2021 ASHA Online Conference

ASHA 2021 Conference Logo - Melbourne MMXXI

The Archaeology of Transition

Online 18th-22nd October

Recent events have brought about much change in the way society functions- individually, as a community, as a nation and globally. This year’s ASHA conference pivots towards this change with presentations in webinars streamed across Australasia and around the world. We will feature papers and sessions about transitions in the broadest sense, encompassing archaeological theory, methodology and/or interpretation, and considering topics such as colonial encounters, environmental change, sustainability and even pandemics.

In what ways have we changed – or should we change – how we do archaeology? How can we view transition and change at individual, societal and global scales through the lens of historical archaeology? How have our ideas and interpretations of sites, artefacts and historical narratives changed and where might these transitions lead us next? What challenges are provided by transition and change in the archaeological record?


Prize Winners 2021

Jessie Garland
Clara Watson
Eleanor Cornish

Keynote address

This year’s keynote was presented by Professor Dan Hicks

Is a decolonial historical archaeology possible?

Drawing together themes and ideas from his book The Brutish Museums, and looking at what new thinking in museum anthropology might mean for the study of the material remains of the recent and contemporary past, in this talk Dan looks at the prospect for the decolonisation of historical archaeology. 

Keynote bio

Dan Hicks is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He was Visiting Professor at the musée du quai Branly in 2017-18, and was awarded the Rivers Medal of the Royal Anthropological Society in 2017. Dan’s new book, The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution was published by Pluto Press in November 2020, and is released in paperback on 20 October 2021. It has been described by Ben Okri OBE as “a startling act of conscience”, by The Economist as “a real game-changer”, by The Guardian as “beautifully written and carefully argued”, by CNN as “unsparing”, by Nature as “timely”, and by the Sunday Times as “destined to become an essential text”. The Brutish Museums was listed as one of the New York Times Best Art Books of 2020, with the recommendation: “If you care about museums and the world, read this book”. Twitter/Instagram: @ProfDanHicks

Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford [photograph against a brick wall, Professor Hicks is wearing a blue knitted jumper, with a grey scarf and clear-framed glasses]
Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford

Soundbytes snippets from the conference!

Amber Patterson-Ooi has produced the following soundbytes which will tantalise your earbuds, and have you wishing you had attended the 2021 conference. You can find contact details for all of our presenters in the full conference program which is available to download at the top of this page.

James Hunter & Holger Deuter

In a highly collaborative project, Dr James Hunter of Australian National Maritime Museum and Professor Holger Deuter of HSKL – Fachbereich Bauen und Gestalten chat about their work on creating a VR dive on the wreck of the PS Herald.

Prof Alistair Paterson

Here, Professor Alistair Paterson, ARC Future Fellow at Uni of WA gave us a little snippet of insight into his fascinating research to hear about his research into the pearl fishery industry.

Greg Hil

Greg Hil, PhD candidate for Archaeology at La Trobe University chats about the paper he presented for our conference this year. There was fascinating insights into understanding how 31.5 million cubic metres of sediments from Bendigo goldfields has impacted the landscape – and the implications this has on associated cultural heritage.

Christine, Bronwyn & Nadia – Show & Tell

Dr Christine Williamson, Bronwyn Woff and Nadia Bajzelj from Christine Williamson Heritage Consultants bring us a snippet of their paper ‘Show and Tell’. Sometimes, it’s just all about how cool an artefact is!

Sean Winter

One of the Sessions we are hosted this year is The Archaeology of Underfloor Occupation Deposits. This intriguing session was chaired by Sean Winter (The University of Western Australia and Snappy Gum Heritage Services) and Helen Runciman (The University of Western Australia. In this sound byte, Sean gives an overview of some of the presentations which were presented.

Claire Baxter

Listen in to Claire Baxter speaking about her research on why thinking about statues and monuments could be re-framed to see them as archaeology – material culture that we still use.

Poster Session

Eleanor Cornish

Michael Gray

Thomas Keep