What We Can Offer
From Aboriginal and historical cultural heritage assessments and surveys, drone photography, ethnobotany and predictive modelling to artefact analysis and GIS mapping – Turnstone Archaeology offers a wide range of archaeological and technical skills to help with your cultural heritage projects.
Aboriginal People believe that ‘country’ was created by heroic and totemic ancestral beings that traversed the whole land during a period known as the Dreaming. These ancestor beings travelled over the land, engaging in human-like activities. They released the life-force that enabled the population of the land; established cyclical seasonal patterns, times and places for ceremonies, and the plants and animals.
This means that an understanding of the environmental context is an important aspect of supporting Aboriginal People with knowledge of their country and developing a predictive cultural landscape model that can assist with site location. Geology and soils help identify sources of tool stone; hydrology provides locations of water sources; vegetation derived from an understanding of regional ecosystems also helps locate camping sites and food resources.
For Aboriginal People, this multi-layered approach to country where everything – ridges, waterholes, streams, sandy terraces, gravel bars, rock outcrops, food trees, all making up ‘country’ – is profoundly useful. Rather than seeing sites in isolation, this approach encapsulates the environmental, spiritual and physical attributes that connect people to the earth and help reconstruct occupation patterns lost through years of dispossession.
Communication and Consultation
Turnstone Archaeology combines years of knowledge and experience, enabling us to deliver meaningful and successful outcomes when working with Aboriginal People and proponents in cultural heritage.
Turnstone acknowledges Aboriginal people as the primary keepers of their heritage. We view our role as the interface between cultural knowledge and technical and legislative requirements.
As part of the variety of services Turnstone provides, we can assist in understanding of Queensland and Commonwealth legislation and the Duty of Care under the Queensland Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act (2003).
We endeavour to work together with Aboriginal communities and proponents to produce practical and manageable mitigation strategies through developing significance assessments and clear and concise reports.
Desktop Studies and Research
Desktop studies identify potential constraints and issues before the start of a project.
Among the many services that Turnstone Archaeology offers is background research prior to assessments and surveys. This is an essential role in gathering data/information on land tenures, previous surveys, state and local heritage registers (DATSIP), and our own extensive records.
Predictive Landscape Modelling
Turnstone Archaeology has developed a highly successful landscape predictive model that facilitates locating potential subsurface cultural heritage. Predictive modelling assists in rebuilding Aboriginal cultural landscapes including historically modified areas. For proponents, the predictive model identifies potentially expensive constraints and for Aboriginal People, helps protect and understand their cultural heritage.
Cultural Heritage Surveys and Assessments
Turnstone’s archaeologists bring many years of experience when undertaking pedestrian field surveys with Aboriginal People and proponents to identify and protect cultural heritage. We undertake large and small surveys and heritage assessments across Queensland.
Turnstone Archaeology provides several practical mitigation strategies based on recommendations from field surveys and assessments. These strategies can include avoidance, surface collections, spatial mapping, subsurface investigation, artefact and residue analysis, dating techniques, artefact curation and cultural audits.
Best Practice Reports
Turnstone Archaeology places a strong emphasis on best practice reports that can meet a variety of project requirements.
Reports provide a safeguard for both Aboriginal People and industry proponents by way of meeting legislative requirements and preserving cultural knowledge.
Archaeological excavations can be an integral component to understanding past cultural landscapes. Since 2006, Turnstone Archaeology has pioneered a process of excavation involving targeted test pitting that maximises Aboriginal involvement. This process can utilise mechanical excavations, wet or dry sieving, and hand trowelling techniques. This strategy has been highly successful over a range of heritage projects including urban developments, road and dam infrastructure, mining, and government contracts.
Turnstone Archaeology provides industry-standard GIS mapping to suit all project types.
Keeping Place Development and Artefact Displays
Turnstone Archaeology provides consultation to assist in the development of Aboriginal Keeping Places, bush tucker gardens, and appropriate artefact storage options. These services also include designing special displays and presentations.
Licensed Drone Photography
Drone imagery provides a useful dimension to cultural heritage surveys and mapping. Turnstone Archaeology’s licensed drone operators meet industry standards (Civil Aviation Safety Authority).
Heritage Database Management
A cultural heritage database can provide Aboriginal People with a secure system for storing and recording site data, photographs, reports, and videos. Turnstone Archaeology maintains an extensive database of cultural heritage sites to which we provide appropriate levels of access.
Artefact and Scarred Tree Analysis
Turnstone Archaeology provides specialised artefact analysis that includes lithic studies, residue analysis, carbon dating, artefact reduction sequences, and scarred tree verification.
Training and Educational Programs
Turnstone Archaeology does not currently provide a certified training course; however, we do provide certificates recognising cultural heritage fieldwork that also includes specialised training programs in cultural heritage for Aboriginal ranger groups.
Access to Steele Archive
John Steele authored Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland in 1984. His seminal work summarises a vast body of information on Aboriginal sites, places, clan boundaries, and people through interviewing hundreds of Aboriginal People, landowners and other informants. Prior to John Steele’s death, Turnstone Archaeology received his notes as a donation which Turnstone makes available via appointment for research purposes.