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La Trobe archaeologist joins elite group

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. 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. Foreign associates are elected for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Only 20 Australians have been made associates, most from the University of Melbourne, ANU, and CSIRO. They include biologist and La Trobe University chancellor Adrienne Clarke; immunologists Gus Nossal and Peter Doherty; and former Australian Chief Scientist Jim Peacock. 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. During the 1990s he also played a prominent role in debate over the forced repatriation of Aboriginal remains. La Trobe conducts an annual public lecture series in his honour, which brings leading international archaeological scholars to Australia to enrich teaching and research.

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