Wilcannia Central School students learning about their material cultural heritage from Traditional Owners working with the WNSWAP research team.
Wilcannia Central School students learning about their material cultural heritage from Traditional Owners working with the WNSWAP research team.

The Western New South Wales Archaeology Program

The Western New South Wales Archaeology Program is focused on expanding understanding of Australian Aboriginal use of landscapes in the past through cultural materials (mainly stone artefacts and hearths) they left behind.

The research takes account of the complexity of past human-environment interactions by integrating three key areas of study – geomorphology, geochronology, and archaeology – at a landscape scale.

Using state-of-the-art spatial data capture and information technology, the research produced new ways of recording, analysing and interpreting surface deposits of Aboriginal stone artefacts.

It led to a clearer understanding of how Aboriginal people dealt with resource fluctuations resulting from past environmental changes, including climate change.

Its landscape-based approach to documenting and interpreting Aboriginal material culture has been widely adopted by the cultural heritage management industry.

Moreover, Aboriginal Traditional Owner groups favour it because the artefacts are recorded and analysed where they are found, and remain as a lasting legacy of Aboriginal custodianship, for current and future generations of Australians to appreciate and learn from.

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