Researcher Profile

Professor Jo McDonald

Jo McDonald
Jo McDonald

Phone: +61 8 6488 4306

Research Expertise:
  • Rock art method and theory
  • Archaeological method and theory
  • Pleistocene archaeology
  • Chronometric dating of pigment art
  • Archaeology of gender
  • The archaeology of Indigenous Australia
  • Hunter-gatherer archaeology
  • Open site archaeology
  • Regional archaeological studies
  • Application of geographical information systems in archaeology
  • Rock art database development
  • Visualization of rock art


ARCY 2004 - Rock Art in Archaeology Undergraduate course 2012
ARCY 2005 - Rock Art Field school (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Industrial Relevance

As a long term cultural heritage practitioner, Jo has good links with Industry and government, and is well versed in the practicalities of heritage management in Australia. This long term experience has seen her involved as an expert witness in Native Title and Land and Environment Court actions, as well as providing advice to government (Stage and Commonwealth) on heritage matters.


BA Syd., PhD ANU

Previous Positions

Director, Jo McDonald Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Australian National University
Director, Brayshaw McDonald Pty Ltd


Full Member, Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI)
Life Member, AACAI 2010
Board Member, Institute of Professional Practice in Heritage and the Arts
Member, Australian Archaeological Association (AAA)
Member, Society for American Archaeology
Member, Australian Rock Art Association
Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies

Funding Received

AIATSIS Grant for dating arid zone rock art 2005 Canning Stock Route ARC Linkage Project (Rock Art and Jukurrpa) 2007-2011
Jo was Principal Investigator and JMcD CHM was a Partner organisation.
ARC Future Fellowship: Arid zone rock art of the Western Desert and Great Basin 2011-2016
Lead Chief Investigator - Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming ARC Linkage Project (2015-2018)

Future Research

Rock Art of the Pilbara
Kimberley and desert art connections
Pilbara and desert art connections
Great Basin rock art
Rock art of the early Americans and Australians

Roles, responsibilities and expertise

Director, Centre for Rock Art Research + Management
Rio Tinto Chair of Rock Art Studies
ARC Future Fellow


Jo McDonald is the Director of the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management at UWA. She holds the Rio Tinto Chair in Rock Art Studies. Jo has recently completed an ARC Future Fellowship. Her four year research project studied rock art, social and environmental change in two of the great deserts of the world: the Western Desert in Australia and the Great Basin in the USA.
Prior to taking up her role as Director of CRAR+M, Jo was Director of Jo McDonald CHM Pty Ltd, a leading cultural heritage practice based in Sydney. She has more than 35 years’ experience in managing Indigenous archaeology and has been researching rock art throughout this time.

ID: 222137

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