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Personal profile


A/Prof Shawn Ross joined Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations as Deputy Director of the Big History Institute in 2015 (on a joint appointment with the Department of Ancient History). His teaching includes Big History, archaeological methods, digital archaeology, and the history and archaeology of pre-Classical Greece in its wider Balkan and Mediterranean context.

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. 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 20 years of fieldwork experience in archaeology, including excavation, pedestrian survey, satellite remote sensing, ceramics processing, technical photography, 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 is now nearing publication. 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 Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems (FAIMS) project, which is building information technology infrastructure for archaeology and other fieldwork-based disciplines, particularly systems for digital data creation, data management and refinement, and online archiving and publication (with Dr Brian Ballsun-Stanton and Dr Adela Sobotkova). 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.

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


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