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This guide is a starting point for people interested in the archaeological investigation of Aboriginal Sydney and New South Wales. Some works give context to Aboriginal cultural sites and to the archaeological collections at the Australian Museum. Aboriginal technology, art, and settlement and occupation patterns have been unearthed through archaeological investigations. Archaeological evidence and frameworks may also make positive contributions to native title claims, and First Nations Peoples in other countries have successfully used archaeology as evidence in this way. Communities may find archaeological studies emphasising place and sites especially useful for researching their local histories, local tourism opportunities, and issues of heritage site deterioration/preservation.

Descriptions and analyses of different types of sites may be found in these resources including: shell middens, occupation sites, fishing, stone tool production sites, rock art, and carved trees.

All publications listed in this guide are held by the Australian Museum Research Library unless otherwise stated.

Please note: This guide is to help start your research and is not reflective of the extensive materials available in the Library's collection.


Recommended reading and resources

Recommended reading

Books by Australian Museum staff relating to Australian Archaeology

Other Australian Museum resources relating to Australian Archaeology

Australian Archaeology: The Australian Museum is the custodian of material from Aboriginal archaeological sites in NSW under s.88 of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (the Act). Australian Museum publications contain further information about some of these sites.

Records of the Australian Museum and Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement: Articles about New South Wales sites, stone tool technology and rock art can be found in Records. Localities include regions: Sydney, north and south coast of NSW, western NSW, Hunter Valley, Hawkesbury. Specific NSW or Sydney localities include: Angeldool, Balls Head (Port Jackson), Bathurst, Bombaderry Creek, Bundanoon, Capertree Valley, Clybucca, Conjola, Copmanhurst (Clarence River), Dubbo, Glen Davis, Kuringai, Lapstone Creek, Mootwingee, Morna Point, Singleton, Balmoral Beach (Sydney), and Tamworth.

  • All 1000 articles (as at February 2018) can be browsed as a hyperlinked list which can be sorted by Year or First Author.
  • Search options are: article title, author, and keyword.
  • Limit searches by Journal Title or Year.
  • Full text search of each PDF is possible once the PDF is opened.

Other books relating to Australian Archaeology


Unpublished archaelogical reports

Reports from archaeological investigations required to be carried out under NSW planning laws can provide valuable information about Aboriginal sites and associated cultural material. These reports are usually submitted to government agencies or private sector companies undertaking major infrastructure projects. These reports may be deposited with State, specialist and regional libraries or held by councils and government departments.

Some reports are held in the Library, for example:

For more archaeological reports undertaken by the Australian Museum, see the Recommended Readings section above.


External resources

The following resources are not held by the Australian Museum Research Library, but may be useful for your research.



Search terms

Searching by subject

Go to our Library Catalogue and use some of the following search terms in the subject field:

  • Aboriginal Australians (used very broadly and only with Sydney or NSW as a narrower term)
  • Archaeology and Australia
  • Carved trees
  • Excavations (Archaeology)
  • Historic sites (often but not always includes Aboriginal archaeological sites)
  • Rock art, carving, engraving

Searching by author

Go to our Library Catalogue and use some of the following search terms in the author field:

  • Attenbrow, Valerie, 1942-
  • Mathews, R. H. (Robert Hamilton), 1841-1918.
  • McCarthy, Frederick D. (Frederick David), 1905-1997.
  • McDonald, Josephine
  • Megaw, J. V. S. (John Vincent Stanley)


Thanks to Val Attenbrow, Senior Fellow, Australian Museum Research Institute, for guidance with this topic and related resources.