Peter Veth

Professor, BA PhD W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.74A, Old Economics and Commerce Building, Perth campus

    6009 Crawley


  • 282 Citations
  • 10 h-Index

Personal profile


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

Roles and responsibilities

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.

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.

Funding overview

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)

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

Current projects

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

Industrial relevance

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

Teaching overview

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


* The global emergence and nature of desert hunter-gatherers
* The nature of maritime societies through time
* Rock Art in archaeological context
* Theory and method in maritime archaeology
* Archaeology and native title


Dutch - conversational
Martu - basic
Bahasa Indonesian - basic


  • 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

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.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
desert Social Sciences
occupation Earth & Environmental Sciences
rock art Earth & Environmental Sciences
archaeology Social Sciences
antiquity Social Sciences
Pleistocene Earth & Environmental Sciences
sea level Earth & Environmental Sciences
cultural heritage Social Sciences

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

Projects 2011 2021

Research Output 2006 2018

2 Citations

50,000 years of archaeological site stratigraphy and micromorphology in Boodie Cave, Barrow Island, Western Australia

Ward, I., Veth, P., Prossor, L., Denham, T., Ditchfield, K., Manne, T., Kendrick, P., Byrne, C., Hook, F. & Troitzsch, U. 1 Oct 2017 In : Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 15, p. 344-369 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

cultural change
agricultural product
5 Citations

Archaeological discontinuities in the southern hemisphere: A working agenda

Barberena, R., McDonald, J., Mitchell, P. & Veth, P. Jun 2017 In : Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 46, p. 1-11 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

social agencies
population development
4 Citations
marine resource


Barrow Island Archaeology Project - General Images

Veth, P. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 27 Feb 2013


Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) researcher images 2011

Veth, P. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 27 Feb 2013


Investigator Images 2011 - Subterranean Shelter Close-ups

Veth, P. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 27 Feb 2013


Chief Investigator Images 2011 - Landscape and Archaeology Images

Veth, P. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 27 Feb 2013