What’s Out West

Hi guys, my name is Tom Lally, long time reader but first time blogger. As some of you may be aware, the Directed Study topic, as part of the Grad-Dip in Archaeology here at Flinders is often undertaken by many of us Post-Grads. It gives us the chance to work with industry partners and undertake an in-depth research project into an area of CHM or archaeology.

For this semester I have chosen to assist Flinders’ own Mick Morrison, as well as a number of other collaborators, to develop a database that simplifies the results of published archaeological research on Indigenous heritage places in South Australia. The aim is to make the database publicly accessible and easily understandable so that members of the public, as well as Indigenous communities, can more easily access this information.

The study area for the project is the coastline from Adelaide’s CBD to the Western Australia-South Australia border, with a 50km inclusion zone of inland sites.


Figure 1 – Study area of project (source: Google Maps)

The project is basically split into three components: the database of known/published sites in the area; a map of site locations; and finally an analysis of the archaeology in the area, which will form the basis for my report at the end of the project.

When I first started conducting research on archaeology in this large area, I was turning up very few results, leading me to believe that there were either no known sites across this massive area, or more probably, that none had been made publicly accessible. It turns out that it was more of the latter, with some more in-depth research leading me to a handful of site surveys of the Yorke Peninsula, Lower Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Peninsula as a whole and the Nullarbor Plain. After reading these surveys I am now aware of around 300 known sites in the study area!

The variety of sites present in the area includes fish traps, artefact scatters, middens, rockshelters, rockholes, a former Mission site, burials and stone artefact quarries.

By my next post I aim to have a completed database so I can start to piece together a detailed record of archaeology in the area and begin making a map of these to see if there are any emerging patterns in site locations.

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