A report from Richard Morrison (ACT ASHA representative).

This very successful, half-day event was held on 30 April in the 2022 ACT and Region Heritage Festival and was the Symposium’s fourth year (the 2020 Festival was cancelled because of Covid).  This year’s event venue was held in the Peninsula Room of the National Museum of Australia.  Consequently, the event had 55 people booked with 34 attendees.  The numbers attending may have been adversely affected by a ‘severe storm’ warning for that morning and we were, of course, still within a pandemic.

This year’s Festival theme was ‘Curiosity’ and we decided that our Symposium sub-theme would be ‘More than Curious’ to highlight how archaeology has evolved from a pursuit based primarily on curiosity into a discipline that was now producing tangible and valuable contributions to our knowledge of the past.  This focus produced a group of invited speakers with suitable topics to create an interesting event on-theme.

An introduction and context presentation was made by myself explaining about various ‘archaeologies’, our sub-theme and acknowledging the various sponsorships, with a slide of the latter being used at various points in the presentation (see below).

The four speakers (we had one late withdrawal of a speaker), preceded by Dr Matilda House (who provided the Welcome to Country), gave generously of their time to make four presentations and these were:

Dr Debbie Argue: Three discoveries in human evolution that shook the status quo

Professor Mike Smith: The Elixir of Deep Time

Dr Richard Tuffin: Profit and punish? Using digital humanities to understand convict lives and labour – external video link

Dr Aedeen Cremin: Curiosity at Angkor: New answers to old questions.

The day was summed up by various attendees as a great success and a very wide range of rich, interesting/fascinating and complex archaeological topics, presented well.