Mapping Unmarked Graves in Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities


This is an abstract from the "Archaeology as a Public Good: Why Studying Archaeology Creates Good Careers and Good Citizens" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This presentation outlines the public good that is being produced by a project being undertaken at the request of the Elders from the remote Aboriginal community of Barunga, Northern Territory. It may be hard to believe, but in 2018 the vast majority of graves of Aboriginal people in remote Northern Territory communities are not recorded in any register. When someone dies they are buried, but there’s no written record of which grave belongs to whom. This makes it difficult to mourn properly, or to care for that person by caring for their grave. Accordingly, this project is locating unmarked graves, identifying the occupants of those graves, mapping the cemetery and developing a burial registry for the Barunga community. This research will make it possible for family members to mourn for their loved ones properly, to care for them by caring for their grave. In addition, this project addresses the need for new models of employment that allow Aboriginal people to stay on country. Having the skills to work as archaeological field assistants will broaden the employment opportunities of people trained in this program.

Cite this Record

Mapping Unmarked Graves in Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities. Claire Smith, Jordan Ralph, Jasmine Willika, Guy Rankin, Gary Jackson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450382)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.797; min lat: -44.465 ; max long: 154.951; max lat: -9.796 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24435