School of Archaeology and Anthropology celebrates its 50th Anniversary

School of Archaeology and Anthropology celebrates its 50th Anniversary
Wednesday 20 March 2024

2023 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the School of Archaeology and Anthropology (SOAA). To celebrate this occasion, the school held a two-day conference and a cocktail reception on the 1st and 2nd of February 2024. Over 90 past and current staff, alumni, students, and members of the public joined together to honour the school’s illustrious history and to chart a course for its promising future.

The celebratory event commenced with a Welcome to Country, delivered by Ngunnawal Elder, Wally Bell, followed by a welcome speech from the Head of School, Professor Alison Behie.

The conference then opened with a discussion of the school’s past and future. School researchers and their Indigenous partners were brought together and had meaningful dialogue on their collaborative projects.

In the second session, academics and PhD students had lively conversations on anthropology and planetary futures. Notably, the session enjoyed the keynote speech by Professor Brad Weiss from College of William & Mary (USA), titled “Anthropogenic Value Change: Commensuration, Transformation, Action.”

Day two of the conference unfolded with dialogues delving into methodological innovations in the future of archaeology and biological anthropology, chaired by Professor Tim Denham and Associate Professor Laura Wilson. Attendees warmly welcomed Professor Dorian Fuller from University College London (UK) for a keynote address on the diverse pathways to agriculture in mainland monsoon Asia based on current archaeological evidence. Current PhD students also showcased their research with posters, which generated lots of discussion over lunch and coffee.

At the cocktail reception in the evening of 1st February, the school proudly launched the new Master of Anthropology and Planetary Futures - the new master’s program combining biological and cultural approaches to understanding global planetary problems. This interdisciplinary approach to education won the School the CASS Excellence in Education award for Curriculum Reform in 2023.

The series of events for the 50th Anniversary not only showcased the school’s long history since 1973 but also pointed to a bright future, for at least another 50 years.

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Updated:  20 March 2024/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications