Archaeologist wins rare honour from US Academy of Sciences

Posted on May 10, 2012


Professor Allen, right, with fellow archaeologist,
now Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Professor Tim Murray.

La Trobe University Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Jim Allen, has joined an elite group of Australian scholars elected Foreign Associates of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Professor Allen – a specialist in the archaeology of the South Pacific – was Foundation Professor of the Department of Archaeology from 1985 to 1993, after which he continued as an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow and Research Associate at La Trobe.

Congratulating Professor Allen, Vice-Chancellor John Dewar said the appointment was an extremely rare honour.

‘La Trobe archaeology today is home to some of Australia’s leading scholars, thanks to Jim Allan’s contribution which helped build an enthusiastic department with a strong reputation for its work in many parts of the world, from deep prehistory to modern times,’ Professor Dewar said.

Foreign Associates of the US National Academy of Sciences are elected for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Exclusive group of twenty

Only twenty Australians have been made Foreign Associates of the Academy, most from the University of Melbourne, ANU and CSIRO.

They include biologist and La Trobe University Chancellor Adrienne E Clarke AC, immunologist Sir Gustav Nossal, Nobel-Prize winner Professor Peter Doherty  and former Australian Chief Scientist, Dr Jim Peacock.

During his long archaeological career Professor Allen was most famously associated with two major research projects: the Lapita Homeland Project in Melanesia, which studied the expansion of Polynesian settlement, and the Southern Forests Archaeological Project in Tasmania.

In the 1990s he also played a prominent role in debate over the forced repatriation of Aboriginal remains.

La Trobe University conducts an annual public lecture series in his honour – The Allen Lecture – which brings archaeological scholars of significant international reputation to Australia to enrich teaching and research. □