Speaker: Professor Susan Lawrence FAHA FSA (La Trobe University)
School of History Seminar Series
Wednesday 21 February 2018 4:15-5:30pm
McDonald Room, Menzies Library, ANU
Rivers of Gold: An Environmental History of Water, Mining, and Landscape Change
Rivers are cultural artefacts that have been transformed by significant human intervention. In SE Australia the historic gold-mining industry led to extensive and long-lasting modification of waterways across a wide region. The integration of approaches from landscape archaeology, geomorphology and environmental chemistry is revealing the extent of changes, including increased sedimentation, erosion, and chemical contamination. This novel research has significant implications for the management of Aboriginal cultural heritage, remediation programs, catchment management, public health and Anthropocene debates concerning the impact of human activity on Earth geosystems and surface processes.
Professor Susan Lawrence is an industrial archaeologist in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University. She has published widely on the comparative archaeology of British colonial settlement, gender and household archaeology, the colonial whaling industry, material culture, and the Victorian gold rush. Her books include Dolly’s Creek: An Archaeology of a Victorian Goldfields Community (MUP 2000), Archaeologies of the British (Routledge 2003) and An Archaeology of Australia Since 1788 (Springer 2011). Her current research includes the ARC-funded project ‘Rivers of Gold: The Legacy of Historic Gold Mining for Victoria’s Rivers’ which brings together archaeologists, geomorphologists and environmental chemists to study Anthropocene rivers in Victoria. She convenes the annual Victorian Archaeology Colloquium and is a past-president of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, a member of the Archaeology Advisory Committee of the Victorian Heritage Council, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.