Department of Ancient History

Associate Professor Shawn Ross

Associate Professor Shawn Ross Image 2

PhD, University of Washington, Seattle

Office: W6A 510
Telephone: (02) 9850 7010
Email: shawn.ross@mq.edu.au

Profile

A/Prof Shawn Ross joined the Department of Ancient History in 2015 (on a joint appointment with the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations as Deputy Director of the Big History Institute). His teaching includes Big History as well as archaeological methods, digital archaeology, and the history and archaeology of pre-Classical Greece in its wider Balkan and Mediterranean context.

Shawn completed a BA at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington (1993) and an MA (1996) and PhD (2001) at the University of Washington, Seattle. His PhD dissertation concerned the use of oral tradition to reconstruct Early Iron Age social and cultural history, an interest he maintains. Shawn then taught at William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey, for four years, before moving to the University of New South Wales in 2005. At UNSW, Shawn taught Global, Ancient, and Medieval History and developed both major strands of his current research program: the history and archaeology of ancient Thrace, and the application of information technology to archaeology. He also held a number of leadership positions, culminating with Deputy Head of School in the School of Humanities and Languages (2012-2014).

Trained as an historian, Shawn also has nearly 20 years of fieldwork experience in archaeology, including excavation, pedestrian survey, satellite remote sensing, ceramics processing, technical photography, and data management. He has worked at prehistoric and ancient sites or regional projects in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. Since 2008, Shawn has co-supervised the Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project (TRAP), a multi-disciplinary, regional landscape archaeology project exploring two large study areas in central and south-east Bulgaria (with Dr Adela Sobotkova). That project was funded by the ARC from 2009 to 2011, and is now nearing publication. Shawn's own research on the project involves the long-term evolution of Thracian society in its environmental context, especially in comparison to related, but distinct, developments in prehistoric and early historic Greece.

Since 2012, Shawn has also directed the Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems (FAIMS) project, which is building information technology infrastructure for archaeology and other fieldwork-based disciplines, particularly systems for digital data creation, data management and refinement, and online archiving and publication (with Dr Brian Ballsun-Stanton and Dr Adela Sobotkova). FAIMS is a leading community-driven and domain-wide project, including partner organisations from across Australia and overseas. Although primarily an infrastructure development project, FAIMS has led to the development of a new research direction, examining the impact of digital technologies on archaeological research and developing approaches to building robust digital infrastructure in 'small' disciplines like archaeology.

Research Interests

Shawn's research interests include the history and archaeology of pre-Classical Greece, oral tradition as history (especially Homer and Hesiod), the archaeology of prehistoric and ancient Thrace, Greece in its wider Mediterranean and Balkan context, and the application of information technology to the humanities. Since 2009, the focus of his work has shifted to fundamental archaeological research in Bulgaria. Shawn supervises the Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project, a large-scale archaeological survey and palaeoenvironmental study in central and southeast Bulgaria. Since 2012 A/Prof Ross has directed the Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems project, aimed at developing data capture, management, and archiving resources for archaeologists. He has recently become involved with archaeology work at the site of Troizen in the Argolid, which he hopes to develop into a major regional archaeological investigation. Shawn also conducts research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, regarding sector-wide issues of standards and quality improvement and smaller-scale attempts to improve student outcomes through Writing Across the Curriculum approaches to teaching.

Shawn is a Research Associate at the American Research Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Grants and awards

  • Australian Research Council Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Grant (LE140100151). Lead CI, "Federated archaeological information management systems project: transforming archaeological research through digital technologies". Circa $745,000 including: $400,000 (ARC), $210,000 (UNSW), $135,000 (other Eligible Organisations) to continue development of the Federated Archaeological Information Systems Project, especially customisation and deployment at participating fieldwork projects. 2014.
  • National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR), eResearch Tools program (RT043). Project Director, "Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems". Circa AUD $950,000 for development of mobile device applications, database interoperability tools, knowledge discovery strategies, and other resources for archaeological information management. 2012-2013. NeCTAR is an Australian Government project and Super Science initiative financed by the Education Investment Fund.
  • Dean's Learning and Teaching Award: Contribution to the Scholarship of Teaching and learning (2012). Awarded to S. Brawley, L. Ford, S. Ross and S. Upton for "Applying standards to tertiary-level history: Policy, challenges and the After Standards project". History Australia 8.3 (2011): 177-194.
  • Australian Teaching and Learning Council Priority Project. "After Standards: Engaging and Embedding History's Standards using International Best Practice to Inform Curriculum Renewal". Circa AUD 294,000 to develop a pedagogically sound response to the initiation of a national standards regime in History in Australia; 30 Australian institutions participating (project leader: A/Prof Sean Brawley). 2011-2012.
  • Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Study Overseas Short Term Mobility Program: "Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project, Bulgaria". AUD 25,500 for student (12) and staff (1) subsidies allowing participation in archaeological fieldwork in Bulgaria. 2011.
  • Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering Award: "Integrating prehistoric cultural change and palaeoenvironments on the Thracian Plain, Bulgaria" (ALNGRA11018). AUD 11,750 for AMS C-14 dating (with Dr Simon Connor). 2011.
  • America for Bulgaria Foundation International Collaborative Archaeological & Bioarchaeological Research Program. Circa USD 50,000 for international, collaborative archaeological and palaeoecological research in the Thracian Plain, Bulgaria (with Dr Ilija Iliev and Ms Adela Sobotkova). 2010-2011.
  • Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP0989901). Lead CI, "Cultural change in its environmental context: exploring, interpreting, and managing archaeologically rich, large-scale cultural landscapes in the Mediterranean Basin". Circa AUD 117,000 for three years archaeological and palaeoecological research in the Tundzha River Valley, Bulgaria (with Dr Ilija Iliev, Dr Iorgi Nekhrizov, Dr Iulia Tzvetkova, Dr Simon Connor, Dr Andrew Herries, and Ms Adela Sobotkova). 2009-2011.
  • GeoEye Foundation Satellite Imagery Grant. Circa USD 8,500 (600 sq km) of archival IKONOS high resolution satellite imagery for archaeological research in the Kazanlak region, Bulgaria (with Ms Adela Sobotkova). 2009.
  • Institute for the Study of Aegean Prehistory Grant. Circa USD 7,000 for archaeological research in the Tundzha River Valley, Bulgaria. 2009.
  • Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering Award: "Cultural change in its environmental context" (AINGRA09012). Circa AUD 5,000 for AMS C-14 dating (with Dr Simon Connor). 2009.
  • Fulbright Lecturing and Research Award. Circa USD 25,000 for teaching (50%) and archaeological research (50%) in Bulgaria. The American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, 2006.

Current research projects

The Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems (FAIMS) project, which is developing and deploying mobile and online information systems for archaeologists, building partnerships and interoperability with other online services, and exploring questions surrounding the adoption and impact of information technology on the methodologies and practices of archaeology.

The Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project (TRAP), a multi-disciplinary, regional landscape archaeology project in Bulgaria exploring the evolution of social complexity and human-environment interactions in prehistoric and ancient Thrace.

Selected Publications

  • Clark, J., S. Ross, S. Brawley, L. Ford, C. Dixon, and S. Upton. "History on Trial: The Standards Environment, the History Discipline and Proof of Successful Learning and Teaching through Audit and Accreditation". Teaching & Learning Inquiry. Forthcoming 2015 (Accepted 12 September 2014).
  • Ross, S., B. Ballsun-Stanton, A. Sobotkova, and P. Crook. "Building the Bazaar: Enhancing archaeological field recording through an open source approach". In B. Edwards and A. Wilson, editors, Open Source Archaeology. Warsaw, Poland: Versita. Forthcoming 2015 (accepted 15 August 2014).
  • Sobotkova, A., Ballsun-Stanton, B., S. Ross, P. Crook. "Arbitrary Offline Data Capture on all of your Androids: The FAIMS Mobile Platform". In A. Traviglia, editor, Across Space and Time: Selected Papers from the 41st Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference (Perth, WA, 25-28 March 2013). Forthcoming 2014 (accepted October 2013).
  • Ross, S., A. Sobotkova, B. Ballsun-Stanton, P. Crook. "Creating eResearch tools for archaeologists: The Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems project". Australian Archaeology 77 (2013): 107-119.
  • Connor, S., S. Ross, A. Sobotkova, A. Herries, S. Mooney, I. Iliev. "Environmental conditions in the Southeast Balkans since the Last Glacial Maximum and their influence on the spread of agriculture into Europe". Quaternary Science Reviews 68 (2013): 200-215.
  • Brawley, S., J. Clark, S. Ross, L. Ford, and C. Dixon. Learning outcomes assessment and History: TEQSA, the After Standards Project and the QA/QI challenge in Australia. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 12.1 (2013): 20-35.
  • Iliev, I., Ross, S., A. Sobotkova, S. Bakardzhiev, S. Connor. The Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project: Elhovo Survey 2009 (bilingual English-Bulgarian). Yambol, Bulgaria: Yambol Regional Historical Museum, 2012.
  • Brawley, S., J. Clark, C. Dixon, L. Ford, L. Grolman, S. Ross and S. Upton. "Applying standards to tertiary-level history: Policy, challenges and the After Standards project". History Australia 8.3 (2011): 177-194.
  • Sobotkova, A., S. Ross, G. Nehrizov, and B. Weissova. "Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project Kazanluk Survey and Investigations: A Preliminary Report" (pp. 56-66). In Jan Bouzek, editor, Studia Hercynia XIV.  Prague: Charles University Press, 2010.
  • Ross, S., A. Sobotkova, S. Connor, and I. Iliev. "An interdisciplinary pilot project in the environs of the ancient city of Kabyle, Bulgaria". Archaeologia Bulgarica 14.2 (2010): 69-85.
  • Sobotkova, A., and S. Ross. "High-resolution, multi-spectral satellite imagery and extensive archaeological prospection:  Case studies from Apulia, Italy, and Kazanlak, Bulgaria" (pp. 25-28). Space, Time, and Place 2009: The Third International Conference on Remote Sensing in Archaeology (Tiruchirappali, India, 17-21 August 2009). Oxford: Archaeopress, 2010.
  • Ross, S., and A. Sobotkova. "An 'Encyclopedia of Archaeological Heritage'? The Encyclopedia of Life as a model for digital cultural atlases" (pp. 399-406).  Space, Time, and Place 2009: The Third International Conference on Remote Sensing in Archaeology (Tiruchirappali, India, 17-21 August 2009). Oxford: Archaeopress, 2010.
  • Ross, S., A. Sobotkova, and G.-J. Burgers. "Remote sensing and archaeological prospection:  A case study from Apulia, Italy". Journal of Field Archaeology 34.4 (December 2009): 423-437.
  • Ross, S. "Homer as History: Greeks and Others in a Dark Age." In Kostas Myrsiades, editor, Reading Homer: Film and Text (pp. 21-57). Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009.
  • Ross, S. "Barbarophonos:  Language and Panhellenism in Homer."  Classical Philology 100.4 (October 2005): 299-316.