Dr Jennifer McKinnon

Position/s:Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Department of Archaeology
Phone: +61 8 82015875
Location: Humanities (280)
Postal address: GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia


Jennifer McKinnon has been working in the field of archaeology for over sixteen years and has worked on a number of sites above and below the water. Before commencing as a lecturer at Flinders University, Jennifer worked for two years as a State Underwater Archaeologist for the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. Prior to her position at the state, she taught courses at Florida State University.


Doctor of Philosophy, Anthropology, Florida State University (2010)
Masters of Science, Anthropology, Florida State University (2002)
Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, University of Florida (1997)

Honours, awards and grants

2012 American Battlefield Protection Program Grant, Community Consensus Building for the Protection of WWII-related Caves on Saipan

2011 Vice-Chancellor Early Career Researcher Award

2011 Governor's Humanities Award for Preservation of CNMI Heritage

2011 American Battlefield Protection Program Grant, Management, Monitoring and Interpretive Approaches for WWII Submerged Resources in Saipan

2011 Flinders Staff Grant, In situ Reburial of Wooden Shipwrecks: Acceleration of the Anaerobic Environment

2010 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Northern Mariana Islands Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar

2009 American Battlefield Protection Program Grant, Developing a WWII Underwater Maritime Heritage Trail in Saipan, CNMI

2009 HASS on the Hill delegate; Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

2009 Flinders Research Grants Scheme, Northern Mariana Islands Spanish Cultural Heritage Project: Historical and Archaeological Assessment

2009 Flinders Innovation Grant, Development of Innovative Learning Materials to Support a Three-Step Cross-Disciplinary and Current Understanding of Underwater Sciences

2008 Postgraduate & Early Career Researcher Workshop on Leadership and Management in Research on Asia and the Pacific 2008, ARC Asia Pacific Futures Research Network

2008 Flinders Faculty Research Budget Time Release Support Grant

2007 University Research Budget: Projects Grant, Florida's Lifesaving Stations: Archaeological and Historical Investigations, Flinders University

2007 Flinders Faculty Research Maintenance Grant, South Australia's Lifesaving Stations: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation

2006 Flinders Faculty Research Maintenance Grant, Kangaroo Island Shipwreck Mariners Relief Stations: An Archaeological Investigation

2006 Flinders University Research Budget: Projects Grant, Florida's Lifesaving Stations: Archaeological and Historical Investigations

Key responsibilities

Jennifer currently serves on PhD thesis committees in the Department of Archaeology.

Research and supervision

Research interests

My research interests and experience involve Spanish colonial archaeology sites, specifically Spanish mission sites, landing sites, and shipwrecks. My experience on Spanish sites began in 1997 at a 16th century site in St. Augustine, Florida. In 2000 and 2001 I spent two field seasons excavating 17th century Spanish mission sites in Tallahassee, Florida. My Masters thesis (2002) investigated a 17th century Spanish landing site in the St. Marks River, where goods were transported to inland missions. In 2004 I participated in a survey of 13 Spanish shipwrecks (1733 fleet) off the Florida Keys and an unknown 17th century Spanish shipwreck (Mystery Wreck) off Vaca Key in 2005.

Recently I am conducting research into Spanish efforts in Micronesia, specifically the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Spanish cultural heritage continues to play a role in social, cultural and political developments in Micronesia and can contribute to a broader understanding of Indigenous and Spanish histories on the Pacific. Thus Spanish cultural heritage should be appropriately identified and incorporated into a cultural heritage management and research framework in the CNMI. Unfortunately, this is not the case and this heritage is long overdue for serious investigation and research in the CNMI.

As a result, in 2009 I developed a project to investigate the potential for research on Spanish cultural heritage in the CNMI. This project  included documenting Spanish cultural heritage by identifying known and potential heritage recorded in disparate sources such as grey literature, primary and secondary historical sources located in library, archive and museum holdings and conversations with heritage practitioners. The methodology included a thematic assessment framework whereby known and potential heritage sites were categorised into themes and sub-themes. The results of this project have been published and current funding is being sought for research on specific sites.

*See section below on Community Engagement for more research interests.


Refereed journal articles
  • McKinnon, J., Wesley, D., Raupp, J. and Moffat, I.A. (2013). Geophysical Investigations at the Anuru Bay Trepang Site: A New Approach to Locating Macassan Archaeological Sites in Northern Australia. The Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, 37 pp. 106-112. [Link]

Professional and community engagement

Two important areas of research within the field of maritime archaeology are cultural heritage management and maritime heritage tourism. Heritage managers are specifically concerned with the requirement to balance human impacts with the protection of submerged archaeological sites. Now more than ever it is important to create sustainable programs for submerged heritage in which historical, economic and socio-political needs are considered. My approach to this process involves collaborative research - I feel that management decisions and strategies should be supported by solid research and that researchers should work with managers to ensure the best possible outcomes for their heritage.

Currently I am directing a research project which takes a scholarly, theoretical and practical perspective to exploring the strategies and issues involved in creating a heritage trail for sustainable heritage tourism in Saipan, CNMI. The development of a WWII underwater heritage trail focussing on the Battle of Saipan has recently been undertaken. This trail was formulated out of the interest of the local Historic Preservation Office's desire to protect and interpret its underwater cultural heritage. Through a American Battlefield Protection Program grant in collaboration with a non-profit, Ships of Exploration and Discovery Research, this trail was developed during 2009-2010. Click here for Prezi.

The development of a heritage trail that interprets such a confronting, painful and tragic even for multiple culture groups is a difficult task. A balanced approach of interpreting battlefield heritage can only be achieved through the identification and inclusion of the various stakeholders and an awareness of what is being included, ignored or inadequately represented in the interpretation. Listening to the multiple stakeholders' views about the significance of such sites and incorporating those views into interpretive and management practices is key to an inclusive and shared interpretation. Further, an awareness and acknowledgment of the social and political context in which one is working is fundamental to understanding how practitioners negotiate this process.

Expertise for media contact

  • Cultural Heritage Management
  • Maritime Archaeology
  • Spanish Colonial Archaeology
  • Underwater Cultural Heritage Management
  • Pacific Archaeology
  • WWII Heritage


  • Archaeology
  • Marine science

Further information

Professional Service and Memberships
President, Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (2011-2013)
Appointed Member, South Australian Heritage Councile (2011-2013)
Chair, South Australia Maritime Heritage Working Group (2011-2013)
Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities (2011-2013)
Research Associate, Ships of Exploration and Discovery, Inc. (2009-present)
Director of Studies, Bachelor of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology (2008-2011)
Coordinator, Bachelor of Arts, School of Humanities (2008-2011)
Vice-Chair Organizer, Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology and Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology 2008 Conference, Adelaide
Flinders Emerging Technologies User Group (2008-2010)
Committee Member, Humanities International Programs Committee, School of Humanities (2007-2009)
Committee Member, Society for Underwater and Historical Research, South Australia (2007-2011)
Editor, Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Newsletter (2006-2009)
Councilor, Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (2006-20011)
Tutor, Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology/Nautical Archaeology Society Training (2006-2013)
Member, Register of Professional Archaeologists (2004)
Member, Society for Historical Archaeology (1999-present)


inspiring achievement