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Alistair Paterson

Professor Alistair Paterson

Research Fellow

Contact details
The University of Western Australia (M257)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2867
+61 8 6488 1023
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Rock Art Research and Management, Centre for

Contact details
Centre for Rock Art Research and Management
The University of Western Australia (M257)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2867
+61 8 6488 1023

Oceans Institute and Graduate School

Contact details
Oceans Institute and Graduate School
The University of Western Australia (M257)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2867
+61 8 6488 1023
BA Melb., PhD Syd.
I am an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, and currently Head of School of Social Sciences. My research and teaching covers culture contact, historical archaeology in maritime and terrestrial settings, pastoralism, European colonization, historical rock art, and archaeological and historical methodology. Most of this is in Western Australia, particularly in the Pilbara and Kimberly. I am involved with the centre for Rock Art Research and Management, focussed on digital recording and site visualisation. I am currently working on a project to develop a network of Indian Ocean researchers, funded by the World University Network.

I have links to papers and chapters here. I am the author of 'The Lost Legions: Culture Contact in Colonial Australia' (AltaMira, 2008) and editor with Jane Balme of 'Archaeology in Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses' (Blackwell Publishing, 2006). My latest book is a text book about the study of culture contact called 'A Millennium of Cultural Contact' (Left Coast Press, 2011) intended for students of historical anthropology. Jane Balme and I have a second edition of 'Archaeology in Practice' (Blackell) due in 2013.

I was Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Copenhagen and at the Danish National Museum in 2009, and am past President of the Australian Archaeological Association.

Today I am a Councillor of the National Trust (WA), founding member of the Centre for Rock Art Studies at UWA, and member of the Maritime Archaeology Advisory Committee for the WA Museum. I am the state representative for AACAI (the Australian Association for Consulting Archaeologists Inc.)

I work with a range of partners, especially the staff at the WA Museum and key communities around Australia.
Key research
Archaeology of the second millennium AD, recent Aboriginal Australia, historical archaeology, the archaeology of colonialism, ethnicity, cultural landscapes, archaeology field and laboratory methods, rock art, maritime archaeology. I am currently funded to work on Barrow Island, and the Houtmann Abrohlos.

PATERSON, Alistair G. 2011. A Millennium of Cultural Contact. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA.

PATERSON, Alistair G. 2008. The Lost Legions: Culture Contact in Central Australia, AltaMira Press, Lanham, MD.

BALME, J. and PATERSON, A. G. (ed) 2006. Archaeology in Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses, Blackwell Publishing, Malden.

Book chapters

PATERSON, Alistair G. 2012. Rock Art as Historical Sources in Colonial Contexts. In Decolonizing Indiegnous Histories: Exploring Prehistorical/Colonial Transitions in Archaeology, edited by Maxine H. Oland, Siobhan M. Hart and Lisa Frink, 66-85. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press.

Tacon, Paul, June Ross, Alistair Paterson, and Sally May. 2012. Picturing Change and Changing Pictures: Contact Period Rock Art of Australia. In A Companion to Rock Art, edited by Jo McDonald and Peter Veth, 420-36. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.

PATERSON, Alistair G. 2011. Considering colonialism and capitalism in Australian historical archaeology: Two case studies of culture contact from the pastoral domain. In The Archaeology of Capitalism in Colonial Contexts. S. CROUCHER and L. WEISS, eds. Pp. 243-267. Global Contributions to Historical Archaeology: Springer.

PATERSON, Alistair G. 2010. The archaeology of historical Indigenous Australia. In The Handbook of Postcolonialism and Archaeology. J. LYDON and U. RIZVI, eds. Pp. 165-184. World Archaeological Congress, Research Handbooks in Archaeology Series. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

GILL, Nicholas and PATERSON, Alistair 2007. A Work in Progress: The Past, Present and Future of Indigenous Pastoral Heritage. In Loving a Sunburned Country? Geographies of Australian Heritages, Aldershot, Ashgate, In Press August 2007, 113-131.

PATERSON, A. and BALME, J. 2006, Stratigraphy. In Archaeology in Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses, edited by BALME, Jane and PATERSON, Alistair G., Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 97-116.

PATERSON, A. G. 2005. 'Historical interactions between Aborigines and European pastoralists in Australia's drylands', in SMITH, M. A. and HESSE, P. (ed), 23 Degrees South: Archaeology and Environmental History of the Southern Deserts, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 267-280.

PATERSON, A. G. 2005. 'Hunter-Gatherer interactions with sheep and cattle pastoralists from the Australian Arid Zone', in SMITH, M. A. and VETH, P. (ed), Desert Peoples: Archaeological Perspectives, Blackwell, Oxford, 276-292.

PATERSON, A. G., GILL, N. and KENNEDY, M. J. 2005. '‘Do you want to delete this?’ Hidden histories and hidden landscapes in the Murchison and Davenport ranges, Northern Territory, Australia', in MUCKLE, A. and WARD, G. K. (ed), ‘The Power of Knowledge, the Resonance of Tradition’. Electronic publication of papers from the AIATSIS Indigenous Studies conference, September 2001, Research Program, AIATSIS, Canberra, 125-137.

PATERSON, A. G. 2002. 'Australian Aboriginal Archaeology', in ORSER Jr, C. E. (ed), Encyclopedia of Historical Archaeology, Routledge, London, 38-42.

PATERSON, A. G. 2013. Enduring Contact: Australian Perspectives in Environmental and Social Change. Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities 5 (March 1, 2013).

POLLARD, Joshua, A. PATERSON, and Kate WELHAM 2010. Te Miro o orne: The archaeology of contact on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). World Archaeology 42(4):562-580.

PATERSON, A. G. and A. WILSON 2009 'Indigenous Perceptions of Contact at Inthanoona, Northwest Western Australia.' Archaeology in Oceania 44: 98-110.

PATERSON, A. G. and B. J. HEATH 2009 'Current Research in Australian and New Zealand: An Overview.' Historical Archaeology 43(3): 113-118.

PATERSON, A. G. 2006 'Towards a Historical Archaeology of Western Australia's Northwest', Australasian Historical Archaeology 24 91-103.

CASEY, Mary, and Alistair G. PATERSON 2006 'Editorial.' Australasian Historical Archaeology 24:3.

SOUTER, C., PATERSON, A. G. and HOOK, F. 2006 'The Assessment of Archaeological Sites on Barrow Island and the Dampier Archipelago, Pilbara, Western Australia: A Collaborative Approach.' Bulletin of the Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology 30:85-92.

PATERSON, A. G. 2005 'Early pastoral landscapes and culture contact in Central Australia', Historical Archaeology 39 (3), 28-48.

PATERSON, A. G. and FRANKLIN, D. 2004 'The 1629 mass grave for Batavia victims, Beacon Island, Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia', Australasian Historical Archaeology 22 71-78.

PATERSON, A. G. 2003 'The texture of agency: An example of culture-contact in central Australia', Archaeology in Oceania 38 (2), 52-65.

PATERSON, A. G., GILL, N. and KENNEDY, M. 2003 'An archaeology of historical reality? A case study of the recent past', Australian Archaeology 57 82-89.

CLARKE, Anne, and Alistair G. PATERSON 2003 'Cross-Cultural Archaeology: An Introduction'. Archaeology in Oceania 26:49-51.

GILL, N., PATERSON, A. G. and KENNEDY, M. 2002 'Hidden landscapes', Cultural Survival Quarterly 26 (2), 37-38.

PATERSON, A. G. and WILSON, A. 2000 'Australian historical archaeology: Retrospects and prospects', Australian Archaeology 50 81-89.

PATERSON, A. G. 2009 'Under the same sky: two British settlements in early colonial Australia. Antiquity 83(322).

PATERSON, A. G. 2008 'Review of "A companion to social archaeology". Australian Archaeology(66): 81-82.

PATERSON, A. 2007 Review of V. Buchli and G. Lucas 'Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past', Australasian Historical Archaeology, 25, 109.

PATERSON, A. 2001 Review of Caroline Phillips, 'Waihou Journeys: the archaeology of 400 years of Maori settlement', Archaeology in Oceania, 36, (3), 177-8.

PATERSON, A. 2001 Review of Ian Lilley (ed.), 2000, `Native title and the transformation of archaeology in the postcolonial world', Australian Archaeology, 53, 69

PATERSON, A. 1999 Review of Carmel Schrire, 1995, `Digging Through Darkness: Chronicles of an Archaeologist', Australian Journal of Anthropology, 10, (1), 116-7
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
* Head of School of Social Sciences
* Associate Investigator, Oceans Institute (UWA)
* Councillor of the National Trust (Western Australia)
* Maritime Archaeology Advisory Committee (WA Museum)
* Member: Center for Rock Art Research and Management (UWA)
* Member: Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (UWA)
* Member: American Studies Research Group (UWA)
* Affiliate member: Australian Association for Consulting Archaeologists Inc
Future research
- Barrow Island Archaeology Project (ARC DP with CI Peter Veth)
- Indian Ocean archaeology network
- Macassan contacts with the Kimberley
- Pearling and Aboriginal labor/Slavery in WA
Funding received
ARC Discovery (2000, 2008, 2013)
UWA-UQ research collaborations (2012)
ARC Linkage (2000, 2010)
AIATSIS funding (2000)
UWA funding
Industry partners: BHP Billiton
National Trust
Industrial relevance
I collaborate with various heritage stakeholders including communities, government, and industry. Recent collaborations have been with BHP Billiton Iron Ore and Ngarluma Aboriginal people.
Danish, English
* Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology
* Australian Archaeological Association
* Society for Historical Archaeology
* American Anthropological Association
* Australasian Institute of Maritime Archaeology
* National Trust of Australia
Honours and awards
President, Australian Archaeological Association (2005-2007)
Previous positions
Discipline Chair, Archaeology: 2010-2012
I currently teach:
* First year archaeology
* Archaeology Field Methods
* Archaeological Laboratory Methods (with Dr Jane Balme)
* Archaeology of Colonisation and Contact (with Dr Martin Porr)
* Historical Archaeology
* Making History (with Dr Andrea Gaynor)

I supervise PhD and MA candidates, as well as honours students. I have several projects suitable for postgraduate research and am happy to discuss them with interested researchers.
Current external positions
Councillor, National Trust of Australia (WA)
Editorial Board Archaeology in Oceania, and Internet Archaeology
Maritime Archaeology Advisory Committee (WA Museum)
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM