The social archaeology of Australian Indigenous societies

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The social archaeology of Australian Indigenous societies


Bruno David Bryce Barker

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The Social Archaeology of Indigenous Societies presents original and provocative views on the complex and dynamic social lives of Indigenous Australians from an historical perspective. Building on the foundational work of Harry Lourandos, the book critically examines and challenges traditional approaches which have presented Indigenous Australian past as static and tethered to ecological rationalism. The book reveals the ancient past of Aboriginal Australians to be one of long term changes in social relationships and traditions, as well as the active management and manipulation of the environment. The book encourages a deeper appreciation of the ways Aboriginal peoples have engaged with and constructed their worlds. It solicits a deeper understanding of the contemporary political and social context of research and the insidious impacts of colonialist philosophies. In short, it concerns people, both past and present. 


It will be of interest to students as well as to a general archaeological audience interested in the origin and development of ideas first formulated by Harry Lourandos. It can be said that he made a significant and lively contribution to an understanding of Indigenous Australian cultures. His legacy will continue to endure within the archaeological literature and broader debates on the nature of late Holocene cultural changes.

— Richard Cosgrove, Australian Archaeology, No. 66, June 2008


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