Category Archives: Archaeology and heritage news

Anthropological Society of South Australia launches “Grave Concerns”

A crowd of enthusiasts gathered at the Royal Society Room at the South Australian Museum on Wednesday 15th December to enjoy a glass of champagne and hear Dr Kathryn Powell talk about her new book, Grave Concerns:  Locating and Unearthing Human Bodies (2010, Australian Academic Press).

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Book launch: Dr Kathryn Powell, “Grave concerns: locating and unearthing human burials”

The Anthropological Society of South Australia

is pleased to announce the launch of member Dr Kathryn Powell’s new book

Grave Concerns: Locating and Unearthing Human Bodies

at 6.30 pm, Wednesday 15th December, at the Royal Society Room, South Australian Museum.

More about the book:

Constructing graves is a uniquely human activity. When the grave is hidden it is most likely done so to conceal a murder or the wrongful disposal of a body. Finding these buried bodies is vital for both a successful legal prosecution as well as the emotional closure required for family and friends of the victim. This unique text provides a compact reference for those who find themselves called upon to search for missing persons who have met a tragic fate. Other readers will find a greater understanding of the science and culture that lies behind clandestine graves, so often a key component of both real life and fiction. Hidden bodies deserve to be found and this book outlines techniques that increase the likelihood of success with professional patience, persistence and a knowledge-based approach.

More about the author:
Dr Kathryn Powell obtained her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2006 after pioneering work  at Australia’s first “body farm” designed to research detection of hidden graves in Australia’s unique dry and uncompacted soil. She currently works as a consultant forensic anthropologist on both hidden graves as well as the anthropology of Aboriginal sites of significance

State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (SA) Meeting

The State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (SAHC) meeting lasted 2 days (6-7 May 2009) and it was held at Comfort Inn Haven Marina Glenelg North. The SAHC is a 12 member Ministerial appointed committee which advises the Minister about heritage. The meeting was organised with the main purpose to discuss issues affecting Indigenous people, as well as relationship between the committee, developers and government.

Although appointed by the Minister, the committee represents interests of and Indigenous people. The meeting started with the acknowledgement of the Kaurna people land. As a guest observer, I was giving opportunity to introduce myself and make a brief presentation.

During the meeting was discussed 2009 Schedule of meetings and location for regional meetings for the remainder of this year. Approval by the SAHC of the Meeting of the Waters Site pursuant to section 12 of the Act as an Aboriginal Site as defined by part 1, Section 3 of the Act and to be entered in the register of Aboriginal Sites and Objects as proposed by the Dept of Water, Land and Biodivesrity Conservation (DWLBC). The motion was voted unanimously.

Another motion voted was related to Park infrastructure construction in Coongie Lakes Midden It was supported by the SAHC pursuant to section 23 of the Act, to ‘damage, disturb or destroy’ the “Aboriginal site” known as Coongie Lakes Midden. The Dept for Environment and Heritage (DEH) was the proponent. The motion had 7 votes for and 2 against and carried.

Informative meeting about the Review of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988

This review was taken at the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division Department of the Premier and Cabinet (AARD) and was conducted by representatives of the State Government. The state government released its Scoping Paper for the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 in December 2008. Reviewing the Act is considered the most consultative process realized in SA. The Scoping Paper was designed to describe the context of and reasons for reviewing the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. Thus, the enactment of Native Title Act 1993(Commonwealth), new Aboriginal heritage legislation interstate, the Government’s Native Title Claims Resolution Process, development and implementation of legislation that takes an integrated approach to land management and use, the widespread use of agreements negotiated directly between Aboriginal people and land developers about heritage and related matters, implementation of the South Australian Strategic Plan are part of the context and reasons behind the review initiated by the State Government.

The purpose of this process is to see included in the new act principles such as recognition of Aboriginal custodians of cultural heritage, a much stronger framework for long-term protection and management of Aboriginal heritage, enabling Aboriginal negotiation of agreements about heritage, embedding Aboriginal heritage considerations into the development and land management process, more efficient process, certainty to all parties and complementing the Native Title Act 1993(Cth). On the other hand, the Joint Heritage Committees, which consist of the Aboriginal Congress of SA Inc.Heritage Sub-Committee and the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (SAHC), would like to see in the new Act four key changes: establishment of an Independent Aboriginal Authority, Make developers produce and negotiate and Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan, Use of local Organisations to contact the right people for heritage and to wider the meaning of Heritage(Knowledge, all waters and land, Plants, Animals and natural resources and repatriation). The final stage will consist on the adoption of new legislation after approval by parliament in 2010, but further consultation is needed.

Flinders graduates present at the University of the Third Age

On Friday 8th May, two Flinders masters students, Emmily Bower and Georgina Ashley, presented talks on their 2008 Directed Studies projects to students at the University of the Third Age in Adelaide.

U3A is a voluntary organisation for people who are retired, where members share their knowledge with each other. The Adelaide programme is organised by Sue Lea.

Georgie spoke about her research into the influential – and often controversial – Kingston family, who played a large role in the development of South Australia. She completed the study for the Friends of Kingston House, the family home of the Kingstons. The audience was alternatively amused and horrified by the tales of horse-whippings, nose-twistings, duels and extramarital shenanigans that were a feature of this turbulent family.

Emily presented the results of her research into the Maesbury Cemetery, where Dr Lynley Wallis has been conducting a project in collaboration with the Norwood-Payneham-St Peters council. All the headstones were removed when the cemetery was redeveloped into a park, and with only minimal records kept, the task of reconstructing the lives of this small community is a challenging one! As well as researching three families represented in the cemetery, Emily investigated health issues leading to high infant morality rates in the 19th century.

The audience of U3Aers was very appreciative, and expressed the hope that more Flinders archaeology and CHM graduates would participate in the programme! We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration with the U3A.