Professor Martin Gibbs

Convenor-Professor - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Martin Gibbs

Phone: +61 2 6773 2656



PhD University of Western Australia

BSc (Hons) University of Western Australia

Research Interests

My main research interests are in the historical and maritime archaeologies of the Australia-Pacific region. My current projects include:

  1. Convicts - I currently have projects on the history and archaeology of the convict archaeology system in Tasmania (with the Port Arthur Historic Sites Authority) and Norfolk Island (with NI Museum and the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area), as well as past projects in NSW and Western Australia. My particular interests are in the structure of the convict system, especially non-institutional sites, and the notion of convicts as a colonizing and industrial force.

    The ARC funded project ‘Landscapes of Production and Punishment’ is a multi-disciplinary study by archaeologists, historians and site interpreters from UNE, UTas and the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. It is charting how labour management practices on the Tasman Peninsula evolved to impact and influence:

    • Changes in the ideologies of convict management, reform and punishment regimes
    • Technologies, processes and physical organisation of craft, industry and labour
    • The shape of an iconic Australian convict landscape
    • The life and work experiences of convicts, including their post-incarceration careers.
  2. Solomon Islands – I was Chief Investigator on the ARC funded project 'Beyond the New World: A 16th century Spanish colony and its impact on indigenous populations in the Solomon Islands'. I also have a new project on WWII sites and heritage in the Solomon Islands. All of these projects are in collaboration with the Solomon Islands National Museum.
  3. Maritime Archaeology - I have had a long-term interest in maritime industries and the operation of the maritime industrial frontier (with my PhD research looking at 19th Century shore whaling in Western Australia). For some years I have also been exploring anthropological approaches to the study of shipping mishaps, such as through application of psychological frameworks of disaster response during shipwreck incidents and within survivor camps, the social and economic dimensions of salvage and re-use of wreck objects. My colleague Dr Brad Duncan and I have a book in press through Springer/Plenum called 'Please God send me a wreck: The archaeology of a community's responses to shipwreck', which explores the history and archaeology of how the people of the Queenscliffe region in Victoria prepared for and responded to shipwrecks in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  4. Archaeological Remote Sensing - I regularly use terrestrial ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, resistance survey and underwater geophysical techniques in my work. In 2017 UNE purchased a suite of new geophysical gear including a ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, resistance meter and magnetic susceptibility meter and we are in the process of .
  5. Archaeology of Sydney - Dr Sarah Colley and I established the Archaeology of Sydney Research Group to try to work with academic and professional colleagues towards encouraging synthesis and improved public outputs from archaeological work.  This has included the creation of an on-line grey literature archive called NSW Archaeology Online that attempts to preserve and make accessible the last 40 years of reports, theses and images. Over 1000 reports are now scanned and available to the public at, with 9000 images available through the FAIMS repository - search for NSW Archaeology On-line Image collection). This project is partially funded by NSW Heritage Council.



Gibbs, M. and B. Duncan Please God send me a wreck: The archaeology of a community's responses to shipwreck. Plenum/Springer Press – In press

Gibbs, M. 2010 The Shore whalers of Western Australia: Historical Archaeology of a Maritime Frontier. University of Sydney Press.

Greer, S., Harrington, J., Gibbs, M., Fuary, M., Innes, J. & D. Roe  2001  Cultural Heritage Values in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park & World Heritage Area.  Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Edited Volume

Gibbs, M. (Ed)  2005 Approaching Artefacts in Australasian Historical Archaeology.  Australasian J. of Historical Archaeology. Volume 23.  (including editorial introduction).  Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology: Sydney.

Clarke, A., Colley, S., Gibbs, M. (Eds) 2012. Aboriginal prehistory, historical and contemporary archaeology in the Sydney Basin. Archaeology in Oceania, 47(1), 5759.

Digital Publications and Products

Colley, S., M. Gibbs & R. Brownlee 2011. NSW Archaeology Online Grey-Literature Archive. Sustainable digital archive and search and presentation tools of over 600 previously unpublished reports about New South Wales historical archaeology and heritage. University of Sydney Library eScholarship Repository.

Book Chapters & Refereed Papers

Tuffin, R., D. Roe, M. Gibbs 2020 The Archaeology of the Convict Probation System: The Labor Landscapes of Port Arthur and the Cascades Probation Station, 1839–55. International Journal of Historical Archaeology.

Tuffin, R., D. Roe, M. Gibbs, D. Clark and M. Clark 2020 Landscapes of production and punishment: LiDAR and the process of feature identification and analysis at a Tasmanian convict station. Australian Archaeology.

Tuffin, R. and M. Gibbs 2020 ‘uninformed and impractical’? The convict probation system and its impact upon the landscape of 1840s Van Diemen’s Land. History Australia, 17:1, 87-114.

Gibbs, M. 2019 Finding Convicts and Convict Sites: A job for professionals, community or both? History 142: 2-6. ISSN 1031-9476

Tuffin, R. and M. Gibbs 2019 Repopulating landscapes: using offence data to recreate landscapes of incarceration and labour at the Port Arthur penal station, 1830-1877. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 13.1-2: 155–181

Tuffin, R, & M. Gibbs. 2019 ‘Early Port Arthur: Convict colonisation and the formation of a penal station in Van Diemen’s Land 1830-35’, International Journal of Historical Archaeology 23:568-595.

Greig, K.,  A. Gosling, C. J. Collins, J. Boocock, K. McDonald, D. J. Addison, M. S. Allen , B. David, M.Gibbs, C. F. W. Higham, F. Liu, I. J. McNiven, S. O’Connor, C. H. Tsang, R. Walter & E. Matisoo-Smith.2018 Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes. Scientific Reports 8, Article number: 9130 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598 -018-27363-8

Gibbs, M. 2018 Criminal nation? An archaeological view of the Australian convict system. Teaching History 52(2): 20-24.

Gibbs, M. R. Tuffin, D. Roberts, H. Maxwell-Stewart, D. Roe 2018. Landscapes of production and punishment: convict labour management on the Tasman Peninsula 1830–1877. Antiquity 92(362). DOI 10.15184/aqy.2018.58

Gibbs, M. & J. Nash 2018. Diachronic fetishisation: Ruin porn and Pitcairn Island language, archaeology, and architecture. In S. Lyons (Ed) Ruin Porn: Essays on the Obsession with Decay. Palgrave/McMillan, pp. 137-153.

R. Tuffin, M. Gibbs, D.A. Roberts, H. Maxwell-Stewart et al., ‘Landscapes of Production and Punishment: Convict labour in the Australian context’, Journal of Social Archaeology, Vol. 1, Issue 18, 2018; pp. 50–76. <>

Gibbs, M. & D. Roe, 2017 Do you bring your gods with you or find them there waiting: Reconsidering the 1790 Polynesian colonisation of Pitcairn Island.  Journal of Australian Folklore 31:179-197.

Gibbs, M., B. Duncan and R. Varman, 2017 The free and unfree settlements of Norfolk Island: an overview of archaeological research.  Australian Archaeology 83(3):82-99.

Gibbs, M. 2016 The Failed Sixteenth Century Spanish Colonizing Expeditions to the Solomon Islands, Southwest Pacific: The Archaeologies of Settlement Process and Indigenous Agency,  In Monton, S. M. Cruz-Beccoral, R. Apen (Eds) Archaeologies of Early Spanish Colonialism.  Springer-Verlag, New York. Chapter 11. Pp253-280.

Gibbs, M. & B. Duncan, 2016 Cultural Site Formation Processes affecting Shipwrecks and Shipping Mishap Sites. In M. Keith (Ed.), Site Formation Processes of Submerged Shipwrecks. Florida University Press, pp179-210.

Korsgaard, A. & M. Gibbs 2016 Shipwrecks as Archaeological Signatures of a Maritime Industrial Frontier in the Solomon Islands, 1788–1942. International Journal of Historical Archaeology  20:105-126.

Blake, N., M. Gibbs & D. Roe 2015 Revised Radiocarbon Dates for Mwanihuki, Makira: a ca. 3000 BP aceramic site in the Southeast Solomon Islands.  Journal of Pacific Archaeology,  6 (2): 56-64.

Gibbs, M., Duncan, B. & L. Kiko 2015 Spanish Maritime Exploration in the Southwest Pacific – The search for Mendaña’s lost Almiranta, Santa Isabel, 1595. International J. Nautical Archaeology, 44(2): 439-38.

Dircks, C. , M. Gibbs, C. Hamilton & D. Roe 2015 Everyday artefacts: subsistence and quality of life at the Prisoner Barracks, Port Arthur, Tasmania. Archaeology in Oceania, 50 (3): 130-137.

Kelloway, S., S. Craven, M. Pecha, W.R. Dickinson, M. Gibbs, T. Ferguson, and M. D. Glascock 2014 Sourcing Olive Jars Using U-Pb Ages of Detrital Zircons: A Study of 16th Century Olive Jars Recovered from the Solomon Islands. Geoarchaeology 29 47–60

Duncan, B., M. Gibbs & T. Sonnemann 2013 Searching for the Yellow Fleet: An archaeological and remote sensing investigation of the prison hulk wrecks Deborah and Sacramento. Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology 37: 66–75.

Blake, N. & M. Gibbs 2013 Late Prehistoric Burial Structures and Evidence of Spanish Contact at Makira, Southeast Solomon Islands. Journal of Pacific Archaeology 4(2): 69-78.

Colley, S. & M. Gibbs 2013 Capturing archaeological performance on digital video: Implications for teaching and learning archaeology. Australian Archaeology 77:120-127.

Kelloway, S., S. Craven & M. Gibbs  2013 The sherds of conquistadors: a petrological study of ceramics from Graciosa Bay and Pamua, Solomon Islands. Archaeology in Oceania 48: 53–59.

Gibbs, M., Colley, S. 2012. Digital preservation, online access and historical archaeology 'grey literature' from New South Wales, Australia. Australian Archaeology, 75: 95-103.

Clarke, A., Colley, S., Gibbs, M. 2012. Introduction - Aboriginal prehistory, historical and contemporary archaeology in the Sydney Basin. Archaeology in Oceania, 47(1), 1-3.

Gibbs, M. 2012. The Convict System of New South Wales: A review of archaeological research since 2001. Archaeology in Oceania, 47(2), 7883.

Gibbs, M. 2012 Whale catches from 19th century shore stations in Western Australia. J. Cetacean Research Management. 12(1): 129–135, 2012

Gibbs, M. 2011 Beyond the New World – the failed Spanish colonies of the Solomon Islands. In Schablitsky, J. & Leone, M. (Eds) Historical Archaeology and the Importance of Material Things. Society for Historical Archaeology, Ann Arbor. Pp121-142.

Gibbs, M. 2011 An Aboriginal fish trap on the Swan Coastal Plain: the Barragup mungah. 'Fire and Hearth' Forty years on: Essays in Honour of Sylvia J. Hallam. C. Bird & E.Webb, (Eds). Records of the Western Australian Museum (Supplement 79) pp. 4-15.

Gibbs, M. 2010 Landscapes of Redemption: Tracing the Path of a Convict Miner in Western Australia. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 14:593–613.

Gibbs, M. & D. Gojak 2009 Remote Sensing in an urban Australian setting: An Example from Dr H.J. Foley Rest Park, Sydney. Australian Archaeology 68:45-51.

Gibbs M. 2009 'Shipwrecks as Graves' and 'Whaling in Queensland' in M. Stell & P. Spearritt (Eds) Queensland Historical Atlas: histories, cultures, Landscapes. University of Queensland Press.

Gibbs, M. and R. Harrison 2008 Dynamics of Dispersion Revisited? Archaeological Context and the Study of Aboriginal Knapped Glass Artefacts in Australia. Australian Archaeology 67:61-68.

Gibbs, M., R. Harrison, S. Burke, K. Przywolnik, and A. Sellars.  2008 Engagements in the Field: Teaching Field Archaeology in the context of a community driven research project.  In S. McIntyre (Ed) Working with communities: the archaeology of contemporary heritage. Archaeological Heritage 1.

Gibbs, M. 2007 Lynton: convicts, landscape and colonisation strategies in Midwest Western Australia.  Australasian Historical Archaeology 25:57-70.

Gibbs, M. 2006 Convict Places in Western Australia.  In A. Brake & J. Sherriff (Eds) Constructing a Colony: The convicts of Western Australia – Studies in Western Australian History No. 24, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, pp.71-97

Gibbs, M. 2006 Cultural site formation processes in Maritime Archaeology: Disaster response, salvage and Muckelroy 30 years on. International J. of Nautical Archaeology 35(1): 4-19.

Gibbs, M. 2006 Maritime Archaeology at the land-sea interface.  In M. Staniforth and M. Nash (Eds) Maritime Archaeology: Australian Approaches. Springer: New York. Pp 69-82.

Gibbs, M. 2005 The Archaeology of Subsistence on the Maritime frontier, Australasian Historical Archaeology 23:115-122

Gibbs, M., D. Roe, D.  Gojak 2005 Useless Graduates?: Why do we all think something has gone with Australian Archaeological training? Australian Archaeology 61:24-31.

Gibbs, M. 2005 Watery Graves: When Ships become Places.  In J. Lydon & T. Ireland (Eds.), Object Lessons.  Australian Scholarly Press, Melbourne, pp. 50-70.

Gibbs, M. 2004 Maritime Archaeology in Australia.  In T. Murray (Ed), Archaeology in Australia, Australian Scholarly Press, Melbourne.  Pp. 36-54.

Gibbs M.  & E. McPhee  2004  The Raine Island Entrance: Wreck Traps and the Search for a Safe Route through the Great Barrier Reef.  The Great Circle – J. of Aust. Maritime History 26(2):24-54.

Gibbs, M.  2003 The Archaeology of Crisis: Shipwreck Survivor Camps in Australasia.  Historical Archaeology:  J. of the American Society for Historical Archaeology, 37(1):128-145.

Gibbs, M. 2003  Nebinyan's Song – the Aboriginal whalers of South-Western Australia. Aboriginal History 27:11-20.

Gibbs, M. & P. Veth 2002 Ritual engines and territorial ascendancy.  In S. Ulm, et al.  (Eds), Borders, Barriers and Boundaries. Tempus 7:11-20.

Gibbs, M. 2002  Behavioural models of crisis response as a tool for archaeological interpretation – A case study of the 1629 wreck of the V.O.C. Ship Batavia on the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Pp.66-86 in J. Grattan and R. Torrence (Eds) Natural Disasters, Catastrophism and Cultural Change. One World Archaeology Series: Routledge: New York.

Crook, P., S Lawrence & M. Gibbs 2002  The role of Artefact Catalogues in Australasian Historical Archaeology.  Australasian Historical Archaeology 20:26-38.

Gibbs, M.  2002 The Enigma of William Jackman 'The Australian Captive' - Fictional character or shipwreck survivor?  The Great Circle – J. of Aust. Maritime History 24(2):3-21.

Gibbs, M. 2001 The Corpse in the Carley Float – An archaeological survey of the Christmas Island Cemetery and the possible site of an HMAS Sydney sailor.  The Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, 24:99-104

Gibbs, M.   2001 The Archaeology of the Convict System in Western Australia. Australasian Historical Archaeology 19:60-72.

Gibbs, M. 2000 Conflict and Commerce – American Whalers and the Western Australian Colonies 1836-1888.  The Great Circle – J. of Aust. Maritime History 22:3-23

Gibbs, M. 1998   Colonial Boats and Foreign Ships:  The Historical Archaeology of Shore-Based Whaling in Western Australia 1836-1879. Pp.36-47 in M. Staniforth & S. Lawrence (Eds), Proceedings of the First Aust. Southern Whaling Conference, 1997, Latrobe Uni:, Melbourne.

Gibbs, M. 1997a   Early Metals Processing in Western Australia:  The Warribanno Lead Smelter 1850-59. Australasian Historical Archaeology 15:55-65.

Gibbs, M. 1997b   Landscapes of Meaning - Joseph Lucas Horrocks and the Gwalla Estate, Northampton, Western Australia.  Historical Traces: Studies in Western Australian History, No. 17: 35-60, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands.

Dictionary and Encyclopedia Entries

Gibbs, M. 2009 'Shipwreck survivors and castaways' In J. Gregory and J. Gothard (Eds) Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia. UWA Press, Nedlands.

Gibbs M. 2009 'Shipwrecks as Graves' in M. Stell & P. Spearritt (Eds) Queensland Historical Atlas: histories, cultures, Landscapes. University of Queensland Press. (

Gibbs M. 2009 'From Whaling to Whale Watching' in M. Stell & P. Spearritt (Eds) Queensland Historical Atlas: histories, cultures, Landscapes. University of Queensland Press. (

Book Reviews

Gibbs, M. 2012 Review –Interpreting Ground Penetrating Radar for Archaeologists by Larry Conyers.  Archaeology in Oceania 48(3): 171-2.

Gibbs, M. 2010 Review of Annapolis: Archaeology of an American Town by Mark Leone, and Archaeology of Sugar Landscapes by Dan Hicks. Post-Medieval Archaeology 44(2):-4.

Gibbs, M. 2010 Review of In Care of the Southern Ocean, an Archaeological and Historical Survey of the Auckland Islands Edited by – Dingwall, P., Jones, K., and Egerton, R. J. Pacific Archaeology 2(1):106-7.

Gibbs, M. 2009 Review of Archaeology to Delight and Instruct: Active Learning in the Classroom. Edited by Heather Burke & Claire Smith. Australian Archaeology 69:78-79.

Gibbs, M. 2008 Review of Whalers and Free Men: Life on Tasmania's Colonial Whaling Stations by Susan Lawrence. Australian Archaeology 66:72.

Gibbs M. 2007 Review of Many Exchanges: Archaeology, History, Community and the Work of Isabel McBryde. Edited by I. McFarlane, M. Mountain & R. Paton. Australian Archaeology 64:57-58.


Society of Antiquaries (London)

Editorial Boards

Contemporary Archaeology (Equinox - UK)

Post Medieval Archaeology (Journal of the Soc. for Post Medieval Archaeology - UK).

Australasian Historical Archaeology (Journal of the Australasian Soc. for Historical Archaeology).

Australian Archaeology (Journal of the Australian Archaeological Assoc).

Editor - Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology (Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology).