Researches from the University of Queensland's school of Social Science are using ground penetrating radar technology to attempt to locate significant ancient Indigenous sites between Crescent Head and Goolawah National Park.
The project is a joint collaboration with local Dunghutti Elders and is funded by the Crescent Head Residents and Ratepayers Association.
Lead researcher, Associate Professor Michael Westaway, said he is excited to be working with local Dunghutti Elders to progress with the research.
"I visited the area a couple of months ago and met with Uncle Reg Wooderson who told me stories of an ancient Bora Ring that was destroyed sometime after 1956," he said.
"We're using geophysical equipment to find the ancient site of the Bora Ground. These are non-invasive techniques that won't disrupt the area."
Mr Westaway also visited the Macleay River Historical Society with local Dunghutti Elders Bob Mumbler, Reg Wooderson and James Dungay recently to undertake an initial review of the rich archive of the museum.
"What was particularly exciting about the visit to the museum archive were records and precise locations made by the historical society of important ceremonial sites that had been viewed and remembered by Elder Reg Wooderson in 1951 in a visit to the site at Racecourse Headland with his Grandfather Albury Bull.
"The museum's archive corroborated Reg's story, and the society had dutifully mapped its location."
Chairperson of the Dunghutti Elders Bob Mumbler and ex Chairman of Kempsey Local Aboriginal Land Council Fred Kelly said the area is in need of a new cultural heritage survey.
"The record of our ancestors is slowly being eroded away by development and natural processes, and it is really time to take stock of what remains so that it can be conserved for not just future generations of Dunghutti, but also the broader community," they said.
Mr Westaway hopes the research undertaken today will allow for further funding and research opportunities for the project.
"We're out here today to see if we can find the sites and get preliminary data to show the potential for archaeological research in this area," he said.
"The hope will be to do a three or four year research project with Dunghutti Elders and to hopefully promote the area as a educational tourism destination with a rich and diverse history.
"I want to revive the research into Indigenous ancient sites and show how much potential is there. I'm excited about the idea of further research with local Dunghutti Elders.
"Unlocking the hidden stories has the potential to provide visitors to the area a rich historic and cultural experience, for those open to learning more about the Macleay's extraordinary past."