2023 ASHA Conference

Bakers Creek, south of Mackay, ©Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

2023 Conference – 19 to 23 September

The past in the present for historical archaeology

Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre, Mackay, Queensland, Australia

(Bakers Creek, south of Mackay, ©Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch, CC BY-NC-ND)

We are excited to announce that the 2023 Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA) Conference will be held in the tropical Queensland city of Mackay. Mackay was once the sugar capital of Australia and the broader region acts as a gateway to the Whitsundays.

The conference will run as an in-person  event at the Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre from 19 to 23 September, commencing with a welcome function on the evening of Tuesday 19th September. The conference will officially begin on Wednesday 20th September with a keynote address, followed by conference sessions from Wednesday to Friday inclusive. A field trip will be offered on Saturday 23rd September as part of the conference.

An important note for those attending in person is that the conference will be held during Queensland school holidays so make sure you book accommodation early. Rydges Mackay advise that people signing up to their free Priority Guest Rewards program will receive discounts off the best room rates online, earn and redeem reward points and receive discounts on food and beverage in their restaurant.

For now, please save the date, start thinking about packing your togs for the tropics, imagining a trip to the Barrier Reef and stay tuned for more information.

Conference Dates: 19- 23 September 2023

Conference Venue: Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre, https://www.themecc.com.au/

Registration: Opening soon via Eventbrite

Conference theme

The conference theme for 2023 is ‘The past in the present for historical archaeology.’

Historical archaeology is not simply a neutral gathering of evidence that explains the past. The sites and objects we work with in the field, lab, and museum comprise important places that resonate directly with living communities. Changing understandings of the value and meaning of cultural heritage are shaping some important debates within historical archaeology today. Heritage practice lives in the tension between intangible and social values and the materiality of the archaeological record. Sites and objects exist in relationship with communities in the present – not only human but also non-humans such as plants, animals, rivers, and Codd-stop patent bottles.

We encourage sessions and presentations that reflect on this complex dynamic between the information about our past and how it is understood and accepted in the present. Examples may include research with relevance to contemporary issues, community-led projects, public interpretation of archaeological heritage, and evolving values in significance assessment.

Call for sessions

Open now!

The Conference Organisers welcome conference session proposals, particularly those that speak to the conference theme. Please send the title of the proposed session, an abstract (max. 200 words), addressing the proposed format of the session (e.g., 4-6 speakers, lightning round, panel discussion, etc) and an estimate of the number of individual papers/presenters proposed for the session. Please submit your proposals to the conference committee at [email protected] by Friday 26 May 2023.

Call For Papers: Opens  soon – stay tuned for more information.

Valley view near Mackay, Queensland
photo courtesy of James Flexner
Canefields and canefields railway near Mackay, Queensland
photo courtesy of James Flexner

Conference location

The 2023 ASHA conference will be held at the Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre.

View Larger Map
Sky Window lookout, showing the upper Pioneer Valley, formed by the gradual erosion of the Clarke Range plateau over several million years. ©Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch
Sky Window lookout, showing the upper Pioneer Valley, ©Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Key Dates

26 May 2023Call for session proposals closes
tbcCall for papers opens
tbcRegistrations opens
tbcEarly bird registration closes
tbcCall for papers closes
19 September 2023Welcome function
20 and 21 September 2023Conference papers
22 September 2023Conference papers and gala dinner
23 September 2023Optional field trip
Mackay from the air, 1966 – Queensland State Archives, Item ID436320