Åsa Ferrier

Åsa Ferrier is an Australian archaeologist with a special interest in Aboriginal–European contact history and Aboriginal archaeology of north Queensland’s tropical rainforest and savannah regions. Her research typically integrates a diverse range of data sources: archaeological evidence recovered from Aboriginal occupation sites, historical documents, survey and vegetation maps of early ethnographers, settlers and explorers, complemented with Indigenous bio-cultural knowledge. Åsa is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University, Melbourne, and currently a collaborator on several research projects in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Journeys into the Rainforest »

Archaeology of Culture Change and Continuity on the Evelyn Tableland, North Queensland

Authored by: Åsa Ferrier
Publication date: November 2015
This monograph presents the results of archaeological research that takes a longitudinal approach to interpreting and understanding Aboriginal–European contact. It focuses on a small but unique area of tropical rainforest in far north Queensland’s Wet Tropics Bioregion, located within the traditional lands of the JirrbalAboriginal people on the Evelyn Tableland. The research integrates a diverse range of data sources: archaeological evidence recovered from Aboriginal open sites occupied in the pre- to post-contact periods, historical documents of early ethnographers, settlers and explorers in the region, supplemented with Aboriginal oral history testimony. Analyses of the archaeological evidence excavated from three open sites facilitated the identification of the trajectories of culture change and continuity that this investigation focused on: Aboriginal rainforest material culture and technology, plant subsistence strategies, and rainforest settlement patterns. Analyses of the data sets demonstrate that initial use of the rainforest environment on the Evelyn Tableland occurred during the early Holocene period, with successful adaptation and a change towards more permanent Aboriginal use of the rainforest becoming established in the late Holocene period. European arrival and settlement on traditional Aboriginal land resulted in a period of historical upheaval for the Aboriginal rainforest people. Following an initial period of violent interactions and strong Aboriginal resistance from the rainforest, Jirrbal Aboriginal people continued to adapt and transform their traditional culture to accommodate for the many changes forced upon them throughout the post‑contact period.