Society History

The Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology has its origins in the birth of Historical Archaeology in Australia in the late 1960s. At that time, several university-based archaeologists from different parts of Australia began to undertake excavations at historic sites. These included Judy Birmingham at the University of Sydney, Bill Culican at the University of Melbourne and John Mulvaney at the Australian National University.

In November 1970, the Australian Society for Historical Archaeology was formed. Initially focused around Sydney, ASHA gradually grew to include members from all over Australia. The first publication of the society was the periodic newsletter, which is still issued today. In 1973, the first monograph was published by the society, The Wreck of the ‘Elizabeth’ – a short report on the 1970 investigation of a wreck located off Cottesloe beach in Perth, Western Australia. Further publications followed. In 1983, the society commenced publication of a peer-reviewed journal, Australian Historical Archaeology.

In 1991, the society revised its constitution and changed its name to the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology. This was intended to include New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region more broadly.

Further reading

‘New ASHA Constitution’, Australian Society for Historical Archaeology Newsletter, 21(2):7-8.

Birmingham, Judy & Brian Egloff 1992 [1994]. ‘Editorial’, Australasian Historical Archaeology, 10:1.

Ireland, Tracy 2002. ‘Giving value to the Australian historic past: Historical archaeology, heritage and nationalism’, Australasian Historical Archaeology, 20:15-25.

Jack, Ian 2006. ‘Historical Archaeology, Heritage and the University of Sydney’, Australasian Historical Archaeology, 24:19-24.

Lawrence, Susan & Peter Davies 2011. An Archaeology of Australia Since 1788, Contributions to Global Historical Archaeology, Springer, New York.