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‘The Compleat Archaeologist’: Mike Smith, desert archaeology and museums
Dr Mike Smith AM is a pioneering desert archaeologist, an author and a Senior Research Fellow at the Research Centre at the National Museum of Australia. His research and teachings have been inspirational throughout Australia and the world. Mike’s career is virtually synonymous with the development of Australian desert archaeology as a field.
Distinguished archaeologists, historians, artists and museum staff reflected on and celebrated Mike Smith’s 30 years of work in desert archaeology and museums. During the day we heard riveting stories of adventure and participated in lively discussions on contemporary archaeology and its contribution to museums.
Andrew Sayers and Mark O'Connor
An introduction to the work of pioneering desert archaeologist Dr Mike Smith by Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia, followed by a reading by Mark O’Connor of his poem ‘Desert Archaeology’.
June Ross, John Mulvaney, Barry Cundy, Giles Hamm and Chris Turney
A tribute to pioneering desert archaeologist Dr Mike Smith. Speakers June Ross, John Mulvaney, Barry Cundy, Giles Hamm and Chris Turney reflect on their time teaching and working with Mike, and the developing field of desert archaeology in Australia.
Artist Jo Bertini talks about her portrait of her friend and colleague, desert archaeologist Dr Mike Smith. Jo also outlines Mike’s great passion for desserts, and presents a book of dessert recipes compiled by his friends.
Philip Jones, Peter Veth, Anne McConnell and Dick Kimber
Dr Mike Smith’s former colleagues investigate the layers of Mike’s career, discussing digs through which Mike developed his knowledge of the human past in Australia, and how museums have contributed to mainstream knowledge of desert archaeology.
Artist Mandy Martin reflects on her work with desert archaeologist Dr Mike Smith. Mandy and Mike worked together in multi-disciplinary teams studying the Puritjarra rock shelter in the Northern Territory and Paruku, or Lake Gregory, in north-eastern Australia.
Libby Robin, Jay Arthur, Allan Whiting, Diana James and Tom Griffiths
This session reflected on the speakers’ travels by camels and in four-wheel drives as well as work with Dr Mike Smith in deserts and museums as well as the partnerships Mike formed with artists and Indigenous communities.
Photographer Peter Eve reflects on an expedition into the remote southern Simpson Desert that he shared with archaeologist Dr Mike Smith. Peter praises Mike’s ability to bring the buried landscapes and humanities of deep time to life.
Peter Stanley, Calogero Santoro, Alan Williams, Ingreth McFarlane, John Wilkinson, Jim Bowler, Ann Robb, Isabel McBryde, Marg Friedel, Sue Castrique, Manik Dataar and Dr Mike Smith
Peter Stanley chairs an open mike session as a tribute to Mike Smith. Short contributions were made from Calogero Santoro, a colleague from Chile, other colleagues and students who have worked with Mike, with the day finishing with comments by Mike Smith.