Professor Ian J. McNiven

I am Professor of Indigenous Archaeology in the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University, Melbourne. I specialise in the archaeology of Australian Indigenous coastal societies, in particular the Queensland coast and the islands of Torres Strait. I have held academic positions at the University of Queensland and The University of Melbourne, and visiting research fellowships at Cambridge University and Oxford University. I have considerable private industry experience as a cultural heritage consultant, and have worked on numerous native title cases including expert witness for the Torres Strait sea claim.

My research focuses on understanding the long-term development of specialised maritime societies with a focus on the archaeology of seascapes and ritual and spiritual relationships with the sea. Other research interests include the archaeology of the southern coast of New Guinea and ancient cultural connections with Torres Strait and northern Australia, the archaeology of Aboriginal use of islands along the Queensland coast (e.g. Fraser Island, Shoalwater Bay islands), the development of Aboriginal eel aquaculture facilities in western Victoria, and the colonial history of archaeology. In 2007-2009, I was President of the Australian Archaeological Association Inc. and I am an elected Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries London (since 2007) and the Australian Academy of the Humanities (since 2013).

In addition to over 130 refereed journal papers and book chapters, and 80 cultural heritage consultancy reports, my co-authored/edited books include Goemulgaw Lagal: Cultural and Natural Histories of the Island of Mabuyag, Torres Strait (2015), The Social Archaeology of Indigenous Societies (2006), Appropriated Pasts: Indigenous Peoples and the Colonial Culture of Archaeology (2005), Torres Strait: Archaeology & Material Culture (2004), Australian Coastal Archaeology (1999), and Constructions of Colonialism: Perspectives on Eliza Fraser’s Shipwreck (1998).

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