Intersections in Archaeological Science: Past to Future Directions
In the first part of the talk, I review some of the recent work undertaken by the Geoarchaeology Research Group (GRG) and TropArch (Tropical Archaeobotany) collectives here at the ANU. These two collectives have been largely comprised of present and former Honours, Masters and PhD students. I discuss collaborative projects that use optical microscopy, QEM-EDS (QEMSCAN©) and micro-computed tomography (microCT), as well as a host of ancillary geochemical and archaeobotanical techniques, to address significant archaeological questions in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. For instance, recent research has addressed the emergence of early agriculture and plant domestication in the tropics, transitions to sedentary living, and methodological advancement.
In the second part of the talk, I show how this corpus of research intersects with that from my recently completed ARC-funded Future Fellowship (2016-2021) - Divergent pathways to tropical agriculture in highland New Guinea, Wallacea and northern Australia during the Holocene - to generate conceptual frameworks and archaeobotanical methods to address new sets of archaeological questions. Given time constraints, I focus on one key theme - the archaeobotany of vegetative domestication.
In the last part of the talk, I reflect on how a background in archaeological science led to my being a Project Leader on an ARC-funded Industrial Transformation Training Centre entitled Multiscale 3D Imaging, Modelling and Manufacturing (2020-2024). In turn, my involvement in M3D innovation has led to engagements with a wide range of disciplines and fields, from food security to virtual archiving of biological collections, as well as collaborations in palaeontology, medical science and engineering.
Professor Tim Denham
School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University