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Michael Morrison

Michael Morrison
University of New England · Department of Archaeology Classics and History

B.A. (Hons). PhD.

About

32
Publications
23,186
Reads
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614
Citations
Introduction
I am an archaeologist who principally works in northern Cape York Peninsula, in tropical north eastern Australia. My two major research programs investigate: (1) Aboriginal foodways during the Holocene, and; (2) cross-cultural entanglements, political economies and the role of Indigenous foodways and labour in the negotiation of new structures of power during the early colonial period (1865-1939).
Additional affiliations
July 2011 - February 2019
Flinders University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
March 2007 - November 2009
Flinders University
Field of study
  • Archaeology
March 1996 - October 2000
James Cook University
Field of study
  • Archaeology

Publications

Publications (32)
Article
Albatross Bay, near Weipa on western Cape York Peninsula, is well known for the large number of anthropogenic late Holocene shell mound sites that occur in the region. Recent research on shell mound formation and use both here and elsewhere across northern Australia has focused upon the extent to which mound formation may have been tied to intensiv...
Article
Full-text available
Shell mound sites dating from the mid-Holocene and containing very large numbers of the estuarine bivalve Anadara granosa are found across northern Australia. It has recently been proposed that the economic, social and cultural practices linked to their formation ceased some 500–700 years ago across northern Australia as a result of environmental c...
Article
The Weipa Mission (1898–1932) on Cape York Peninsula (north-eastern Australia) was one of seven Australian missions designed and staffed by the Moravian Church during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We present findings of archaeological and historical research that illustrate key aspects of the settlement’s development and operations....
Article
Full-text available
Global processes associated with the expansion of colonialism and the emergence of capitalist economies after 1500 were often driven by a desire to create new capital via the acquisition of land and resources, with severe implications for Indigenous peoples. These processes were highly variable, and strongly shaped by the local circumstances encoun...
Article
Full-text available
Environmentally transformative human use of land accelerated with the emergence of agriculture, but the extent, trajectory, and implications of these early changes are not well understood. An empirical global assessment of land use from 10,000 years before the present (yr B.P.) to 1850 CE reveals a planet largely transformed by hunter-gatherers, fa...
Preprint
The Indigenous intangible heritage related to wrecked vessels has been poorly studied and documented. This article provides a counter to dominant maritime archaeology discourses via the investigation of the Aboriginal significance attributed to a wrecked and submerged River Murray barge (Crowie) in South Australia. There are numerous layers of Abor...
Preprint
Earth mounds are common archaeological features in some regions of Australia, particularly within the Murray-Darling Basin. These features are generally considered to have formed via the repeated use of earth oven cookery methods employed by Aboriginal people during the mid- to late-Holocene. This study assesses the relative effectiveness of key ge...
Article
This paper presents a preliminary occupation chronology for the Riverland region of South Australia, based on 31 radiocarbon age determinations. This region has represented a significant geographic gap in understanding occupation chronologies for the broader Murray-Darling Basin. The dating forms part of an ongoing research program exploring the lo...
Article
This paper reports on the recent discovery of a flaked Australian tektite (australite) artefact at Calperum Station in the western central River Murray region, South Australia. Reports of provenanced and well-contextualised australite artefacts in Australia are rare and the find reported here is the first known example on the station and its surrou...
Article
Full-text available
p>This paper presents preliminary results of archaeological investigation of the northern Cape York Peninsula highlands, the homelands of the Kuuku I’yu (northern Kaanju) people. Despite intensive and long-term research programs elsewhere in Cape York Peninsula, no previous archaeological work has been undertaken in this particular region. The aim...
Article
Full-text available
This paper identifies the emergence of the pursuit of social justice as a core focus of collaborative archaeologies in Aboriginal Australia. A wide range of case studies are examined, especially in relation to efforts to redress a ‘deep colonisation’ that silences Indigenous histories and fails to engage with Indigenous voices or experiences. This...
Article
Earth mounds are common archaeological features in some regions of Australia, particularly within the Murray‐Darling Basin. These features are generally considered to have formed via the repeated use of earth oven cookery methods employed by Aboriginal people during the mid‐ to late‐Holocene. This study assesses the relative effectiveness of key ge...
Article
Full-text available
p>This short report presents results of excavation and analysis of a shell mound deposit at Mandjungaar, near Weipa, Cape York Peninsula. This study was initiated as a cultural heritage management project focused on a shell mound site damaged by unauthorised clearing of access tracks. This study included a small research component to establish a ba...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides new data on Indigenous earth (oven) mounds in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) via an analysis of these features on the Calperum Station floodplain in South Australia’s Riverland region. Our analysis of earth mound dimensions, attributes, placement, elevation and relationships to other mounds and site types reveals the following:...
Book
Full-text available
The complete manual to archaeological field work in Australia, fully revised to incorporate digital techniques and new methods. With step-by-step guidelines, it is an essential companion for consultants, amateur heritage researchers and students. In one volume here is everything you need to conduct fieldwork in archaeology. The Archaeologist's Fie...
Article
The Indigenous intangible heritage related to wrecked vessels has been poorly studied and documented. This article provides a counter to dominant maritime archaeology discourses via the investigation of the Aboriginal significance attributed to a wrecked and submerged River Murray barge (Crowie) in South Australia. There are numerous layers of Abor...
Article
Full-text available
Investigation of social values is essential to understanding relationships between people and place, particularly in Indigenous cultural heritage management. The value of long-term ethnographic studies is well recognised, however, such approaches are generally not possible in many heritage studies due to time or other constraints. Qualitative resea...
Article
Full-text available
Recent investigations into the role of shell mounds in late Holocene Aboriginal economies in northern Australia have focussed on one of the key constituents in mound sites: the intertidal bivalve, Tegillarca granosa (formerly Anadara granosa). Various researchers have suggested that shell mounds were constructed during production activities that we...
Article
Full-text available
Developing holistic accounts of indigenous peoples' lifeways in colonial intercultural settings requires data that provide insights into patterns of landscape use and variations in social, economic, and cultural practices away from nodes of colonial activity. However, the mobile settlement patterns of some indigenous peoples mean that the data nece...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research on shell mounds near Weipa (northeast Australia) has focussed on economic questions, particularly understanding what these sites reveal about the production strategies of Aboriginal people and possible links to broader social and environmental transformations documented in late Holocene northeastern Australia. However, in order to e...
Article
Few would disagree that the contemporary inequality and disadvantage experienced by many Indigenous peoples globally has a firm basis in European colonialism. As most authors note in Indigenous Archaeologies: A Reader on Decolonization (Bruchac, Hart, and Wobst 2010) and Bridging the Divide: Indigenous Communities and Archaeology into the 21st Cent...
Article
Full-text available
There is a wealth of ethno-ecological knowledge and ethnographic material on the use and creation of tree products in contemporary and classical Aboriginal societies, including western Cape York Peninsula. However, culturally modified trees (CMTs) associated with the collection of tree products in the past have been subject to relatively little res...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research on remote nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Indigenous missions in northern and central Australia point to their often tenuous existence and the complex nature of engagements between Christian Missionaries and Indigenous people. This paper explores the contribution and significance of Indigenous production of wild foods in th...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis presents the results of an archaeological investigation of shell matrix sites, and in particular, shell mounds sites that occur around the shores of Albatross Bay, near Weipa on the north western Cape York Peninsula, northern Australia. It is the contention of this thesis that earlier approaches to the investigation of shell mound sites...
Article
Full-text available
Five years of intensive cultural heritage surveys conducted as part of Rio Tinto Alcan's cultural heritage management programme on the bauxite plateau at Weipa have resulted in the recording of several site types not previously reported from the area. Whereas previous archaeological work focused almost exclusively on the shell matrix sites common t...
Article
This paper develops an alternative interpretation of shell mound phenomena at Albatross Bay, near Weipa on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. Past researchers have interpreted these distinct mounded middens as functional edifices, constructed to enable small family groups to camp closer to resources during the late wet season. Here I propose th...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Historically, food was a key medium for cultural exchanges between Indigenous peoples and settler-colonists. Although the analysis of foodways is known to provide unparalleled insights on daily life, cultural values and social relationships, it has received limited attention in archaeological investigations of colonialism in Australia. This research proposes to trace Indigenous foodways in colonial Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, through a program of collaborative community-based archaeological and anthropological research. This will produce inclusive narratives of Indigenous peoples’ experiences of colonialism, and generate novel insights on the role of Indigenous foodways in the negotiation of power in colonial settings.
Project
This interdisciplinary project employs a range of data from coastal Holocene archaeological sites in southeastern South Australia to examine behavioural variability in hunter-gatherers. Goals include improvement of occupation chronology, use of stable isotopes to address diet, mobility and landscape use, and expanded analyses of faunal and floral materials and artefacts from midden and mound sites.