales (Balée and Erickson 2006; Crumley 2007; Thompson 2013). An historical ecological framework is beneficial in interpreting archaeological datasets from temperate Australia which indicate significant change through the Holocene. This research is investigating the ways in which Aboriginal people engaged with the rich mosaic of ecosystems that characterised the central Murray River, via a pilot project at Calperum Station (Australian Landscape Trust) and in collaboration with the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation.


Current major grants:

  • International Society for Archaeological Prospection Award
  • ANSTO Research Award AP11268


Funding:

This project is supported by the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board through funding from the Australian Government and the Natural Resources Management levies


Current Postgraduate Projects: 

Craig Westell (PHD) A Tale of Four Rivers: Transformations in the Peopled Landscapes of the Murray River Corridor, Riverland Region of South Australia.
Supervisors: Associate Professor Amy Roberts and Dr Mick Morrison

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

Robert Jones (PhD) An analysis of the ecological, social and economic contexts associated with mid-late Holocene Indigenous earth mounds of three different floodplain regions of Australia. Supervisors: Dr Mick Morrison and Associate Professor Amy Roberts


Completed Theses:

Thredgold, J. 2017 Lithics and Earth Mounds at Calperum Station, South Australia. Unpublished Master of Archaeology thesis, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide.
Supervisors: Associate Professor Amy Roberts and Dr Alice Gorman

Jones, R. 2017 Plains, Plants and Planning: An Analysis of Indigenous Earth Mounds at Calperum Nature Reserve, South Australia. Unpublished Master of Archaeology thesis, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide.
Supervisors: Dr Mick Morrison and Associate Professor Amy Roberts

Incerti, G. 2018 An Analysis of Surface Lithics at Calperum Station, Riverland, South Australia. Unpublished Master of Archaeology thesis, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide.
Supervisors: Associate Professor Amy Roberts and Dr Mick Morrison

Ross, D. 2018 Archaeo-geophysics: Mapping the Magnetic, Resistive and Electromagnetic Past. A Geophysical Study of Indigenous Earth Mounds and Calperum Nature Reserve, South Australia. Unpublished Master of Archaeology and Heritage Management thesis, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide.
Supervisors: Dr Ian Moffat, Dr Mick Morrison and Associate Professor Amy Roberts

 

Selected Publications:

Ross, D., M. Morrison, K. Simyrdanis, A.L. Roberts, I. Moffat and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation (in press). A geophysical analysis of Aboriginal earth mounds in the Murray River Valley, South Australia. Archaeological Prospection.

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: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.12.044

Jones, B., M. Morrison, A.L. Roberts and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation 2017 An analysis of Indigenous earth mounds on the Calperum Floodplain, Riverland, South Australia. Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia 41:18-62.

Thredgold, J., A.L. Roberts and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation 2017 Stone artefacts and earth mounds at Calperum Station, South Australia, Together with a Consideration of Comparative Murray Darling Basin Data. Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia 41, 93-122.

Selected Reports:
Ross, D. The River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation, I. Moffat, M. Morrison and A.L. Roberts  2018 Geophysical and geomatic investigations of the anthropogenic earth mounds of the Murray River Valley, South Australia. ISAP News 2 (54): 3-6.


References
:

Balée, W. and C.L. Erickson 2006 Time, complexity, and historical ecology. In W. Balée and C.L. Erickson (eds), Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands, pp. 1–17. New York: Columbia University Press.

Crumley, C.L. 2007 Historical ecology: Integrated thinking at multiple temporal and spatial scales. In A. Hornborg and C.L. Crumley (eds), The World System and the Earth System: Global Socioenvironmental Change and Sustainability Since the Neolithic, pp. 15–28. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press.

Thompson, V.D. and J.C. Waggoner 2013 The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Small Scale Economies. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.