Dr Andy Fairbairn gets down and dirty on a dig.
Dr Andy Fairbairn gets down and dirty on a dig.
30 January 2014

An inspirational lecture by a UQ history professor almost 20 years ago has led to a regular archaeology segment starting on 612 ABC Brisbane radio this week.

University of Queensland archaeologists are teaming up with the ABC’s Rhianna Patrick to bring the ancient world to life on radio.

The first of the segments was broadcast on the Afternoons program this week (29 January), with UQ archaeologist Dr Andy Fairbairn and PhD student April Youngberry, who spoke about her field work on the Gold Coast site of an 1800’s sugar plantation.

Program host Rhianna Patrick has a UQ Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Journalism and a keen interest in archaeology.

“I’ve always wanted to hear more ancient history and archaeological stories on air because I find these snapshots into history fascinating, as well as the people who are lucky enough to work on these digs,” she said.

“When I was 16, I got to see Professor Bob Milns give a talk on Alexander the Great and Philip II of Macedon.”

That 1993 lecture left an indelible mark.

“Professor Milns was so passionate about the subject, and I was hooked straight away,” Ms Patrick said.

“I knew from the moment he finished his presentation that I was going to study Ancient History at UQ and take all of the subjects that Professor Milns taught.

“I loved my time studying Ancient History at UQ and the passion my lecturers had for their areas of expertise.”

She is confident that passion will translate on air with and spread to ABC listeners, who’ll learn about the work of UQ’s archaeologists.

Dr Fairbairn said the regular slots would discuss digs involving UQ archaeologists around Australia and internationally.

“The idea is to focus on a project or projects and give the inside view on what the archaeologists are up to,” he said.

“UQ has a huge range of projects in Africa, Australia, Hawaii, Turkey, Portugal and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Dr Fairbairn said he was delighted to hear how Professor Milns had inspired Ms Patrick,

“I would love to think this ABC segment will also inspire many members of the community to focus on history and the work we are doing to uncover and record it,” he said.

The second and third segments are also available for download.

Media: UQ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Communications and Publications Officer Kristen Bastian, 07 3346 1633, k.bastian@uq.edu.au.