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Winds of change: an archaeology of contact in the Groote Eylandt archipelego, Northern Australia

Clarke, Anne Fiona

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This thesis presents an archaeological study of contact where an island Aboriginal society in northern Australia experienced first contact with non­ Aboriginal cultural groups in the recent past. The island society is that of the Anindilyakwa-speaking clans of the Groote Eylandt archipelago in the Northern Territory of Australia. The research is based on eleven months of fieldwork conducted on Groote Eylandt over three periods in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and reports on the results of...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorClarke, Anne Fiona
dc.date.accessioned2013-08-05T03:00:02Z
dc.identifier.otherb19234715
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/10274
dc.description.abstractThis thesis presents an archaeological study of contact where an island Aboriginal society in northern Australia experienced first contact with non­ Aboriginal cultural groups in the recent past. The island society is that of the Anindilyakwa-speaking clans of the Groote Eylandt archipelago in the Northern Territory of Australia. The research is based on eleven months of fieldwork conducted on Groote Eylandt over three periods in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and reports on the results of test-excavations carried out at 18 different archaeological sites. I put forward the thesis that changes in resource use and residence patterns can be identified in the archaeological record during the period of Macassan contact, and that there is a trajectory of change leading into the last seventy years of Mission settlement. I present a three part model of resource use and residence patterns encompassing the pre-contact period, Macassan contact and the period of Mission settlement. I further suggest that the changes identified in the archaeological record are indicative of a re-structuring of the cultural landscape as result of contact, first with Macassans and later with missionaries. The analyses of archaeological, ethnographic and archival information presented in this thesis suggest that the influence of Macassan contact on Aboriginal culture was more far reaching than has previously been considered. In this thesis the relationship between Aboriginal society of Groote Eylandt and outsiders is analysed as a process of interaction and mediation. The concept of mediation provides for an active and negotiated relationship between Macassans and Aboriginal people, and Europeans and Aboriginal people. The concept of mediation is also used to describe and analyse the way in which the direction of this project was the outcome of negotiations between myself and the Aboriginal community. The process of mediation thus establishes a conceptual link between contact in the past, and contact between myself and the Aboriginal community in the present. There are several inter-connected components to this thesis. The primary aim of the research is to identify and explain changes and continuities in resource use and residence patterns across a time span of 25OO years, a period which encompasses contact with Macassans and colonisation by Missionaries. A secondary concern of the thesis is a reflexive exploration of the social and personal context in which the research took place. Although this is not the main focus of this thesis, it is, however, inextricably interwoven into the fabric of the archaeology because the act of doing fieldwork within an Aboriginal cultural landscape fundamentally transformed both the research and myself, the researcher. There is a subsidiary outcome of the thesis. The fieldwork has provided the first descriptions of the late Holocene archaeology of Groote Eylandt.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleWinds of change: an archaeology of contact in the Groote Eylandt archipelego, Northern Australia
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorJones, Rhys
dcterms.valid1994
local.description.notesSupervisor: Professor Rhys Jones
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1994
local.contributor.affiliationResearch School of Pacific and Asian Studies
local.request.emaillibrary.digital-thesis@anu.edu.au
local.request.nameDigital Theses
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d78d6ccc6242
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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