That’s a wrap: National Archaeology Student Conference 2019

The 2019 National Archaeology Student Conference has drawn to a close after four successful and engaging days. NASC was hosted this year by Flinders University students at Flinders’ Adelaide CBD campus from October 1-4. The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology (ASHA) generously sponsored this event, along with other industry associations including AAA and AACAI. NASC is an annual event organised by students, for students, and relies heavily upon industry engagement and financial support.

Interstate delegates from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, The University of Sydney, Australian National University and the University of Western Australia joined local students from Flinders University and The University of Adelaide to network and share research. The 2019 Committee, chaired by Flinders University honours student Jenna Walsh, created a welcoming, professional and inclusive environment, in keeping with the 2019 theme, ‘The Future of Our Past: innovation, inclusion and interdisciplinary research’. The conference aimed to address current trends in our field and celebrate people of different abilities, ethnicities, gender and socioeconomic status coming together to do archaeology and innovate new techniques. A wide variety of student research and fieldwork experiences were shared via podium, art and poster presentations, with specialties including Indigenous, historical and maritime archaeology, osteoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeological science and Ancient Studies featured.

Special guest Richard Osgood (UK) delivered the opening keynote speech ‘The catharsis of trauma – archaeology as wellbeing’. Richard is the Senior Archaeologist with the British Ministry of Defence and co-founder of Operation Nightingale, an initiative which employs archaeological fieldwork to assist the recovery of service personnel and wounded veterans. He shared his knowledge and experience in an inspiring and engaging hour that went all too fast. Dr Mitchell Allen, of UC Berkeley and the Smithsonian Institution, presented his 40 years’ experience as an academic publisher, and his valuable insights on the digital revolution and its impact on archaeological publishing. In addition to his archaeological career, Mitchell runs Scholarly Roadside service, a publishing consulting company. Dr Georgia Roberts from ANCATL introduced the new National Skills Passport initiative to a South Australian audience for the first time, and research by staff at Flinders University was featured during a delightful Wednesday evening session at which members of the archaeological public enjoyed local wines and specially prepared cheese platters. A leisurely sunset dinner cruise on board the MV Dolphin Explorer at Port Adelaide concluded the conference on Friday evening

The major award for NASC 2019, The Flinders University Archaeological Society Award, was presented to Isaac Roberts of Macquarie University for his research into misuse and repatriation of Indigenous artefacts in institutional art collections. In addition to their general sponsorship, ASHA generously contributed a prize of $80 for excellence in presenting internationally themed work, which was given to Iona Claringbold of ANU for her impressive research into zooarchaeology in Polynesia. Iona’s research focussed on the significance of pig-human interactions on Aniwa. Keynotes Richard Osgood and Mitchell Allen judged the awards and were impressed by the high standard of student work in Australia: “I should come to student conferences more often! This is just wonderful!” Mitchell said.

Information and a gallery of images from NASC 2019 may be found via The 2019 committee is in the process of selecting a university to hold the next conference.

Sponsorship interests: NASC 2019 was generously supported by Australian Archaeological Association, Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc., The College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University, Dr Claire Smith, Dr Daryl Wesley, Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, Comber Consultants, Integrated Heritage Services, CAA Australasia, Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies, Scarp Archaeology, Neale Draper and Associates, the South Australian Maritime Museum, Australian Heritage Services, and Flinders University Archaeological Society.

Compiled by Jenna Walsh (1), and Angela Gurr (2)

(1) Honours student, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University. Chairperson, NASC 2019

(2) PhD candidate, Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit, The University of Adelaide. National Committee member, NASC 2019.