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Peter Veth

Professor Peter Veth

Discipline Chair

Contact details
The University of Western Australia (M257)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 1807
Room 1.74A, Old Economics and Commerce Building, Perth campus

Professor/Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art
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 1807
Room 1.19, Old Economics and Commerce Building, Perth campus
BA PhD W.Aust.
Peter Veth has been involved in archaeological, ethnohistoric, ethnographic and maritime studies throughout Australia, Torres Strait, Maluku Province Indonesia, East Timor and Pitcairn Island. Beginning with surveys on the Sturt Creek of the SE Kimberley in to the Great Sandy Desert in 1980, he has now carried our several hundred projects, often in large multi-disciplinary teams, throughout Greater Australia. Focusing originally on the evolution and dynamics of desert hunter-gatherer societies from the Western Desert and elsewhere, Peter has overseen substantive projects on early maritime sites on the Montebello Islands and now Barrow island; art in archaeological context including the Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) and the Canning Stock Route; the Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project (an in situ reburial protocol with longitudinal conservation); and the systematic study of variability in Kimberley rock art - including its age, archaeological context and cultural odes of production through time. Peter has researched and published widely on the use of archaeological and claimant evidence in native title (federal court) proceedings and currently co-authored the authoritative chapter for lawyers and judges on Forensic Anthropology. Peter has long served on numerous heritage legislative review committees,made over 700 multi-media presentations on heritage matters and regularly speaks to industry and regulatory forums. He has worked with over 100 ATSI communities for 30 years helping develop new models for the integration of archaeological research and community governance, education and capacity building initiatives
Key research
* The global emergence and nature of desert hunter-gatherers
* The nature of maritime societies through time
* Rock Art in archaeological context
* Theory and method in maritime archaeology
* Archaeology and native title
Snapshot of volumes and chapters for last 10 years
Harrison, R., Veth, P. and J. McDonald eds 2005 Native Title and Archaeology. Australian Aboriginal Studies 2005/1. AIATSIS, Canberra.
O’Connor, S., Spriggs, M. and P. Veth eds 2005 The Archaeology of The Aru Islands, Maluku Province. Terra Australis. The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra.
O’Connor, S. and P. Veth eds 2002 East of Wallace’s Line: Studies of Past and Present Maritime Cultures in the Indo-Pacific Region. Modern Quaternary Research in South East Asia 16: V-VI. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.
Taylor, L. and P. Veth eds 2008 Art and Identity. Australian Aboriginal Studies. AIATSIS, Canberra.
Veth, P., Aplin, K., Wallis, L., Manne, T., Pulsford, T. and A. Chappell 2007 Late Quaternary Foragers on Arid Coastlines: Archaeology of the Montebello Islands, Northwest Australia. British Archaeological Reviews. International Series. Oxford.
Veth, P., Smith, M. and P. Hiscock 2005 Desert Peoples: Archaeological Perspectives. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
Veth, P., Sutton, P. and M. Neale 2008 Strangers on the Shore: Early Coastal Contacts In Australia. National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
McDonald, J. and P. Veth 2012 Companion to Rock Art. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
McDonald, J.J. and P. Veth 2009 a Dampier Archipelago Petroglyphs: Achaeology, Scientific Values and National Heritage Listing. Archaeology in Oceania 44: 49 -69.
McDonald, J.J. and P. Veth 2011 Information Exchange amongst Hunter-Gatherers of the Western Desert of Australia. In Whallon, R., Lovis, W. A. and R. K. Hitchcock (eds) The Role of Information in Hunter-Gatherer Band Adaptations, pp. 221-234. Los Angeles: The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press of UCLA.
O’Connor, S. and P. Veth 2005 Early Holocene shell fish-hooks from Lene Hara Cave, East Timor establish complex fishing technology was in use in Island Southeast Asia five thousand years before Austronesian settlement. Antiquity 79: 249-256.
Veth, P. 2006 Theoretical Approaches in Australian Maritime Archaeology. In Staniforth, M. and M. Nash (eds) Maritime Archaeoloyg: Australian Approaches. The Plenum Series in Underwater Archaeology, pp. 13-26. Springer, New York.
Veth, P. 2006 Cycles of aridity and human mobility: risk minimisation among Late Pleistocene foragers of the Western Desert (reprint). In Sellet, F., Greaves, R. and P. Yu (eds) Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology of Mobility. University Press of Florida.
Veth, P. 2006 Social Dynamism in the Archaeology of the Western Desert. In David, B., McNiven, I. J. and B. Barker (eds) The Social Archaeology of Indigenous Societies, pp. 242-253. Australian Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
Veth, P. 2010 Australian and International Perspectives on Native Title, Archaeology, and the Law. In J. Lydon and U. Rizvi (eds) Handbook of Postcolonial Archaeology, World Archaeological Congress Research Handbooks in Archaeology Series 13, pp. 267-284. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek.
Veth, P. 2010 The dispersal of modern humans into Australia. In Boyle, K.V., Gamble, C. and O. Bar-Yosef (eds) The Upper Palaeolithic Revolution in Global Perspective: Papers in Honours of Sir Paul Mellars. McDonald Institute Monographs. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge.
Veth, P., Stern, N, McDonald, J, Balme, J. and I. Davidson 2011 The role of information exchange in the colonisation of Sahul. In Whallon, R., Lovis, W. A. and R. K. Hitchcock (eds) The Role of Information in Hunter-Gatherer Band Adaptations, pp. 203-220. Los Angeles: The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press of UCLA.
Veth, P. and S. O’Connor 2013 Australia: the last 50,000 years. In Bashford, A. and S. Macintyre (eds) Cambridge History of Australia, Volume 1 Colonial Australia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Roles, responsibilities and expertise
ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award Professorial Level 3 Barrow Island Archaeology Project
Inaugural Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art
Funding received
Major Nationally Competitive Grants Last 10 Years
2000-2002 ARC Discovery - Archaeology of East Timor Project (with CIs)
2007-2011 ARC Linkage - Rock Art and Jukurr Canning Stock Route Project (with CIs)
2010 – 2012 ARC Discovery - Two Lakes Project Lakes Gregory and Mungo (with CIs)
2011-2014 ARC Linkage - The Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project (Lead CI)
2013-2015 ARC Discovery and DORA 3 - The Barrow Island Archaeology Project (Lead CI)
2014-2016 ARC Linkage - The Dating and Conservation of Kimberley Rock Art (CI)
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities (2005)
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (2008)
Full member of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Incorporated
Member of the Australian Archaeological Association
Member of the Society for Amercican Archaeologists
Member of Australia ICOMOS
Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Honours and awards
B.A. (First Class Honours) The University of Western Australia 1982
PhD (Special Congratulations) The University of Western Australia 1990
Certificate IV ADAS Occupational Diving ‘Dive Supervisor’ 2003
Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2005)
The Bruce Veitch Award for Excellence in Indigenous Engagement (2010)
The Eureka Award for Excellence in Archaeological Interpretation (2011)
Previous positions
1993 - 2002 Faculty at JCU, A/Professor 1997
2003 - 2007 Research Section AIATSIS, D/Director
2007 - 2011 Australian National University, D/Director
2012 - Australian National University, Reader
1) Introduction to Archaeology (1st year)
2) Australian Archaeology (2nd/3rd year)
3) Archaeological Science (2nd year)
4) Maritime Archaeology (2nd/3rd year)
5) Archaeological Method and Theory (3rd year)
6) Critical Issues in Archaeology (3rd year)
7) Field Techniques in Terrestrial Archaeology (3rd year)
8) Field Techniques in Maritime Archaeology (2nd/3rd year)
9) Archaeology of the Ship (2nd/3rd year)
10) The Archaeology of Indigenous Australia (2nd/3rd year)
11) Honours - research design and advanced writing
Current external positions
Research Affiliate WA Museum
AAA Editorial Board
CRARM UWA Monograph Series Editorial Board
JAACAI Editorial Board
ABC Film Series Consultant First Footprints – Walkley and ATOM awards 2013 Best Documentary
Useful links
New and noteworthy
Thirteen Expert Witness reports have been written for litigation/mediation in native title cases before the South Australian, NSW and Western Australian federal courts including the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, De Rose Hill, Wongatha, Mantjiltjarra/Ngalia, Koara, Koara overlap with Wutha, Wutha, Sir Samuel, Bundjalang Peoples, Central West, Ngadju, Martu and Birriliburu Native Title Claims.
I was retained as a Senior Heritage Adviser to Rio Tinto from 2006 – 2008.
Current projects
1) The Barrow Island Archaeology Project
2) The Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project
3) The Dating and Conservation of Kimberley Rock Art
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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