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 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

Refer to Staff Profiles for more detail on Memmott.

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

Other Chief Investigators:
Assoc. 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 refer here (link to What We Do/ Research under heading Exemplar Research Projects/ Intertidal Rock-Wall Fish Traps, Wellesley Islands Region – fishtraps.htm).
For information about the Wellesley Islands Sea Claim refer here (link to What We Do/ Consultancy/ Native Title & Cultural Heritage under heading Exemplar Projects/ Wellesley Islands Sea Claim).