Professor Paterson has a B.A. Hons from the University of Melbourne (1992) majoring in anthropology and archaeology and a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney (2000).
He has worked in Australia, West Asia, Europe, and the Pacific and moved to the University of Western Australia in 1999.
Key research projects include -
1) Culture contact: theoretical issues, archaeological instances in Australia and elsewhere.
2) Rock art: particularly associated with culture contact and historical activities, and as a means to discern non-documentary accounts of historical events.
This is part of a current national study of historical rock art in Australia funded by the ARC (DP0877463: Prof P.S. Taçon; Dr J. Ross; Dr A.G. Paterson; Dr S.K. May) titled 'Picturing change: 21st Century perspectives on recent Australian rock art, especially that from the European contact period'.
In 2010 fieldwork has recorded historical petroglyphs in Ngarlarma country, on Woodstock Abydos, and in the Kimberley.
3) The archaeology of North West Australia, with fieldwork in the Pilbara and the Kimberley into the archaeology of the last 500 years.
4) 'The Historical Archaeology of the Pilbara Project' began as an ARC funded project, and is now funded by industry and local communities.
5) Coastal and island archaeology in Western Australia, focussing on historical uses of offshore islands in WA in the 1800s.
6) The Dutch VOC sites in Australia: in collaboration with the Maritime Museum of West Australia, including excavating sites related to the Batavia shipwreck of 1628 in the Abrohlos Islands.
7) Contacts between hunter-foragers and pastoralists.
8) Field recording methods and analysis associated with surface archaeological sites and rock art.
In WA Professor Paterson collaborates with the National Trust, who support the training of archaeology undergraduate students at UWA field schools, and the WA Museum teaching maritime archaeology.