Professor Harry Allen, Senior Research visitor to the Creativity Cluster
Wednesday 29 January, 2014
A profile of Professor Harry Allen, visitor to the ASC Creativity Cluster
During Michaelmas term, Keble and the ASC Creativity Cluster played host to Professor Harry Allen from the Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland, as a senior research visitor. Prof. Allen's research has covered a wide range of topics, including work on hertiage management, early researchers, aboriginal technology, and the questions of material culture and human interaction.
Prof. Allen's research in Oxford has been focused on the technology of Tasmanian spears and their role in society. This research is one component of a much wider project entitled Australian Aboriginal Projectile Technology. In his research, Prof. Allen considers not only the physical and technological aspects of spears, but also the difference between Tasamian spears (which utilise one spear type over a long period of time) and those used on the Australian mainland (which develop a number of different types), as well as understanding how the spears contribute to wider questions concerning the creation of, and interaction with, Tasmanian material culture. Prof. Allen's research also takes into account the 'Tasmanian effect', the idea that Tasmanian culture remained stable over a long period of time, in some instances apparently losing cultural aspects, and asks whether this is as unique a concept as thought. As part of his research, Prof. Allen has been making good use of the collection at the Pitt River's Museum and the British Museum, as well as visiting other museums and departments in the UK, such as the University of York (pictured).
Prof. Allen's focus on the relationship of the Tasmanian's with their material culture dovetails with the research undertaken by a number of ASC members. Both Prof. Chris Gosden and Dr. Lambros Malafouris are concerned with the creation of material culture, the interactions that surround it, and how our understandings of this are shaped.
Whilst visiting Oxford, Prof. Allen one lecture as part of the Institute of Archaeology’s Barbarian Seminar Series entitled “Against the Tasmanian Effect: The Archaeology and Ethnography of Tasmanian Foragers”.