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7 May 2003

The archaeology of the Gallipoli battlefields, ancient Iraq, Arnhem Land and even Acton Peninsula in Canberra will be examined during National Archaeology Week at the National Museum of Australia.

Australia's first National Archaeology Week kicks off this Sunday, 11 May, with a forum on the uncertain future of Iraq's rich cultural heritage; and ends on 18 May with an Archaeology in the Lounge debate about who owns once-plundered artefacts.

'Many people enjoy learning about the past through archaeology, but very few know about the fascinating archaeology that can be found in their own backyard,' said National Archaeology Week convenor and Museum archaeologist Michael Westaway.

'Places like the National Museum help tell Australia's archaeological story, but next week, everyone can explore Australia's own unique archaeological record.'

The National Archaeology Week events scheduled for the National Museum include:

  • Bone Detective Forensic Anthropology Workshops: Michael Westaway helps analyse remains to find the famous kangaroo Skippy and his missing mate Sunny and test the authenticity of Ned Kelly's skull. 11 and 17 May.
  • The Cradle of Civilisation: Islamic expert Professor Ahmad Shboul and former UNESCO Cultural Heritage Director, Dr Lyndel Prott, head an expert panel discussing Mesopotamia's past and the future of Iraq's cultural heritage. 11 May.
  • The Archaeology and History of the Gallipoli Battlefields: Anthropologist Dr David Cameron explains his work surveying the Anzac ridges, analysing cartridge cases to help plot troop movements on the first day of battle. 12 May.
  • The Aboriginal Peopling of Australia: What We Do And Don't Know: Paleoanthropologist Professor Colin Groves returns from the Congo to explain Australia's role in the Out of Africa theory on the origin of humans. 18 May.
  • Archaeology in the Lounge: Who Owns Artefacts? Paul Willis from the ABC's Catalyst joins Roman and feminist archaeologist Pim Allison and indigenous expert Dave Johnson to thrash out who owns what treasures of the past. 18 May.
  • Junk or Treasure Day: Perry Quinton from Channel 7's House Calls to the Rescue advises visitors whether they have valuable collectibles at home. 18 May.

For a full program of events or more information, please contact Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email

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