Our Team

Virtus Heritage

Our Team

“Head Office – Pottsville, Northern New South Wales


Mary-JeanDr Mary-Jean Sutton (Company Director and Principal Archaeologist) : Mary-Jean has over 15 years professional experience within Aboriginal and historical heritage management and archaeology. She is well published in academic journals and authored, co-authored and managed over a hundred archaeological consultancy reports and projects. Mary-Jean has a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Queensland and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Archaeology (Prehistoric and Historical) including a major in Aboriginal Studies from the University of Sydney. Mary-Jean maintains affiliations with several professional and academic institutions including the University of Queensland.  Mary-Jean is also a recognised professional historian with an accreditation from the Professional Historian’s Association (PHA). She has been awarded several research grants for research and collaborative community cultural heritage projects in Mapoon in Cape York Queensland, including an Australian Geographic Seed Grant, AIATSIS Research Grant, Ceridwen Indigenous Scholarship, Berndt Postgraduate Research Grant and funding form the Western Cape Community Co-Existence Agreement Trust.

Mary-Jean has managed many large Aboriginal and Historical Heritage Assessments as part of the Environmental Assessment process for Major State Significant Projects in the mining, infrastructure and residential development sectors and with government agencies. Mary-Jean has experience as a heritage adviser to corporations and has prepared expert advice and reviews of cultural heritage legislation and policy to academic, commercial and research organisations.  She is also experienced in the preparation of relevant permits and consents, test excavations, salvage investigations, due diligence and desktop reviews, management plans, inductions and training packages and consultation. Mary-Jean has extensive experience working with many Aboriginal communities on projects throughout Australia and regularly collaborates on Indigenous community based research projects, particularly in Northern New South Wales, Taree-Great Lakes and Cape York regions.

julian_finalJulian Travaglia (Senior Archaeologist) : Julian has worked as an archaeologist for over ten years and has been involved in a variety of projects that span both Aboriginal and historical archaeology. Julian holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Archaeology from The University of Queensland. Julian has produced Aboriginal archaeological assessment, and due diligence reports requiring project management, extensive research, report writing, Aboriginal community liaison, and personnel and fieldwork management. Julian also has experience in conducting and supervising Aboriginal and historical archaeological surveys, excavations (manual and mechanical) and monitoring programs.  Julian has undertaken the detailed recording and analysis of Aboriginal stone tools for significant infrastructure, mining and development projects and produced the corresponding salvage reports.  Julian has also undertaken historical heritage research, heritage searches, fieldwork survey, and reporting requirements for historical heritage assessments.

Julian has extensive experience as an Excavation Director for complex archaeological salvage and test excavations.  Julian has excellent relationships with many Aboriginal communities throughout New South Wales and Queensland and well regarded for his ethical and collaborative approach, working with community members on projects.  Julian has experience assisting and managing community based research projects, including educational activities for archaeology for school children, cultural heritage training for Councils and assisting in ground-penetrating radar survey and data collection for unmarked Aboriginal graves in western Cape York.

RachaelRachael Mackay (Executive Assistant) – Rachael has worked in executive administration positions within the Departments of Justice and Attorney-General, Education and Training and as executive manager of corporate services for the Public Service Commissioner in the Queensland Government.  Rachael’s experience encompasses a broad range of initiatives and programs spanning employment, rehabilitation and education and training outcomes for Indigenous Australians.  Rachael has completed various studies, including in business management and organisational behaviour.  Rachael is based in Northern NSW and provides administrative support to Virtus Heritage, including with finalisation of technical reports and proposals.

Brisbane, Queensland

EmmaDr Emma St Pierre (Senior Archaeologist)
: Dr Emma St Pierre has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeological Science from the University of Queensland. Emma has over a decade of experience as a professional archaeologist and research practitioner and has been involved in numerous prehistoric and historical archaeological investigations and cultural heritage projects in New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and overseas. Emma has extensive experience undertaking Aboriginal cultural heritage assessments including Aboriginal community consultation, archaeological survey, excavation and detailed site recording, and the production of cultural heritage management and conservation plans. Emma has managed large scale Aboriginal archaeological sub surface investigation and survey programs and through this time has developed excellent relationships with statutory agencies and local Aboriginal community groups. Emma is also well versed in Aboriginal and historical artefact identification, recording, and analysis. She also has a PhD in the radiometric dating of limestone cave sites and specialises in cave excavation and survey.

In addition to her experience in Australia, Emma has conducted archaeological consulting and research projects on important Pleistocene and Holocene sites in Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Emma’s doctoral research was based on the island of Flores in Indonesia, at the location where the high-profile scientific discovery of Homo Floresiensis, or ‘’the Hobbit’’, was made. Emma has extensive excavation direction experience working on coastal and inland sites in Australia, Indonesia and PNG, including working at depth and in sand deposits. Emma has recently completed a Research Fellowship with the School of Social Science’s Archaeology Department at the University of Queensland and maintains a continued research affiliation as an Honorary Fellow. She continues to be involved in international and Australian archaeological research projects and is well published in her field.

Chris Jennings (Senior Archaeologist): Chris Jennings is a qualified archaeologist with a Bachelor of Arts (Hon.s) a Masters of Arts in Anthropology (Archaeology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has over nine years of experience in archaeological research, cultural heritage management in Australia and overseas. Chris has worked as a cultural heritage practitioner in Australia for four years, primarily in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland. He has experience conducting Aboriginal heritage assessments including survey and excavation, detailed site recording and mapping, Aboriginal community consultation and the production of cultural heritage management plans. Chris has been involved in numerous historical heritage assessments in Australia and New Zealand and is experienced in the excavation of historical sites and historical artefact identification, recording and analysis. Chris specialises in the identification and analysis of stone tools and his Masters research focused on the analysis of Polynesian stone tools in New Zealand.

In addition to his work in Australia, Chris also has extensive experience conducting archaeological survey and excavation in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, predominantly in the excavation of prehistoric sites. Chris is particularly skilled in the production of high-quality digital images of archaeological maps, plans and figures for reports and publication and in the use of GIS. Chris has worked as a field demonstrator at a number of archaeological field schools and maintains ongoing research affiliations with the University of Otago, New Zealand.