Staff profile: Dr Val Attenbrow

Position title:
Principal Research Scientist
Section:
Anthropology Research
Phone:
+612 9320 6196
Contact form:

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Profile

My interest in archaeology began during a five-year stay in Europe in the 1960s. Back in Sydney, I completed a three-year diploma course in archaeology before graduating with an Honours degree from the University of Sydney’s Department of Anthropology in 1976. A keen bushwalker, my interests moved from Classical, Near Eastern and European archaeology to Australian Aboriginal archaeology. I worked as a consultant archaeologist and in the Cultural Heritage Division of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (now Department of Environment and Climate Change) before completing my PhD at the University of Sydney. I am now a Principal Research Scientist in the Anthropology Unit, Research Branch of the Australian Museum, where I have worked since 1989.

 

Qualification

  • BA(Hons) University of Sydney
  • PhD University of Sydney

Awards

Memberships

  • Australian Archaeological Association (Life Member)
  • Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology
  • Australian Association of Consulting Archaeology (Associate)
  • Australian Academy of the Humanities (Fellow)

Research Projects

  • British Museum: Talking Objects Project (Bark Shield), Botany Bay shield collected 1770 by James Cook and Joseph Banks. More
  • Axes, Exchange, Social Change: New Perspectives on Australian Hunter-Gatherers. More
  • Evolution of technology and tool use in 10,000 years of Aboriginal prehistory. More
  • Late Holocene mega-tsunamis and the coastal archaeological record of New South Wales. More
  • Marine carbon reservoir variability along the New South Wales south coast. More
     

Publications

In press

  • Attenbrow, V. (in press) The role of marine resources in the diet of pre-colonial Aboriginal people and land use patterns around Port Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales. Nuno Bicho, Jonathan Haws and Loren G.Davis (Eds) Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement, pp. New York: Springer.

Published

2010

  • Attenbrow, V. (2010a) Aboriginal fishing on Port Jackson, and the introduction of shell fish-hooks to coastal New South Wales, Australia. In. P. Hutching, D. Lunney and D. Hochuli (eds), The Natural History of Sydney, pp.16-34. Mosman, NSW: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. Abstract
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2010b) Catching fish. Men and women did it differently. Explore 32(2):24-25.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2010c) Sydney’s Aboriginal Past. Investigating the Archaeological and Historical Records. (2nd edition – soft cover). Sydney: UNSW Press.

2009

  • Attenbrow, V., G. Robertson and P. Hiscock. (2009) The changing abundance of backed artefacts in south-eastern Australia: a response to Holocene climate change? Journal of Archaeological Science 36:2765-2770. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2009.08.018.
  • Robertson, G., V. Attenbrow and P. Hiscock. (2009) The multiple uses of Australian backed artefacts. Antiquity 83(320):296-308. Full PDF
  • Hutchinson, I. and V. Attenbrow (2009) Late Holocene mega-tsunamis in the Tasman Sea: an assessment of the coastal archaeological record of New South Wales. The Holocene 19(4):599-609.
  • Grave, P. and V. Attenbrow. (2009) X-Ray specs: viewing artefacts in a new light. Explore 31(1):13.
  • Attenbrow, V. (2009) The Mountain Darug. In E. Stockton and J. Merriman. Blue Mountains Dreaming. The Aboriginal Heritage (Second Edition), pp.105-28. . Lawson, NSW: Blue Mountains Education and Research Trust.

2008

  • Attenbrow, V. (2008). Ethnographic and archaeological collections by F.D. McCarthy held in the Australian Museum. In N. Peterson, L. Hamby and L. Allen (eds), Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections, pp.472-507. Melbourne University Press.
  • Attenbrow, V., T. Doelman and T Corkill (2008) Organising the manufacture of bondi points at Balmoral Beach, Middle Harbour, Sydney, NSW Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 43(3):104-119.
  • Black, M., S. Mooney and V. Attenbrow (2008) The implications of a 14,200 year contiguous fire record from Goochs Swamp, NSW Blue Mountains, Australia, for human-fire-climate relationships. The Holocene 18(3):437-47.
  • Robertson, G. and V. Attenbrow (2008) Skin-working at Emu Tracks II, New South Wales, Australia: an integrated residue and use-wear analysis of backed artefacts. Lithic Technology 33(1):31-49.

2007

  • Attenbrow, V. (2007). Emu Tracks 2, Kangaroo & Echidna, and Two Moths. Further radiocarbon ages for Aboriginal sites in the Upper Mangrove Creek catchment, New South Wales. Australian Archaeology 65:51-54. http://www.atsis.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=49671
  • Attenbrow, V. and S. Mooney. (2007). Fire, climate change and Aboriginal land management: What’s the connection. Explore 29(5):12-13.
  • Mooney, S., M. Webb and V. Attenbrow. (2007). A comparison of charcoal and archaeological information to address the influences on Holocene fire activity in the Sydney Basin. Australian Geographer 38(2):177-94.
  • Specht, J. and V. Attenbrow (eds). (2007). Archaeological Studies of the Middle and Late Holocene, Papua New Guinea. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum (online) No. 20. www.australianmuseum.net.au/pdf/publications/1472_complete.pdf [also 1473 to 1481]

2006

  • Attenbrow, V. (2006a). Aboriginal placenames in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia - a dual naming project. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/unescolandscapes/files/ATTENBROWVal.pdf.
  • Attenbrow, V. (2006b). Book review: Botany Bay: Where Histories Meet, by Maria Nugent, 2005. Aboriginal History 29:224-225.S
  • Attenbrow, V. (2006c). Echidnas in Aboriginal life. Explore 1:6.

2005

  • Hiscock, P. and V. Attenbrow (2005a) Australia’s Eastern Regional Sequence revisited: Technology and Change at Capertee 3. British Archaeological Reports International Series 1397, Archaeopress, Oxford.
  • Hiscock, P. and V. Attenbrow (2005b) Reduction continuums and tool use. In C. Clarkson and L. Lamb (eds) Lithics 'Down Under': Australian Perspectives on Lithic Reduction, Use and Classification, pp.43–55. British Archaeological Reports International Monograph Series. Oxford: Archaeopress.
  • Attenbrow, V. (2005) Book review: Palaeo-Environmental Change and the Persistence of Human Occupation in South-Western Australian Forests, by Joe Dortch, 2004. Archaeology in Oceania 40(2):77–78.

2004

  • Attenbrow, V. (2004a) Val Attenbrow’s tips to excavating shell middens. In Burke, H. and C. Smith, The Archaeologist’s Field Handbook, pp 145–46. Allen and Unwin.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2004b) What's Changing? Population Size or Land–Use Patterns? The Archaeology of Upper Mangrove Creek, Sydney Basin. Terra australis No 21. Pandanus Press, ANU, Canberra. [http://epress.anu.edu.au/titles/terra_australis.html]
  • Attenbrow, V.J. & R. Fullagar (eds) (2004) A Pacific Odyssey – Archaeology and Anthropology in the Western Pacific. Papers in Honour of Jim Specht. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 29.
  • Fullagar, R. and V. Attenbrow (2004) Preface. In Attenbrow, V.J. and R. Fullagar (eds), A Pacific Odyssey – Archaeology and Anthropology in the Western Pacific. Papers in Honour of Jim Specht. Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 29:v.
  • Hiscock, P. & V. Attenbrow (2004) A revised sequence of backed artefact production at Capertee 3. Archaeology in Oceania 39:94–99.

2003

  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2003–2004) Potential archaeological deposits in the storage area of the Mangrove Creek Dam in the NSW central coast. Newsletter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists 94:17–18.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2003) Book review: Aboriginal Sydney – A Guide to Important Places of the Past and Present, by Melinda Hinkson, with photography by Alana Harris. Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra 2001. Aboriginal History 27:274–75.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2003) ANPS research friend: Val Attenbrow. Placenames Australia. Newsletter of the Australian National Placenames Survey, September 2003:5.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2003) Habitation and land use patterns in the Upper Mangrove Creek catchment, NSW central coast, Australia. In Specht, J., Attenbrow, V.J. and R. Torrence (eds) Shaping the Future Pasts: Papers in Honour of J. Peter White. Australian Archaeology 57:20–31.
  • Attenbrow, V. (2003) Land and Sea: Common Ground and Contemporary Issues for Australasian Archaeology. Report on Australian Archaeology Conference, 17–21 November 2002, Townsville, Queensland. Newsletter of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists 92:18–19.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2003) Sydney’s Aboriginal Past. Investigating the Archaeological and Historical Records. (reprint – soft cover) UNSW Press, Sydney.
  • Attenbrow, V., Stern, N. and P. Veth (2003) Obituary: Pat Vinnicombe 1932–2003. Australian Archaeology 56:49–50.
  • Attenbrow, V., Stern, N. and P. Veth (2003) Obituary: Pat Vinnicombe. Australian Aboriginal Studies 2003/1:103–104.
  • Hiscock, P. and V.J.Attenbrow (2003) Early Australian implement variation: a reduction model. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:230–249.
  • Specht, J , V. Attenbrow and R. Torrence (eds) (2003) Shaping the Future Pasts: Papers in Honour of J. Peter White. Special issue Australian Archaeology 57.
  • Specht, J., V. Attenbrow, R. Torrence (2003) Introduction to special volume. Australian Archaeology 57: iii.

2002

  • Attenbrow, V.J. (2002) Sydney’s Aboriginal Past. Investigating the Archaeological and Historical Records. (hard cover) UNSW Press, Sydney.
  • Hiscock, P. and V. Attenbrow (2002) Morphological and reduction continuums in eastern Australia: measurement and implications at Capertee 3. In: Ulm, S, Westcott, C, Reid, J., Ross, A., Lilley, I., Prangnell, J., and Kirkwood, L. (eds), Barriers, Borders, Boundaries. Proceedings of the 2001 Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference, Tempus 7:167–174. Anthropology Museum, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

1999

  • Attenbrow, V. (1999) Archaeological research in coastal southeastern Australia: a review. In Hall, J and McNiven, I (eds), Australian Coastal Archaeology, pp. 195–210. ANH Publications, RSPAS, The Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1999) The Southeast. In J. Hall and I. McNiven. Australian Coastal Archaeology, p. 193. ANH Publications, RSPAS, The Australian National University, Canberra.

1998

  • Attenbrow, V.J., R. Fullagar, and C. Szpak (1998) Stone files and shell fish-hooks in southeastern Australia. In Fullagar, R. (ed), A Closer Look: Recent Australian Studies of Stone Tools. Sydney University Archaeological Methods Series 6, pp.127–48. Archaeology Computing Laboratory, School of Archaeology, University of Sydney
  • David, B., I. McNiven, J. Flood and V. Attenbrow (1998[1994]) Of Lightning Brothers and White Cockatoos: dating the antiquity of signifying systems in the Northern Territory. Antiquity 68 (259):241-51. Reprinted in T. Murray (ed) 1998 Archaeology of Aboriginal Australia, pp.290`304. Allen and Unwin.
  • Hiscock, P. and V. Attenbrow 1998 Early Holocene backed artefacts from Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 33(2):49–62

prior to 1997

  • Hiscock, P. and V. Attenbrow 1996 Backed into a corner. Australian Archaeology 42:64–65.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. 1995 Port Jackson Archaeological Project - Levels of Aboriginal involvement. In I. Davidson, C. Lovell-Jones, R. Bancroft (eds) p.18–21. Archaeologists and Aborigines Working Together. University of New England Press, Armidale.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. 1995 Book review: Angophora Reserve, by Josephine McDonald. 1992. Australian Archaeology 41:59–61
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1995) Book review: Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, edited by E. Stockton, 1993. Australian Archaeology 40:70–71.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1995) Book review: The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia. Gen. Ed. David Horton, 1994. Australian Natural Australia Winter 1995, 25(1):72.
  • Attenbrow, V.J., B. David and J. Flood (1995) Mennge-ya 1 and the origins of points: new insights into the appearance of points in the semi-arid zone of the Northern Territory. Archaeology in Oceania 30:105–20.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. and K. Khan (1995) F.D. McCarthy: His work and legacy at the Australian Museum. In: M. Sullivan, S. Brockwell and A. Webb (eds), Archaeology in the North. Proceedings of the 1993 Australian Archaeological Association Conference, pp.5–16. The North Australia Research Unit, Australian National University, Darwin.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. and D. Steele (1995) Fishing in Port Jackson, New South Wales – more than met the eye. Antiquity 69:47–60.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1994) Book review: Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, edited by E. Stockton, 1993. Australian Natural History, Summer 1994, 24(11):73.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1994) Book review: The Riches of Ancient Australia, by Josephine Flood, 1993. Australian Natural History, Spring 1994, 24(10):70–71.
  • David, B., I. McNiven, J. Flood and V. Attenbrow (1994) Of Lightning Brothers and White Cockatoos: dating the antiquity of signifying systems in the Northern Territory. Antiquity 68 (259):241-51
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1992) Shell Bed or Shell Midden. Australian Archaeology 34:3–21.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1991) The Port Jackson Archaeological Project: a study of the prehistory of the Port Jackson catchment, New South Wales. Stage I - site recording and site assessment. Australian Aboriginal Studies 2:40–55.
  • Specht, J., P Gordon, V. Attenbrow, P. Tacon, Z. Wakelin-King, L. Bonshek, J. Graham (1991) Working together on issues of access: Indigenous peoples and the Australian Museum, In S. Tonkin (ed), Something for Everyone. Access to Museums, pp.185–88. Proceedings of the 1991 Conference of The Council of Australian Museum Associations, Adelaide.
  • Meehan, B. and V. Attenbrow (1990) Australian Museum. In J. Stanton, B. Meehan, V. Attenbrow, A.H. Mian, B. Reynolds, R. Robins, E. Wishart, C. Anderson, J. Clark. and R.J. Watt. Positions and Policies of Museums in Australia on Human Skeletal Remains. pp.52–53. Australian Archaeology 31:52–60
  • David, B., I. McNiven, J. Flood, V. Attenbrow and R. Frost (1990) The Lightning Brothers Project: The 1988 and 1989 Field Seasons. Australian Archaeology 31:86–91.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1989) Aboriginal People of New South Wales. Australian and Torres Strait Islander Commission. (20 pages)
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1989) Book review: Checklist and Requirements for Consultants Reports, edited by L. Haglund, 1984. Australian Archaeology 28:150–51.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1989) Book review: Directory of Consulting Reports in Australian Archaeology No 1, edited by P. Hughes, I. Johnson and H. Brayshaw. 1985; and Directory of Consulting Reports in Australian Archaeology No 2, edited by J. McDonald and A. Ross. 1987. Australian Archaeology 28:151.
  • Attenbrow,V. (1988): Thesis abstract. The Upper Mangrove Creek catchment. A study of quantitative changes in the archaeological record. Australian Archaeology 26, 110-111.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1987) Upper Mangrove Creek. In: J.C.R. Camm & J. McQuilton (eds). Australians – A Historical Atlas, pp.34–35. Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, Sydney.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1985) Book review: Between Plateau and Plain Flexible Responses to Varied Environments in Southwestern Australia, by June Anderson 1984. AIAS, Canberra. Archaeology in Oceania 20(2):72.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. and T. Negerevich (1984) Lucas Heights Waste Disposal Depot: A Case Study. In: S. Sullivan and S. Bowdler (eds). Site Surveys and Significance Assessment in Australian Archaeology:136–51. Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1983) Book review: Coast and Estuary. Archaeological Investigations in the North Coast of New South Wales at Wombah and Schnapper Point, by Isabel McBryde 1982. Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU, Canberra. In: Mankind 41(2):135–37.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1982) The Archaeology of Upper Mangrove Creek Catchment Research in Progress. In: S. Bowdler (ed.). Coastal Archaeology of Eastern Australia:63–78. Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1982) Mangrove Creek Dam Salvage Excavation Project. Aboriginal Sites Newsletter 5:4–5.
  • Attenbrow, V.J. (1980) Loggers Shelter, Upper Mangrove Creek. Australian Archaeology 11:25–27. 

 

Research Projects