Aboriginal Environments Research Centre

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Dr Daniel Rosendahl

B. SocSc (Hons1) UQ, PhD

Year Graduated: 

Currently Working: 
Culture and Heritage Unit, School of Social Science (UQ), AERC (UQ)

Daniel excavating at Wirrikiwirriki, a cave on Sweers Island with his daughter, Olive


Daniel graduated in 2012. He is currently working for the University of Queensland Culture and Heritage Unit in the School of Social Sciences and at Camooweal for the AERC, conducting oral histories, recording and archival research to create signage (maps and interpretation) to show connection to country, cross cultural interactions and contact, and frontier violence.

Thesis Title: 
The Way It Changes Like the Shoreline and the Sea: The Archaeology of the Sandalwood River, Mornington Island, Southeast Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia


Defining and understanding change as observed in the mid-to-late Holocene Australian archaeological record is the primary focus of this thesis. Dan conducted a detailed local archaeological survey of a mid-to-late Holocene landscape to examine aspects of continuity and change in the coastal environments of the Sandalwood River in the Yiinkan Embayment, Mornington Island, southeast Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Focus is given to the theoretical and methodological problems emerging in coastal and island archaeology such as the importance of constructing reliable chronologies, interpreting the archaeological data in the context of local landscape and environmental development, and assessing the integrity of open tropical archaeological coastal sites.

Using data from three shell mound excavations and the terminal chronology from 18 other cultural deposits, along with seven dated natural features, including black-lipped oyster bioherms, this research demonstrates that human occupation of the Sandalwood River catchment commenced in the late Holocene, after almost a millennia of large-scale landscape development closely linked to the final stages of the marine transgression. A model of local landscape development and human-environment interaction is presented.