• The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway, 1.21 Old Economics Building

    6009 Perth


  • 222 Citations
  • 7 h-Index
1994 …2021
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Personal profile


I am an archaeologist who specialises in rock art, graffiti, heritage politics, Indigenous knowledge, intellectual property issues, landscape, creolisation & cross-cultural contact, monuments, origins, and understandings of time. In terms of intellectual arc, I studied for my BA and BA Honours at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (1988-1992). I then worked as the Head of the Rock Art Department at National Museum in Bloemfontein (1994-2002) before reading for an MA and PhD at UC Berkeley in California (2002-2006; PhD conferred 2008). While studying there I also taught Ancient African History at San Quentin Prison outside San Francisco. I returned to South Africa as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Anthropology & Archaeology (2006-2011) before becoming Curator of Archaeology at Iziko South African Museum (2011-2013). On 1 July 2013 I joined the Centre for Rock Art Research + Management at the University of Western Australia as a Kimberley Rock Art Research Fellow and have been Discipline Chair of Archaeology (2016-2018). I co-ordinate the Archaeology Major (2015-present) and the Honours programme (2015-2018).

I have directed research in Australia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, documenting over 2500 rock art sites and producing 234 site reports and conducting 7 excavations. I have produced 31 academic & 83 other publications; established 6 rock art and heritage site museums; curated 8 exhibitions and trained 53 people.

Previous positions

2011-2013: Curator: Archaeology, Iziko South African Museum
2006-2011: Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
1994-2002: Head: Rock Art Department, National Museum, South Africa

Current projects

* Kimberley Visions: Rock Art Style Provinces of North Australia. 2015-2019. ARC Linkage Project.

* Dating the Aboriginal rock art sequence of the Kimberley in north west Australia. ARC Linkage Project 170100155. * An Archaeology of Origins in Australia

* Rock Markings of the Kimberley

* Human - stone relationships

Future research

* An archaeology of prints and pathways

* An archaeology of graffiti and homelessness

* Pseudo-Archaeology

* Rock art dating and pigment analysis

* South-South knowledge encounters and responses to colonialism

Funding overview


1. 2015-2020 - Kimberley Visions: Rock Art Style Provinces of North Australia. ARC Linkage Project 150100490.   $865,905 in direct funding.

2. 2017-2020 - Dating the Aboriginal rock art sequence of the Kimberley in north west Australia. ARC Linkage Project 170100155.  $880,000 in direct funding.


51 awards including National Research Foundation (1995-2000, 2005, 2009, 2012-2015), Australian Museum Fellowship (1996 & 2000), Fulbright Amy Biehl Prize (2002); Wenner-Gren Foundation (2003, 2006, 2008), UC Berkeley (2002-2008)

Teaching overview

I have taught >40 undergraduate and 5 postgraduate Units/Courses in Australia, South Africa and the United States of America; with primary curriculum development in 32 of these, usually in multi-cultural contexts. I have been Major and Honours Co-ordinator at the Universities of Pretoria (2006-2011) and Western Australia (2015-present). I have initiated a major infrastructure project - the UWA Archaeology, Forensic Anthropology and Rock Art Experimental Facility nad designed and delivered UWA’s first Archaeology Summer School in 2018.  I have won one Student (2018) and one Faculty (2017) teaching award.


Units taught at UWA

Great Discoveries in Global Archaeology (ARCY 1001)

Archaeology A, B + 14 C (ARCY1002) 

Colonisation & Contact (ARCY2002) 

Archaeology of Death (ARCY2004)

Archaeological Field Skills (ARCY3002)                                                                                               

Archaeological Laboratory Skills (ARCY3003) 

Indigenous Archaeology (ARCY3005) 

Archaeological Method & Theory (ARCY3008, with Ben Smith)   

Experimenting with Archaeology (ARCY3013, Summer School)  

Making History (HIST3001, with Nadia Rhook)  

Archaeological Professional Practice (ARCY4102)      

Archaeological Research Training (ARCY4104) 

The Business of Sustainable Heritage (HERI5103)

Honours Research Skills (SOCS4100, with Loretta Baldassar) 

Industrial relevance

* Provide expert opinion on impacts of development on rock art
* Provide expert opinion on curation of archaeological material impacted by development

Roles and responsibilities

* Administrator
* Advocacy
* Lecturer
* Public Outreach
* Researcher


Rock Art
Rock Art and Community in the Kimberley
Indigenous Intellectual Property and Rights
Museums and Archives
Vision and the non-visual


* English
* Afrikaans

External positions

Research Associate, Iziko South African Museum

31 Jan 2016 → …

Research Associate, University of South Africa

1 Dec 2014 → …


  • Archaeology
  • Rock Art
  • Heritage
  • Grafitti
  • Aboriginal Heritage
  • African rock art
  • Australian rock art; especially the Kimberley
  • Archaeological theory
  • Archaeology and identity
  • Graffiti
  • Heritage studies
  • Human interactions with stone
  • Indigenous intellectual property and modern uses of heritage
  • Museums and public archaeology
  • Prison education
  • Rock art

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Sven Ouzman is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 20 Similar Profiles
art Social Sciences
rock art Earth & Environmental Sciences
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archaeology Social Sciences
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artifact Social Sciences
river Social Sciences

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

Research Output 1994 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

Dating painting events through by-products of ochre processing: Borologa 1 Rockshelter, Kimberley, Australia

David, B., Delannoy, J-J., Petchey, F., Huntley, J., Gunn, R., Veth, P., Genuite, K., Skelly, R. J., Mialanes, J., Harper, S., Ouzman, S., Aboriginal Corporation, B., Heaney, P. & Wong, V., 19 May 2019, In : Australian Archaeology. 85, 1, p. 57-94 38 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rock Shelter

Minjiwarra: archaeological evidence of human occupation of Australia’s northern Kimberley by 50,000 BP

Veth, P., Ditchfield, K., Bateman, M., Ouzman, S., Benoit, M., Motta, A. P., Lewis, D., Harper, S. & Aboriginal Corporation, B., 19 Aug 2019, In : Australian Archaeology. 86, 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Human Occupation
Archaeological Evidence

‘Kimberley Stout figures’: a new rock art style for Kimberley rock art, North-Western Australia

Gunn, R., David, B., Douglas, L., Delannoy, J-J., Harper, S., Heaney, P., Ouzman, S. & Veth, P., 11 Nov 2019, In : Australian Archaeology. 85, 3, 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Rock Art
Western Australia
13 Citations (Scopus)

Plants before farming: The deep history of plant-use and representation in the rock art of Australia's Kimberley region

Veth, P., Myers, C., Heaney, P. & Ouzman, S., 30 Sep 2018, In : Quaternary International. 489, p. 26-45 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

rock art
material culture
indigenous population
9 Citations (Scopus)

Mineral deposition systems at rock art sites, Kimberley, Northern Australia — Field observations

Green, H., Gleadow, A., Finch, D., Hergt, J. & Ouzman, S., 1 Aug 2017, In : Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 14, p. 340-352 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rock Art
Northern Australia

Projects 2015 2021

Press / Media