Dr Shane Burke
CTS BSc PhD W.Aust
Senior Lecturer, Archaeology & History

Email: Shane.Burke@nd.edu.au
Phone: 9433 0176

Shane Burke specialises in the archaeology and history of the recent past, concentrating particularly on the material evidence of the early British settlement of Western Australia and how the British adapted to the new physical and cultural environment. He received his PhD from the University of Western Australia and has worked at the University of Notre Dame since 2007.
Teaching Areas
Shane Burke teaches core and specialised archaeology units.
  • AY102 Introduction to Archaeology
  • AY103 Reading the Past: Interpretation from Archaeology
  • AY301 Ships and Harbours – Maritime Archaeology
  • AY302 Archaeology of Indigenous Australia
  • AY303 The History and Archaeology of Western Australia
  • AY304 Archaeological Field Methods
Research Expertise and Supervision
Shane Burke has developed an archaeology program at the University of Notre Dame concentrating on early Western Australian British settlement. Since 2007, he and his team have been excavating and analysing Peel town, the best preserved early colonial site in Western Australia. The site was occupied in 1829/1830 by 500 colonists. He also supervises research by a core of post-graduate students examining the 1830 dated Meares family camp at Henderson and the Garden Island site of Sulphur town dated to 1829.

Shane Burke also has interests in the following topics:
  • Western Australian colonial period archaeology and history 1829 to 1890;
  • The archaeology of Western Australian settler adaptation to new environments, using sites at Peel town (Clarence), Meares' camp, Garden Island and the Swan Valley;
  • Lower south west Western Australia early timber milling technology and lifeways of those involved using sites from the 1880s Davies Timber Company, Augusta;
  • Technology in early Western Australia mining, using sites from the Northampton area dated to the 1850s;
  • Constructing palaeovegetation and palaeoenvironments by archaeological charcoal;
  • Patterns of human behavior in Australia's lower south west during the Pleistocene/Holocene (c.10,000 years BP) boundary;
  • Developing innovative undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in archaeology.


Research and engagement

Journal Articles and Proceedings
  • Burke, S., 2015 'On the Sporting Field: Tom Stannage and Australian Rules Football'. Studies in Western Australian History, 29 pp. 43-49
  • Burke, S., P. Di Marco and S. Meath 2010, 'The land 'flow[ing] … with milk and honey': Cultural landscape changes at Peel town, Western Australia', 1829–1830. Australasian Historical Archaeology, 28 pp. 5-12
  • Burke, S., and P. Di Marco 2009, 'Western Australia's Lost Town', Living Heritage, 1 (4) p. 17
  • Burke, S. 2009, The history, heritage and architecture of the Swan Valley. In Gothard, J. (ed) Historical Encyclopaedia of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, Nedlands
  • Gibbs, M., Rodney Harrison, Shane Burke, Kathryn Przywolnik and Annette Sellers 2008, Engagements in the field: teaching field archaeology in the context of a community-driven research project. In McIntyre-Tamwoy, S. (ed) Engaging the Community
  • Burke, S. 2007a, The Archaeology of ‘Clarence’, A Settlers’ Camp from the 1829-30 Peel Association at Henderson. The Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society 13 (1): pp. 145-163
  • Burke, S. 2007b, Fremantle's Hidden History'. Fremantle Studies: Journal of the Fremantle History Society 5 pp. 23-33
  • Burke, S. 2007c, 'Fences, furrows, ditches and settlement policy: rapid landscape change in the Swan River Colony'. History Australia 4 (1) pp. 3.1-3.15
  • Burke S. 2004, 'Innovation and adaptability: The European Archaeology of the Swan Valley'. The Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society 12 (4): pp. 359-372
  • Burke S. 2004, 'The feasibility of using charcoal from Devil's Lair, south-west Australia, to access human responses to vegetation changes at the Late Pleistocene and Holocene boundary'. Australian Archaeology 59 pp. 62-63
Conference Papers
  • 2012 ‘...please request that they stop taking my timber…’: Resource stress and the failure of Peel town 1829-1830'. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology at Fremantle
  • 2010 'A report on the on-going Peel town excavations, Henderson/Naval Base, Western Australia'. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology at Brisbane
  • 2006 ‘Sitting here waiting for something to happen’: preliminary archaeological results of the December 1829 to June 1830 camp at Peel town, Henderson Western Australia'. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology at Darwin
In the Media
  • 720 6WF 'Suburbs' segment, supplying the history of a Perth suburb. On-going.
  • 'Historic tree in the Swan Valley added to state heritage list'. Community News 19/10/2015
  • '200-year-old boundary tree heritage-listed'. Media Statements, Minister for Environment and Heritage 15/10/2015
  • 'Excavating at Peel town'. Channel Seven Perth nightly news 20/6/2015
  • 'Looking Back'. Channel Two Perth nightly news 26/5/2008
Professional Affiliations
Australian Archaeological Association
Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology
Historical Archaeology