About the Secret Visitors Project
The Secret Visitors Project blog has been set up to support my PhD research at the University of Sydney into the role of pseudoarchaeology in Australian archaaeology.
Archaeologists believe that Australia was settled at least 50,000 years ago by the ancestors of the Aboriginal people. Apart from the appearance of the dingo within the past 5,000 years or so there is no evidence that they necessarily had any contact with the remainder of the world, apart from their nearest neighbours. More than a century of historical and archaeological investigation has developed this view and is supported by all of our human physiological, historical, genetic, linguistic, biological and geographical evidence. Despite this, many people still believe that the Spanish, Portuguese, Egyptians, Chinese, Vikings and others mapped, explored or even settled in Australia. Why?
In this blog I look at the evidence that has been put forward in support of secret visitor claims by advocates over the past two centuries. Much of it has never had a serious critical examination and, frankly, a lot of it doesn’t convince or survive well from a steady gaze. We will also meet the people who have put these theories to the public.
My PhD study will develop the first detailed analysis of the more than two centuries of speculation around secret visitors. While it will focus on key individuals such as George Collingridge, Cardinal Moran, Lawrence Hargrave, Arthur Vogan, Michael Terry, Rex Gilroy and Kenneth McIntyre, it will also look at the evidence they have cited, including historical maps, finds of anomalous artefacts and sites around Australia and the theories of cultural contact. I will also be recording oral histories to capture unpublished information and the most recent phase of the secret visitor story.
I hope that others find it useful as a way of reconsidering their own beliefs, and more rigorously looking at the evidence.
I am an archaeologist by training and heritage specialist by career. Currently I work at the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority as head of their Heritage team within the RTA’s Environment Branch.
I am also a part-time doctoral candidate in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney, which is the reason for this blog.
My background is primarily in historical archaeology, and I have worked extensively as a public agency and consultant archaeologist in southeastern Australia. My most recent excavation was at the site of Old Marulan, to the southwest of Sydney.
You can contact me by email on denisg [at] tpg [dot] com [dot] au [just replace the ‘at’ and ‘dot’ with the appropriate symbols].
I hope you enjoy the blog, that it stimulates you to think about Australia’s past, the nature of evidence and proof, and look forward to hearing from you.