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Iain Davidson

iain-davidsonRole in the Project

As one of the Chief Investigators with expertise in the northwest Queensland study area, Iain will be involved in the reconnaissance and preliminary assessment of field sites in that study area, participate in the archaeological excavations, help train Aboriginal field officers in archaeological techniques, and carry out some oral history interviews. Iain will also contribute to the preparation of outcomes of the project.

Why He’s Excited About the Project

When Iain arrived at UNE, there was a lot of talk about the Myall Creek Massacre. Later he wrote a piece about New England and realised it could be defined geographically by the massacre sites that surround it. When Iain began to work in NW Queensland, one of the Aboriginal people who became my friend and mentor, when asked which site he wanted us to look at, took us to the grave of Molvo. Molvo was the pastoralist whose death at the hands of Aboriginal people led to the involvement of the NMP and the massacres of Yulluna, Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi people in NW Queensland. His grandmother survived the massacre, and his grandfather had the name of the man who led the NMP in Boulia. As he was dying, that same man kept remembering that he wanted to take me to the massacre sites. And when we returned to Molvo’s grave he said “And they piled all the bodies together and burned them.” Iain wants to honour his memory through this project.

His Background

Iain came to Australia in 1974 with a background in hunter-gatherer archaeology and an interest in faunal analysis. He stayed and taught at UNE gradually developing more interest in rock art, lithic studies, cultural heritage and public communication of archaeology. Iain worked at UNE until 2008 when he retired and was awarded the Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard. In retirement he continues to engage in the interests he developed at UNE.

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