Articles on Archaeology

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Local people at Tendaguru (Tanzania) excavation site in 1909 with Giraffatitan fossils. Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

It’s time to celebrate Africa’s forgotten fossil hunters

Africa has one of the world's richest fossil records, and evidence suggests that amateurs collected really important fossils long before professionals arrived on the scene.
The so-called ‘prison tree’: over time, myth has coalesced into a ‘fact’ for which there is no evidence. Author provided

Dark tourism, Aboriginal imprisonment and the ‘prison tree’ that wasn’t

There is no evidence to support the marketing of an ancient boab in Western Australia as a tree that once held Aboriginal prisoners. The story is a myth that elides the tree's deep significance to Indigenous people.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway chat. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Seeking truth among ‘alternative facts’

How do we determine what is fact? An archaeologist explains how the answer has changed over time and why it matters so much now.
Marcoo was a 1.4 kilotonne ground-level nuclear test carried out at Maralinga in 1956. The contaminated debris was buried at this site in the 1967 clean-up known as Operation Brumby. Author provided

Friday essay: trace fossils – the silence of Ediacara, the shadow of uranium

History is writ large in the remote areas around Woomera and the Nullarbor: from the fossils of microscopic, cell-like creatures to ancient stone tools to the deitrus of rocket tests and the painful legacy of the Maralinga atomic blasts.
Children representing the diversity of contemporary multicultural Australia stand near a sign depicting an ‘idealised’ white Australia. Blackwood Recreation Centre, South Australia, 2015. Photo: C. Smith

The markers of everyday racism in Australia

How might an Aboriginal person in the Northern Territory experience racism? There are many material signs that can make a person feel excluded from society.
Third-year archaeology student Dominic Coe replicates a painting of rhino based on the original image in France’s Grotte Chauvet. Supplied

Why we built an artificial cave to teach our students about ancient art

In an ideal world, students might visit original cave sites to see ancient paintings in their natural setting. This isn't possible, so the idea of an artificial cave set-up at a university was born.
The 2007 midwinter solstice illumination of the main altar tabernacle of Old Mission San Juan Bautista, California. Rubén G. Mendoza/Ancient Editions

A sacred light in the darkness: Winter solstice illuminations at Spanish missions

At many Spanish missions in the US and Latin America, the rising sun illuminates the altar on the winter solstice or other symbolic days. To the faithful, these events meant that Christ was with them.

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