National Library of Australia

Reopening Update - August 2020: Enjoy a CovidSafe visit to the National Library. Read more...

<< Previous record  /  Next record >>
Record 13 of 15
You must be logged in to Tag Records
Port Essington : the historical archaeology of a north Australian nineteenth century military outpost / Jim Allen
Bib ID 4395822
Format BookBook
Allen, Jim
Description [Sydney] : Sydney University Press in association with the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology, c2008 
xvi, 141 p. : ill., maps, plans ; 30 cm. 
ISBN 9781920898878

Studies in Australasian historical archaeology ; v. 1.


Some 40 years on, ASHA's decision to launch its new monograph series by publishing this work has several purposes. At one level this monograph is of historical importance in establishing where the discipline began in this country. It explains both the theoretical and methodological problems Allen faced and how he sought to overcome them. At another level it provides the data from an important excavation that has not been previously published. On a third level it provides a particular sort of historical account of a small but important chapter of Australia's European beginnings that could not have been written without the dual sources of written documents and archaeology. Together they reflect a poignant episode in our past. In the decade following this work Port Essington became the subject of a four part ABC-TV drama, a musical composition by Peter Sculthorpe and paintings by Russell Drysdale. Port Essington will appeal as a reference book to both students and practitioners of historical archaeology and to people interested in Australian colonial history. After Port Essington, Jim Allen established an academic career in prehistoric archaeology in Australia and the Pacific. He is currently Emeritus Professor in the School of Historical and European Studies in La Trobe University. -- Publisher description.

In 1966 Jim Allen undertook the first professional excavation of a European site in Australia. The 1840s military settlement of Victoria was established at Port Essington, the northernmost part of the Northern Territory and was the end point of Ludwig Leichhardt's epic journey in 1844-45. This settlement was the longest lived of three failed attempts by the British to establish a settlement on the northern coast of Australia before 1850. Its history reflects many of the dominant themes of wider colonial history - isolation, tropical disease, poorly equipped and inexperienced colonists, inept government bureaucracies and relations with the Indigenous population. By looking at both the material evidence produced by archaeological excavation and the written sources, Allen sought to integrate both sorts of evidence to produce an eclectic history that was neither social nor political nor economic in its primary emphasis, but combined all three. When his research was presented as a doctoral dissertation at the Australian National University in 1969 its main theoretical thrust concerned the problems of this data integration and this remains a central issue in the discipline of historical archaeology in Australasia.


Bibliography: p. 135-141.

Subjects Archaeology.  |  Sites - Middens.  |  Technology - Stone.  |  Sites - Excavations.  |  Settlement and contacts - Colonisation - 1788-1850.  |  Archaeology.  |  Technology - Glass.  |  Northern Territory -- Antiquities.  |  Port Essington (N.T.) -- History.  |  Port Essington (West Arnhem Land NT SC53-13)
Other authors/contributors Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    NLq 990 STU
    Copy: NL pbk
    Main Reading Room
    Nq 990 STU
    Copy: N pbk
    Main Reading Room

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.