Researcher Profile

Professor Peter Veth

Peter Veth
Peter Veth

Phone: +61 8 6488 1807

Research Expertise:
  • Archaeology of Indigenous Australia
  • Studies of global desert hunter–gatherers
  • Rock art in archaeological contexts
  • Evolution of maritime societies
  • Archaeology and Native Title
  • Archaeological method and theory
  • Maritime archaeology
  • Australian arid zone ethnography
  • The archaeology of submerged landscapes
  • Cultural heritage management and significance assessment
  • Public education and archaeology


1) Introduction to Archaeology (1st year)
2) Australian Archaeology (2nd/3rd year)
3) Archaeological Science (2nd year)
4) Maritime Archaeology (2nd/3rd year)
5) Archaeological Method and Theory (3rd year)
6) Critical Issues in Archaeology (3rd year)
7) Field Techniques in Terrestrial Archaeology (3rd year)
8) Field Techniques in Maritime Archaeology (2nd/3rd year)
9) Archaeology of the Ship (2nd/3rd year)
10) Honours Program (4th year and Graduate Diploma) - circa 25 Honours level as primary supervisor
11) Masters and Doctoral candidates – 30 candidates supervised as chair/primary supervisor
12) Archaeology of Indigenous Australia ARCY3005
13) Honours Method and Theory ARCY7458

Industrial Relevance

Senior Archaeological amd Heritage Consultant
Archaeology Expert Witness in the Federal Court


BA PhD W.Aust.

Current Projects

1) The Barrow Island Archaeology Project
2) The Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project
3) The Dating and Conservation of Kimberley Rock Art

Previous Positions

1991-2 Research Officer UWA
1992 Heritage Regulator DIA
1993-2002 Faculty JCU
2002-2005 Executive of AIATSIS
2005-2010 D/Director NCIS, ANU
2011 A/Professor RSH ANU
2012 Professor of Archaeology, UWA

New and Noteworthy

Thirteen Expert Witness reports have been written for litigation/mediation in native title cases before the South Australian, NSW and Western Australian federal courts including the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, De Rose Hill, Wongatha, Mantjiltjarra/Ngalia, Koara, Koara overlap with Wutha, Wutha, Sir Samuel, Bundjalang Peoples, Central West, Ngadju, Martu and Birriliburu Native Title Claims.
I was retained as a Senior Heritage Adviser to Rio Tinto from 2006 – 2008.


Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities (2005)
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (2008)
Full member of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Incorporated
Member of the Australian Archaeological Association
Member of the Society for Amercican Archaeologists
Member of Australia ICOMOS
Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Funding Received

Major Nationally Competitive Grants Last 10 Years
2000-2002 ARC Discovery - Archaeology of East Timor Project (with CIs)
2007-2011 ARC Linkage - Rock Art and Jukurr Canning Stock Route Project (with CIs)
2010 – 2012 ARC Discovery - Two Lakes Project Lakes Gregory and Mungo (with CIs)
2011-2014 ARC Linkage - The Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project (Lead CI)
2013-2015 ARC Discovery and DORA 3 - The Barrow Island Archaeology Project (Lead CI)
2014-2016 ARC Linkage - The Dating and Conservation of Kimberley Rock Art (CI)

Future Research

The archaeology of Barrow Island.
Art, archaeology and social values in the Kimberley.
The in situ study, reburial and conservation of colonial shipwrecks.
Heritage and IPAs in Australia's deserts.

Roles, responsibilities and expertise

Peter is currently an ARC Discovery Outstanding Reearcher Level 3 and the Inaugural Kimberley Foundation Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art in the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management. Peter has skills in Indigenous prehistoric archaeology, contact and native title archaeology and maritime archaeology. He has also worked with over 100 Aboriginal communities and collaborated on values assessments for State heritage instruments as well as native title in the Federal Court; and National and World Heritage Listing.


Peter Veth has been involved in archaeological, ethnohistoric, ethnographic and maritime studies throughout Australia, Torres Strait, Maluku Province Indonesia, East Timor and Pitcairn Island. Beginning with surveys on the Sturt Creek of the SE Kimberley in to the Great Sandy Desert in 1980, he has now carried our several hundred projects, often in large multi-disciplinary teams, throughout Greater Australia. Focusing originally on the evolution and dynamics of desert hunter-gatherer societies from the Western Desert and elsewhere, Peter has overseen substantive projects on early maritime sites on the Montebello Islands and now Barrow island; art in archaeological context including the Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) and the Canning Stock Route; the Australian Historic Shipwrecks Protection Project (an in situ reburial protocol with longitudinal conservation); and the systematic study of variability in Kimberley rock art - including its age, archaeological context and cultural odes of production through time. Peter has researched and published widely on the use of archaeological and claimant evidence in native title (federal court) proceedings and currently co-authored the authoritative chapter for lawyers and judges on Forensic Anthropology. Peter has long served on numerous heritage legislative review committees,made over 700 multi-media presentations on heritage matters and regularly speaks to industry and regulatory forums. He has worked with over 100 ATSI communities for 30 years helping develop new models for the integration of archaeological research and community governance, education and capacity building initiatives

ID: 214166

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