Mike Smith is a pioneering desert archaeologist, author and Senior Research Fellow at the Museum’s Research Centre. In this series, distinguished archaeologists, historians, artists and museum staff reflected on and celebrated Mike Smith’s 30 years of groundbreaking work.
A tribute to Dr Mike Smith AM
An introduction to the work of pioneering desert archaeologist 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’.
Inventing Australia’s desert archaeology
A tribute to pioneering desert archaeologist Mike Smith. Speakers reflect on their time teaching and working with Mike, and the developing field of desert archaeology in Australia.
A portrait of Mike Smith
Artist Jo Bertini talks about her portrait of her friend and colleague, desert archaeologist Mike Smith. She also outlines Mike’s great passion for desserts, and presents a book of dessert recipes compiled by his friends.
A stratigraphy of an archaeologist
Mike Smith’s former colleagues investigate the layers of his career, discussing digs through which Mike developed his knowledge of Australia's past, and how museums have contributed to mainstream knowledge of desert archaeology.
Paintings by Mandy Martin
Artist Mandy Martin reflects on her work with desert archaeologist 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.
Museums, Mike and more
This session reflected on the speakers’ travels by camels and in four-wheel drives as well as work with Mike Smith in deserts and museums and the partnerships Mike formed with artists and Indigenous communities.
Photographs by Peter Eve
Photographer Peter Eve reflects on an expedition into the remote southern Simpson Desert that he shared with archaeologist Mike Smith. Peter praises Mike’s ability to bring the buried landscapes and humanities of deep time to life.
Open mike session
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.