Aboriginal Environments Research Centre

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Isolation Insularity & Change in Island Population

Isolation, Insularity and Change in Island Populations - an Interdisciplinary Study of Aboriginal Cultural Patterns in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Principal AERC Staff:
Prof. Paul Memmott - Team Leader

Other UQ Chief Investigators:
Dr. Sean Ulm
Prof. Ian Lilley
Prof. David Trigger

Other Chief Investigators:
Prof. Nicholas Evans
Dr Sheila van Holst Pellekaan
Dr Richard Robins
Dr Errol Stock
Dr Neville White

Our interdisciplinary study tests pivotal hypotheses concerning insularity, isolation and cultural change in Aboriginal Australia. It examines two now-divergent island populations residing in similar physical environments and with shared ancestral language and a common mainland source group. The project examines how these groups contended with cultural change over a 10,000-year time scale, sometimes acculturating exogenous traits whilst at others exploiting insularity and isolation to promote distinctiveness through local invention in such a way that two different cultures emerged. The findings will contribute to international debates on island colonisation and how cultural reproduction continues in the face of globalising influences.

Other Research conducted in the Wellesley Island Region:
For information about the study of intertidal rock-wall fish traps conducted in the Wellesley Islands Region by Memmott, Robins and Stock.

For information about the Wellesley Islands Sea Claim