David Horton on the web: from archaeology to watermelons and social justice

I am pleased to say that I have just rediscovered a wonderful blog by David Horton, a self proclaimed ‘greeny’, social justice advocate and – in a former life or career(?) – rather eminent archaeologist. Recent topics he has written about include politics, health, environmental management, financial markets, welfare and twitter (and that was just his front page). I first discovered it  a year or more ago but only stopped by to read it recently.


His writing style is rather enjoyable:

Unfortunately he does not write about archaeology on his blog, though he does touch on history regularly. I remember reading quite a bit of Horton’s work as an archaeology undergraduate: ‘the burning question: Aborigines, fire and Australian ecosystems’; ‘Water and woodland: the peopling of Australia’ and of course his book ‘Recovering the tracks: the story of Australian archaeology’. I think this latter work is probably the most thorough and useful review of the development of archaeology in Australia written to date, largely because through the use of extensive quotes and extracts from original works, he highlights a sense of the philosophies of early workers and the significance of their contributions at the time. It was never a set reading for me as a student, I suspect now that it was not written in a format that would have been immediately accessible for undergraduates (or for that matter, for hurried lecturers seeking a few easy ‘dot points’ for their power point presentation!).

I guess the big question I have  is what happened to Horton’s career in archaeology? I am unable to find any academic references to his work after the mid 1990s. I suspect it was a choice on his behalf to try something new or do different things, such as gardening (which in my view is an admirable choice!), his blog certainly suggests he is a man of many talents. But I shall investigate and report back. Oh, his blog is called ‘Green views’ and can be found here. I recommend subscribing.

Horton, D.R. 1981. Water and Woodland: the peopling of Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Newsletter, 16, 21-27.
Horton, D.R. 1982. The burning question: Aborigines, fire and Australian ecosystems. Mankind, 13(3), 237-251.
Horton, D. 1991. Recovering the tracks: The story of Australian Archaeology. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

2 comments on “David Horton on the web: from archaeology to watermelons and social justice

  • Thanks Mick, quite a compliment, and pleased I am remembered. Glad you liked the blogI published “The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia” in 1994 and its spin offs including the map of “Aboriginal Australia” (1996) which is seen everywhere. In 2000 I published “The pure state of nature” a summary (in a sense) of much of my earlier work on extinctions etc. It is actually on the blog under its original title “The History Conquerors” as is all of my recent writing on fire. From time to time I will refer to Aboriginal material as part of another topic. I formally retired in 1998, and since then have been living on my farm and writing, with blogging being a major part over the last few years.And congratulations on your own excellent blog – good to see an Australian archaeology blog up and running vigorously.

  • mickmorrison says:

    Quick editorial note: a few of the quotes have disappeared in the transition from blogger to wordpress and I have no recollection of what they were!

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