Shawn Ross


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Shawn Ross FRSN, FSA, is a Professor of History and Archaeology and the Director, Strategic Initiatives, Digitally Enabled Research, at Macquarie University.  He initially joined the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations in 2015 (with a joint appointment with the Department of Ancient History), and is now a Professor in the Department of History and Archaeology. His research and teaching interests include digital archaeology, the history and archaeology of pre-Classical Greece, oral tradition as history (especially Homer and Hesiod), the archaeology of the Balkans (especially Thrace), Greece in its wider Mediterranean and Balkan context, and the application of information technology to research. 

Shawn completed a BA at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington (1993) and an MA (1996) and PhD (2001) at the University of Washington, Seattle. His PhD dissertation concerned the use of oral tradition to reconstruct Early Iron Age social and cultural history, an interest he maintains. Shawn then taught at William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey, for four years, before moving to the University of New South Wales in 2005. In 2006, he spent a semester at the American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, as a Fulbright Scholar. At UNSW, Shawn taught Global, Ancient, and Medieval History and developed both major strands of his current research program: the history and archaeology of ancient Thrace, and the application of information technology to archaeology. He also held a number of leadership positions, culminating with Deputy Head of School in the School of Humanities and Languages (2012-2014).

Trained as an historian, Shawn also has over 25 years of fieldwork experience in archaeology, including excavation, pedestrian survey, satellite remote sensing, ceramics processing, technical photography, photogrammetry, and data management. He has worked at prehistoric and ancient sites or regional projects in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. Since 2008, Shawn has co-supervised the Tundzha Regional Archaeology Project (TRAP), a multi-disciplinary, regional landscape archaeology project exploring two large study areas in central and south-east Bulgaria (with Dr Adela Sobotkova). That project was funded by the ARC from 2009 to 2011, and culminated in an edited volume published by Oxbow Books in 2018 (The Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project: Surface Survey, Palaeoecology, and Associated Studies in Central and Southeast Bulgaria, 2009-2015). Shawn's own research on the project involves the long-term evolution of Thracian society in its environmental context, especially in comparison to related, but distinct, developments in prehistoric and early historic Greece.

Since 2012, Shawn has also directed the Field Acquired Information Management Systems (FAIMS) project, which is building information technology infrastructure for archaeology and other fieldwork-based disciplines, particularly systems for collecting born digital data in diverse, offline settings. FAIMS is a leading community-driven and domain-wide project, including partner organisations from across Australia and overseas. Although primarily an infrastructure development project, FAIMS has led to the development of a new research direction, examining the impact of digital technologies on archaeological research and developing approaches to building robust digital infrastructure in 'small' disciplines like archaeology. In 2020, FAIMS won a significant Australian Research Data Commons Platforms Project investment to redevelop the platform using modern approaches. The production release of this new version is due in late 2022.

From 2017-2022, Shawn was Director, Digitally Enabled Research (formerly Data Science and eResearch), leading the development and implementation of research data management framework at Macquarie, supporting development and implementation of new approaches to and governance of research computing, and organising digital literacy and other technical training reaching hundreds of researchers. 

Since mid-2022, he has continued to work part time at Macquarie as Director, Strategic Initiatives, Digitally Enabled Research. In addition, Shawn has taken an external secondment with the Australian Research Data Commons to serve as Product Manager for the Research Activity Identifier (RAiD), developing a global persistent identifier service for research projects and related activities.

Education/Academic qualification

History, PhD, University of Washington (UW)

Sep 1996Aug 2001

Award Date: 10 Aug 2001

History, MA, University of Washington (UW)

Sep 1994Jun 1996

Award Date: 21 Jun 1996

History, BA, Whitman College

Aug 1989May 1993

Award Date: 21 May 1993

External positions

Product Manager, Reasearch Activity Identifier (RAiD), Australian Research Data Commons Ltd

1 Jul 2022 → …


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