AAA Conference, Wollongong

By Antoinette Hennessy


The Australian Archaeological Association (AAA) held their annual conference in Wollongong, NSW, in December 2012. The number of Flinders students and ArchSoc members added to the many hundreds of delegates from around the country – even around the world – who attended and contributed to the discussions of the underlying theme of the year: “Science and Archaeology”.

For those with a particular keenness for scientific method and approach to archaeology, AAA2012 was THE conference. Talks from dating to isotopic analysis rocked the figurative socks off the scientifically inclined, but unfortunately the tight schedule of the conference often hindered the opportunity for question and discussion time in a formal space. Fortunately, the numerous social events compensated for that. And for those who were content with sitting and listening, they would have been amused by the academic debate that often sprouted from the audience and open up a new door to discussion and theory.

The Novotel Hotel’s lobby, deck and rooms swarmed with students, academics and scholars of different professions, most of whom (of course) were archaeologists. The week was just as packed with seminars, workshops and events following each day, providing the perfect balance of business and pleasure. For the students in particular, finishing or yet to finish their degrees, these seminars and workshops gave vital information and opportunity to further themselves in their careers. The CV workshop and “Meet the Graduates” night were arguably the best for this.

Everyday had a different highlight, one being the poster competition. Open to all, the regular poster competition offered entrants to share their own research in a casual environment with their fellow delegates. ArchSoc, in fact, represented by Jordan Ralph, Nessa Beasley, Rhiannon Agutter and myself, provided a detailed discussion on the benefits of student groups using ArchSoc as a case study. Another highlight was the formal dinner marking the end of the conference. The week was wrapped up neatly in a night of food, drink, laughs, and Gangnam Style.

Thanks goes to Dr Richard Fullagar for organising this great event, and to the Centre of Archaeological Science (CAS) of Wollongong University for hosting the hundreds of delegates who will no doubt continue their attendance to future conferences.