When you picture an archaeologist, you're most likely to imagine them looking down - digging into history, unearthing and sifting through evidence of previous life on Earth.
It's less likely that you'll picture them looking up - way beyond Earth and deep into space - but that's just what internationally recognised space archaeologist Alice Gorman does on a daily basis.
Dr Gorman, a Flinders University lecturer who has made a unique study of the cultural heritage value of the space junk which litters our solar system as a result of decades of space exploration, will be the special guest at a day of free public lectures being held at The University of Western Australia to mark next week's National Archaeology Week.
Dr Gorman will join a series of UWA archaeology experts next Friday 24 May to share research covering everything from the first people to arrive in Australia and the arrival of Europeans in the New World, to African and Indian rock art, Palaeolithic art in Central Europe, and the significance of the thousands of artefacts now floating around space.
UWA experts will include:
Associate Professor Martin Porr, who will investigate the relations between humans and animals during the Early Upper Palaeolithic of Central Europe, as expressed in figurative art objects.
Winthrop Professor Benjamin Smith, who will explore the meaning of 80,000 years of rock art history in Africa and showcase exciting new archaeological discoveries.
Assistant Professor Thomas Whitley, who will explore the archaeology of first European contact with the New World via two archaeological mysteries which, when unravelled, provide unique insight into living conditions of the time.
Assistant Professor Jamie Hampson, who will discuss ongoing research on ancient rock paintings and ritual in South-central India.
Professor Jane Balme, who will discuss the first people to arrive in Australia, their remarkable journey and the inventive ways in which they adapted to their new environments.
Archaeologists Dr Vicky Winton and Viviene Brown will also launch the Midwest Heritage Network, which aims to bring together traditional owners, community groups, archaeologists, government and industry to publicise, research and protect the rich and unique heritage of Western Australia's Midwest region. From 3pm-4pm, members of the network will present a series of short talks on subjects including Aboriginal resource management, the antiquity of occupation in the Midwest, the Murchison Goldfields and trace elemental fingerprinting of Wilgie Mia and Little Wilgie.
Associate Professor Martin Porr said researchers currently working in archaeology and rock-art research at UWA were engaged in activities all over the world.
"This series of talks will present exciting first-hand accounts of current research from five continents by researchers from UWA, before Alice Gorman shows us how archaeology is relevant even beyond the surface of the earth," he said.
The informal day of lectures will be held at the Austin Lecture Theatre in the Arts Building, from 10am - 5pm.