Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

Editorial

Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

Editorial

Article excerpt

This collection of papers was originally inspired by a workshop on native title and archaeology hosted as part of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology Conference held in Adelaide in 2000. It received further impetus due to repeated calls for practice guidelines as well as questions about the relevance of archaeological evidence in native title from practitioners, lawyers, native title representative bodies and the requirements of expert witnesses involved in Federal Court trials.

From an original working party established in 2001, I subsequently invited Rodney Harrison and Jo McDonald to co-edit the current collection of papers. Rodney Harrison has published widely on historic and contact archaeology, having recently co-edited (with Christine Williamson) the 2004 volume After Captain Cook: the archaeology of the recent Indigenous past in Australia, Alta Mira Press, New York. This followed on from a collection in 2000 of theory-oriented papers edited by Ian Lilley, entitled Native title and the transformation of archaeology in the postcolonial world, an Oceania Monograph published by Sydney University. Jo McDonald has acted as an expert witness, published papers on the use of art and contact artefacts and contributed to theoretical debate concerning the identification (in the recent past) of 'groups', 'boundaries' and 'identity'--all clearly current and contested issues and terms. What was lacking from previous volumes, however, was a detailed examination of the categories of archaeological evidence most relevant to native title, an exploration of claimant connections to post-contact sites and a critique of how the courts were accepting, modifying or rejecting such evidence. …

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