Dr Mick Morrison

Senior Lecturer

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

place Humanities Building (107)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I am an archaeologist specialising in Indigenous Australian archaeology. The two major themes in my research focus on: (1) Indigenous foodways and economies during the Holocene, and; (2) cross-cultural entanglements, political economies and the role of Indigenous foodways and labour in the negotiation of new structures of power during the early colonial period. Much of this work focusses on two key sites: the Weipa-Coen region, in Cape York Peninsula, and the Riverland region, on the Murray River in South Australia.

I teach into the Bachelor of Archaeology and Graduate Program in Archaeology and Heritage Management, with responsibilities for a range topics in Indigenous archaeology, archaeological research methods, environmental archaeology, professional archaeology, and Indigenous heritage management. I supervise students at all levels (Honours, Masters and Doctoral) and prospective research students are welcome to contact me about supervision.

Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours), James Cook University
Doctor of Philosophy (Archaeology), Flinders University
Honours, awards and grants

Vice Chancellor's Early Career Researcher Award (2015), Flinders University.

Key responsibilities

Course Coordinator — Graduate Program in Archaeology and Heritage Management

Research expertise
Research interests

My research focuses on the archaeological investigation of Aboriginal political economy through the historical period and into the pre-contact past. I also have an active research interest in Aboriginal Caring for Country frameworks and holistic approaches to heritage management.

My primary research work has explored the economic strategies that Aboriginal people employed through the past several thousand years in tropical coastal Australia. The case study for this work has been coastal shell midden site near Weipa in far north Queensland. Field and laboratory work for this project took place between 2000–2006 however I have recently commenced a new field project targetting previously uninvestigated sites in the region, in collaboration with the Alnigth people. Excavation work is planned for 2014–15.

My second key research interest is how Aboriginal political economies changed in association with the arrival of Europeans in western Cape York Peninsula, and in particular, Moravian and later Presbyterian Missionaries from the 1890s onwards. This has included extensive oral history and cultural mapping work extending over a decade as well as archaeological survey and excavation work. I am interested in the way that Aboriginal political economies were influenced (and were influenced by) the establishment of the missions, particularly through changing ways that both Church and State engaged with Indigenous Australians in the late 19th and early 20th Century. My present focus in 2014 is publishing results of work conducted between 2008-2011 as well as preliminary excavations in 2015.

Teaching interests

My teaching responsibilities vary from year to year, but I regularly run the following topics:

  • ARCH2106/ARCH8801: Archaeological Field Methods.
  • ARCH8021: Introduction to Professional Archaeology
  • ARCH3109: Environmental Archaeology (with Prof. Donald Pate)
  • ARCH8309a: Advanced Research Projects
Supervisory interests
Coastal archaeology
Contact archaeology
Indigenous archaeology
Indigenous heritage issues
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: colonialism, historical archaeology, indigenous archaeology, north queensland, mining (1)
Associate supervisor: Indigenous heritage management, caring for country, cultural heritage management, working on country, colonialism, Murray River and Coorong (1), North Queensland, historical archaeology, labour recruiting practices, colonialism (1), Coastal archaeology, Indigenous food and foodways, shell middens, climate and society (1)
Associate supervisor: Cultural heritage management (1)
Expert for media contact
Aboriginal issues
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Aboriginal issues
  • Archaeology
  • Heritage