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photo - A Harper
Australian Desert Expeditions is a not-for-profit, Registered Environmental Organisation that partners with leading universities, state and national government land management authorities, national conservation organisations and private research institutions to conduct scientific and ecological survey expeditions into remote regions of the Central deserts.
There are two components to our research surveys - the ecological and scientific documentation and the desert trekking experience with our camel team. Walking alongside traditionally outfitted packcamels, delivering the smallest environmental footprint possible, is ideal for traversing the arid zone and learning about the desert flora & fauna.
Our surveys are a direct living link to the historical spirit and cultural heritage of scientific desert exploration of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Why do we conduct our surveys like this? Because walking the desert is timeless. Every single step reveals the story of this ancient landscape.
Beginning in June 2014, we commenced the first stage of The Central Australia Transect (CAT) in the Simpson Desert, a major and dedicated survey of the remote sections of the world's largest parallel sand-ridge desert and Australia's driest area.
The major trunk of CAT is Project 138 which is using the 138th meridian as the basis along which to examine the current status of desert flora and fauna.
You can join some of our 2017 research surveys as a volunteer and assist the ecologists with their important fieldwork, which may include collecting and documenting botanical specimens, assisting with marsupial trapping surveys or anthropological, archaeological & palaeontological documentation and recovery, all whilst travelling in the grand tradition of the early explorers and pioneering Afghan cameleers.
Expedition leader Andrew Harper made a wonderful discovery during the Central Simpson Expedition in August - a corkwood shield used by the Wangkangurru people of the Simpson Desert. Such shields were used for both fighting and ceremonial purposes and the white earth pigment in the shape of a large X is still clearly visible on the face of the shield.
"I've always been on the lookout for wooden artefacts but it is extremely rare to find any in the desert, especially the Simpson where a combination of bushfire and termites usually spell the end for such pieces. This shield has lay in the sand for nearly 120 years, perhaps covered by sand for many decades which has added to its longevity and relative preservation. It's an important and significant find for the Wangkangurru."
Pictured: Expedition leader & ADE Director Andrew Harper and ADE Director and Ecologist Dr Max Tischler with the shield.
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