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Anthropogenic climate change is becoming a reality, and in Australia this means longer , more intense wildfire seasons over a wider area. The GunaiKurnai people saw much of their Country decimated during ‘Black Summer’ (2019/2020), prompting questions about both the management of Country and its heritage resources moving forward.
Anthropogenic climate change is becoming a reality, and in Australia this means longer wildfire seasons with more intense fires across a wider area. The GunaiKurnai people of southeastern Victoria saw a large proportion of their Country decimated by the Gippsland Fires of ‘Black Summer’ (2019/2020), prompting questions about both the management of Country and its heritage resources moving forward and what role traditional (‘cultural’) burning could play. This volume, written at the request of the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GKLaWAC), seeks to investigate these twin issues. Bringing together a multi-disciplinary team including archaeologists, environmental scientists, historians, art historians and Elders, we consider the histories of GunaiKurnai and European settler burning-based landscape management practices, the impacts of fire on specific classes of cultural materials, and the broader impact of changing wildfire patterns on cultural sites in the landscape. this is a truly collaborative venture between GKLaWAC and the academic collaborators that sees GunaiKurnai and academic expertise brought to bear in the service of common and pressing issues.
About the Author
Jessie Buettel (School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia) researches ecological and anthropogenic change in plant and animal communities to provide insights into complex ecosystems. Through ecological modelling and the analysis of spatio-temporal patterns, she provides insights of into issues of conversation, biodiversity and forestry management.
Bruno David (Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University, Australia) is an archaeologist and Chief Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. He undertakes partnership research on the (hi)story of cultural places with Indigenous communities. He has published 17 books and around 300 articles on various dimensions of landscape archaeology.
Elder Uncle Russell Mullett is the Registered Aboriginal Party Manager for the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GKLaWAC). He oversees all cultural research on GunaiKurnai lands and waters for GKLaWAC, including archaeological and palaeoecological research. He currently sits on the board of the Aboriginal Heritage Council, which provides advice to the Victorian State government on all cultural heritage matters.
Joanna Fresløv is has focussed on the landscape archaeology of the coast and high country for over thirty years. Since 2003 she has carried out a number of extensive post-wildfire investigations on the effects of fire on Aboriginal cultural heritage in the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park (Victoria), Tasmania (Upper Florentine Valley World Heritage Area), Alpine National Park (Victoria) and most recently the whole of Victoria following the 2019–2920 wildfires, for State and Federal government agencies.
Kat Szabó (Pre-Construct Archaeology, UK) is an archaeologist and shell specialist who has worked across the Asia-Pacific region for over twenty years. She has undertaken, and published widely upon, experimental and fundamental research around the use of shell as a raw material, as well as taphonomic processes acting upon shell. She is now based in the UK working primarily in commercial archaeology.
GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GKLaWAC) is the Registered Aboriginal Party that represents the GunaiKurnai people – the Traditional Owners of GunaiKurnai Country in southeastern Victoria, Australia. Led by the GKLaWAC Board, they advocate, manage and care for the GunaiKurnai people and Country. The research presented in this volume was commissioned by, and produced in partnership with GKLaWAC.