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Personal profile


Dr Chris Urwin is a Research Fellow at Monash Indigenous Studies Centre and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH). Chris works in partnership with Indigenous communities to investigate their remarkable landscapes in Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). He completed his PhD in 2019, for which he worked with two villages in Orokolo Bay (PNG) to establish radiocarbon chronologies for their ancestral sites, alongside a programme to document local oral traditions. This research has helped improve our understanding of the history of exchange and social change on PNG's south coast. 

Chris was previously a Senior Curator in the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria, where he sought to enhance community access and research into the archaeology collection. Chris enjoys communicating archaeology and anthropology for a popular audience: from 2017-2019 he was social media officer for the Australian Archaeological Association. Online magazine articles stemming from Chris' research can be found here: 

Research interests

Chris' research interests include: how Indigenous communities understand colonial-era collecting practices; how people build places through time and remember this process; and the application of Bayesian chronological models in archaeology. He has obtained research funding from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE), the Australian Archaeological Association and the Smithsonian Institution. 

External positions

Research Associate, Museums Victoria

18 Feb 2020 → …

Research area keywords

  • Memory studies
  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Radiocarbon dating

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

  • 4 Article
  • 2 Other contribution
  • 1 Short Review

How long have dogs been in Melanesia? New evidence from Caution Bay, south coast of Papua New Guinea

Manne, T., David, B., Petchey, F., Leavesley, M., Roberts, G., Szabó, K., Urwin, C., McNiven, I. J. & Richards, T., 2020, In : Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 30, 13 p., 102255.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Archaeology is unravelling new stories about Indigenous seagoing trade on Australia's doorstep

Urwin, C., Kuaso, A., David, B., Arifeae, H. A. & Skelly, R., 2019, Melbourne Vic Australia : The Conversation Media Group.

Research output: Other contributionOther

Book Review: Global Social Archaeologies: Making a difference in a world of strangers by Koji Mizoguchi and Claire Smith

Urwin, C., 2019, In : Heritage and Society. 11, 3, p. 276-278 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalShort ReviewOther

Cultural heritage key to regional development in PNG and Australia

Urwin, C., 2019, 3 p. Melbourne Vic Australia : The Lowy Institute.

Research output: Other contributionOther

Excavating and interpreting ancestral action: Stories from the subsurface of Orokolo Bay, Papua New Guinea

Urwin, C., 2019, In : Journal of Social Archaeology. 19, 3, p. 279–306 28 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow

Urwin, Chris (Recipient), 11 Mar 2020

Prize: Competitive Fellowships


  • 1 Contribution to conference

Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology

Chris Urwin (Organiser)

12 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

Press / Media

ABC Radio National Interview: Indigenous seagoing trade

Chris Urwin


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Profile/Interview