The 36th annual Australian Archaeological Association (AAA) conference was held in Coffs Harbour between 1 and 4th December 2013. Claire drove down and presented a paper on the influence of climate change on changing settlement patterns in the Gulf (which is related to her PhD research).
The conference was extremely interesting and enjoyable. President of AAA, Pat Faulkner, opened the conference and Uncle Mark Flanders did a very moving Welcome to Country on behalf of the Garlambirla Guyuu Girrwaa Elders. Sessions then commenced covering a range of interesting topics, starting with an opening keynote by Doug Comer on “The Strategic Value of Best Practices for Archaeological Heritage Management”.
Doug used his considerable experience with ICOMOS and the field of CRM around the world to discuss pressures on heritage management now and in the future, as well as encourage everyone working with heritage to address these issues in the language of economics and politics, and thus be understood by those responsible for legislation and large projects.
Parallel sessions meant the usual challenges of deciding which papers to attend, but there was a broad coverage of interesting topics, with papers largely grouped in specialities. Highlights were the social media session with 2 papers presented by remote via Google Hangout, with presenters physically in the UK, US and France. The Archaeological Data Management session also used Google Hangout so that Ian Johnson could present on Heurist and Brian Ballsun-Stanton could present on FAIMS (along with Shaun Ross, who was physically present) from Sydney. That session was also streamed live online and is available on YouTube here. We encourage anyone interested in any aspect of archaeological data management to watch it.
Another highlight was the FAIMS workshop, which was also recorded and can be accessed here. Although we struggled with the limitations of a very flaky and weak wifi signal, we managed to download the app and access the Heurist module builder for FAIMS. FAIMS is progressing very well. Adela demonstrated the GIS capabilities outside (so we could access GPS as well) and it was very impressive indeed. We strongly urge everyone to have a look at the wiki, give it a go and contribute to this incredibly worthwhile project! Well done all at FAIMS!
All in all a very worthwhile experience and source of a lot of food for thought. We look forward to next year’s conference already!