India Dilkes-Hall

Dr

  • The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

India is an archaeologist with archaeobotanical leanings. She has participated in and conducted archaeological excavations throughout Australia (with specific reference to the Kimberley region) and across Island South East Asia, including the Philippines, Timor-Leste, and East Kalimantan, Borneo. Her interest in archaeobotany led to the completion of an honours (first class) and PhD at UWA. 

Her doctoral research, titled 47,000 years of Aboriginal plant use and monsoon rainforest connections in the Kimberley northwest Australia, significantly advanced archaeobotanical knowledge in Australia by pioneering systematic macrobotanical research in north Western Australia and creating new resources essential for the application of the discipline in the region. Her most significant contributions to the field of archaeobotany include; developing improved analytical methods and techniques to re-assess previous macrobotanical studies and collections; demonstrating the resilience and longevity of Aboriginal traditional ecological knowledge in north western Australia; demonstrating the importance of shared and transmitted ecological knowledge in the peopling of northwest Australia; confirming the importance of monsoon rainforest in Aboriginal lifeways; and highlighting the importance and success of community-led research and Indigenous collaboration in experimental and archaeobotanical research, in an effort to extract archaeobotany from its Eurocentric framework. In recognition of the high-calibre of this research her thesis was selected for the Board of the Graduate Research School Dean’s List and subsequently awarded the Robert Street Prize—granted each year for the most outstanding thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy across all disciplines at UWA.

Currently, India holds a prestigious Forrest Foundation Prospect Fellowship that relates to 2019 and 2020 archaeological excavations she co-led in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, conducted under ARC The unknown ‘Ice Age’ artists of Borneo (FT170100025) awarded to Professor Maxime Aubert at Griffith University. Project title: Human evolution and ecological knowledge: investigating the role of people-plant relationships in human adaptation and migration in tropical rainforests.

India is a specialist in the analysis of macrobotanical remains (seeds, nuts, fruits, and other floristic elements) to provide insights into people’s diet and ecological relationships in the past in association with other cultural materials excavated from stratified archaeological contexts. Broadly, her research interests include Indigenous Australian and Island South East Asian archaeology and archaeobotany, diet and subsistence, human evolution and migration in the Indo-Pacific region, traditional ecological knowledge, and ethnobotany.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Research expertise keywords

  • Indigenous Australian archaeology
  • Archaeobotany
  • Island South East Asian archaeology
  • Tropical archaeobotany
  • Diet
  • Subsistence
  • Human evolution
  • Human migration
  • Tropical rainforests
  • Traditional ecological knowledge
  • Ethnobotany

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