First Contact with the Consultative Process

Will Hocking

This is my third post for the Cultural Heritage Practicum topic.

I have recently participated in a field survey that is part of an overall development plan commencing in an area of Adelaide. The purpose of the survey was to locate previously identified sites and assess their condition, their cultural and archaeological significance and to also consult with the traditional owners as to what would be the best way to protect them.

Having never participated in the consultation process, I found that the survey proved to be a very enlightening experience. For instance, I had never worked with anthropologists before, and their goals for the survey were different to the goals of the archaeologist. However, as both archaeologists and anthropologists were working together at the same time, consulting with the same people, I found that it required a considerable amount of organisation which did not quite come together immediately.

 However, as the survey went on, people found space for each other and were more comfortable within their roles which ended up making it run a lot smoother. It is in the nature of fieldwork that things do not go exactly to plan; furthermore, many of these things have to be worked as you go. This is part of the allure of fieldwork though; each job brings about its own set of challenges.

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