Sven Ouzman

Dr, BA Witw., MA PhD Calif.-Berkeley, GradCertTerEd UWA, SFHEA

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

    6009 Perth


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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) and have co-ordinated the Honours programme (2015-2018, 2022 Mentor). I currently co-ordinate the Archaeology Major (2015-2022) and am Director of Learning, Teaching + Student Matters for the School of Social Sciences (2020-present). I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

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 >50 academic >100 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

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 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Research Associate, Rock Art Research Institute

1 Mar 2022 → …

Research Associate, Iziko South African Museum

31 Jan 2016 → …

Research Associate, University of South Africa

1 Dec 2014 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • 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


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