Dr Rachel Popelka-Filcoff
“My research combines analytical methods in chemistry and physics and cultural heritage into multidisciplinary research aspects that help us understand and interpret our humanity.”
Dr Rachel Popelka-Filcoff studies the elemental and mineralogical properties of ochre, as used by Indigenous Australians, to understand and quantify cultural and material exchange across Australia. Ochre has been culturally important for Indigenous Australians, used in rock art and body decoration, since the earliest known occupation of Australia. Rachel’s unique research approach provides unprecedented insights into Indigenous Australian culture through the first comprehensive chemical, physical, and mineralogical characterisation of ochre from sites and objects across Australia.
Rachel was the winner of the 2012 South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year Award