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Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, Monash University

Chris Urwin is a research fellow at Monash University and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. He conducts archaeological and museum-based research with Indigenous communities in Australia and the Pacific. He researches how people build places through time, and how personal and community histories are constructed when artefacts are collected and exchanged. Urwin has held a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and worked as curator for the First Peoples archaeology collection at Museums Victoria (Melbourne).

Chris completed his PhD at Monash University in 2019, for which he worked with two villages in Orokolo Bay (PNG) to establish radiocarbon chronologies for their ancestral sites, alongside a program to document local oral traditions. This research has helped improve our understanding of the history of exchange and social change on PNG's south coast. Chris enjoys communicating archaeology and anthropology for a popular audience. From 2017-2019 he was social media officer for the Australian Archaeological Association.

Experience

  • 2022–present
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Monash University
  • 2021–2022
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Smithsonian Institution
  • 2020–2021
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Monash University
  • 2019–2020
    Senior curator, Museums Victoria
  • 2015–2018
    Teaching associate, Monash University

Education

  • 2019 
    Monash University, Doctor of Philosophy
  • 2013 
    Monash University, Honours / Australian Indigenous Archaeology

Publications

  • 2022
    Remembering removal: Indigenous narratives of colonial collecting practices in the Gulf of Papua (Papua New Guinea), The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History
  • 2021
    Engaging and designing place: Furnishings and the architecture of archaeological sites in Aboriginal Australia, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea
  • 2021
    The Development (and Imagined Reinvention) of Australian Archaeology in the Twentieth Century, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea
  • 2021
    Swamp and Delta Societies of the Papuan Gulf, Papua New Guinea, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea
  • 2021
    Engaging and designing place: Furnishings and the architecture of archaeological sites in Aboriginal Australia, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea
  • 2021
    Combining oral traditions and bayesian chronological modeling to understand village development in the Gulf of Papua (Papua New Guinea), Radiocarbon
  • 2021
    Archaeology: Western Science or Global Practice?, Current World Archaeology
  • 2021
    50 years and worlds apart: Rethinking the Holocene occupation of Cloggs Cave (East Gippsland, SE Australia) five decades after its initial archaeological excavation and in light of GunaiKurnai world views, Australian Archaeology
  • 2020
    2000 Year-old Bogong moth (Agrotis infusa) Aboriginal food remains, Australia, Scientific Reports
  • 2020
    How long have dogs been in Melanesia? New evidence from Caution Bay, south coast of Papua New Guinea, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
  • 2020
    Worked bone and teeth from Orokolo Bay in the Papuan Gulf (Papua New Guinea), Australian Archaeology
  • 2019
    Excavating and interpreting ancestral action: Stories from the subsurface of Orokolo Bay, Papua New Guinea, Journal of Social Archaeology
  • 2018
    The chronology of Popo, an ancestral village site in Orokolo Bay, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea, Australian Archaeology
  • 2016
    Hearing the evidence: Using archaeological data to analyse the long-term impacts of dugong (Dugong dugon) hunting on Mabuyag, Torres Strait, over the past 1000 years, Australian Archaeology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2021
    Applying high-resolution chronological modelling to historicise the recent archaeological past (past 500 years): Jiwarrjiwarra 1, Marra Country, Northern Territory
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
  • 2020
    Entwined Narratives of Indigenous Voyaging and American Collecting: Pacific Canoes in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution
    Role:
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • 2017
    User Access Grant: High-resolution radiocarbon chronologies for the phased development of Popo Ancestral Village in Papua New Guinea (PNG)
    Role:
    Co-Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
  • 2016
    Dating the Miruka clan suburb of Popo Ancestral Village, Orokolo Bay
    Role:
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Archaeological Association Student Reserach Grants Scheme
  • 2016
    Dating the ancestral migration village site of Popo, Orokolo Bay, Papua New Guinea.
    Role:
    Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Archaeological Association
  • The World Archaeological Congress
  • The Archaeological & Anthropological Society of Victoria
  • Museum Ethnographers Group
  • Australian Association for Pacific Studies

Research Areas

  • Pacific Cultural Studies (200210)
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Archaeology (210101)
  • Archaeology Of New Guinea And Pacific Islands (Excl. New Zealand) (210106)
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology (160104)
  • Pacific History (Excl. New Zealand And Maori) (210313)