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

    6009 Perth


  • 178 Citations
  • 7 h-Index
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


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.

Roles and responsibilities

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

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

Funding overview

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)

Previous positions

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

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.

Teaching overview

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


Rock art and information exchange;
Gender and rock art;
Arid zone rock art;
The contemporaneity of rock art with other occupation evidence;
Direct-dating rock art;
Rock art and dreaming tracks (Jukurrpa);
Applied rock art research (Native Title arena, National Heritage and World Heritage)


written and colloquial French


  • 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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 10 Similar Profiles
art Social Sciences
rock art Earth & Environmental Sciences
desert Social Sciences
archaeology Social Sciences
cultural heritage Social Sciences
occupation Earth & Environmental Sciences
recording Social Sciences
graphic arts Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2012 2016

Research Output 2006 2018

1 Citations

Karnatukul (Serpent’s glen): A new chronology for the oldest site in Australia’s Western Desert

McDonald, J., Reynen, W., Petchey, F., Ditchfield, K., Byrne, C., Vannieuwenhuyse, D., Leopold, M. & Veth, P., 1 Sep 2018, In : PLoS One. 13, 9, e0202511.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Western Australia
rock art

Murujuga Rockshelter: First evidence for Pleistocene occupation on the Burrup Peninsula

McDonald, J., Reynen, W., Ditchfield, K., Dortch, J., Leopold, M., Stephenson, B., Whitley, T., Ward, I. & Veth, P., 1 Aug 2018, Quaternary Science Reviews, 193, p. 266-287.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

rock art

Recognition and value of submerged prehistoric landscape resources in Australia

Ward, I., Smyth, D., Veth, P., McDonald, J. & McNeair, S., 15 Jun 2018, In : Ocean and Coastal Management. 160, p. 167-174 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

cultural heritage
marine park
Western Australia
sea level
1 Citations

Testing predictions for symmetry, variability and chronology of backed artefact production in Australia's Western Desert

Mcdonald, J., Reynen, W. & Fullagar, R., 1 Oct 2018, In : Archaeology in Oceania. 53, 3, p. 179-190 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Western Desert


Karnatukul, Katjarra (Serpents Glen)

McDonald, J. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 23 Mar 2018



Cape Lambert Site CL3-12-02

McDonald, J. (Creator), Carson, A. (Creator), Winton, V. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 12 Oct 2012


Bunuba Lifeways project

Balme, J. (Creator), Winton, V. (Creator), Carson, A. (Creator), McDonald, J. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 22 Oct 2012


Happy Valley field school 2012

McDonald, J. (Creator), Winton, V. (Creator), Carson, A. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 12 Oct 2012


Port Hedland Legacy

McDonald, J. (Creator), Paterson, A. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 27 Feb 2013



Rhys Jones Medal

Josephine McDonald (Recipient), 5 Dec 2016

Prize/award: Prize