The social archaeology of Australian Indigenous societies

social archaeology cover

Bruno David

Bryce Barker

Jun, 2006
Anthropology and Archaeology
Product type: 
Book format: 
$39.95 RRP incl. GST


Building on the foundational work of Harry Lourandos, the book critically examines and challenges traditional approaches which have presented Indigenous Australian pasts 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. It 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.

Ultimately, The social archaeology of Australian Indigenous societies looks beyond the stereotype of Aboriginal peoples as ‘hunter-gatherers’ and charts new and challenging agendas for Australian Aboriginal archaeology.

Reviews and endoresements

The Social Archaeology of Australian Indigenous Societies presents original and provocative views on the complex and dynamic social lives of Indigenous Australians from an historical perspective.

— Oceania Newsletter 41, March 2006

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

Last reviewed: 10 Jul 2020