Senior Research Fellow, Research Centre for Human Evolution, Griffith University

I am a biological anthropologist and archaeologist and have a strong interest in human evolution in Australia and South East Asia and zooarchaeology in Australia. Specifically these research interests fall within the fields of palaeoanthropology (the study of human evolution) and environmental archaeology.

I have undertaken excavations in Indonesia and Australia and have analysed the key fossils relevant to human origins in our region.

My other main field research program is on human impacts in ancient environments and I have an active excavation and field program in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area of Australia looking into how the megafauna became extinct.

I have also worked for state (QM) and national museums (NMA) in both a curatorial role and as a biological anthropologist/manager in the repatriation of human remains program.

I am very active in promoting the value of Australia's archaeological record for telling a deeper story of Australia's past. In 2001 I started National Archaeology Week which each year delivers events across the country promoting our rich archaeological heritage.

I believe archaeology can play an important role in reconciliation as it holds great potential to help to deconstruct stereotypes about different cultures. But archaeology can also disempower people, so it is a difficult field at times to navigate through.

I find it very encouraging to see that at long last Australia's 'ancient history' (the last 50,000 years) has now a place in the National History curriculum.

I also have an interest in the use of the past by different groups to support different agendas. I am particularly interested in the history of 'race', a social construct that really has no meaning in biology today, however, it still plays a key role in dividing society.

I have also been involved in the field of conflict archaeology, including research into the Aboriginal Wars of Colonial Australia and more recently the two world wars.

My current research into Aboriginal origins is funded by the Australian Research Council.

Experience

  • 2013–present
    Senior Research Fellow , Griffith University
  • 2013–2014
    Senior Curator , Queensland Museum
  • 2010–2013
    Head of Program , Queensland Museum
  • 2008–2010
    Curator of Archaeology, Queensland Museum
  • 2010–2010
    Lecturer (Archaeology) , Flinders University
  • 2004–2008
    Executive Officer , Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area
  • 2001–2004
    Manager repatriation/biologiocal anthropologist, National Museum of Australia
  • 1997–2001
    Project Archaeologist, Aboriginal Affairs Victoria

Education

  • 2010 
    Australian National University, PhD
  • 2002 
    Australian National University, Grad Dip Arts (Biological Anthropology)
  • 1994 
    University of Sydney, Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
  • 1993 
    University of New England, Grad Dip Education (History and Social Science)
  • 1992 
    Australian National University, Bachelor of Arts

Publications

  • 2014
    Origins of the First Australians., The Global Atlas of Archaeology, Springer.
  • 2013
    Interproximal grooving of lower second molars in WLH 4., Australian Archaeology
  • 2013
    The Willandra Fossil Trackway: Assessment of ground penetrating radar survey results and additional OSL dating at a unique Australian site , Australian Archaeology
  • 2013
    Perspectives on the Origins of Modern Australians, The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered. Wiley- Liss
  • 2013
    Joint Loads in Marsupial Ankles Reflect Habitual Bipedalism versus Quadrupedalism., PLOS ONE
  • 2012
    Sydney B.J. Skertchly and the Early History of Pleistocene Archaeology at the Queensland Museum., Bulletin of the History of Archaeology
  • 2012
    . Realising and extending the value of the Queensland Museum archaeological archive, Collection Management in Archaeological Collections
  • 2011
    Crocodile ecology and the taphonomy of early Australasian sites, Environmental Archaeology
  • 2010
    Footprints of the First Australians. , Australasian Science
  • 2009
    The Mark of Ancient Java is on none of them., Archaeology in Oceania
  • 2009
    . A new test of the sex of the Lake Mungo 3 skeleton. , Archaeology in Oceania
  • 2008
    Identification of Australian Aboriginal Mortuary Remains , Forensic Approaches to Death, Disaster and Abuse
  • 2006
    Human Origins and the Mungo Connection, Mungo over Millenia
  • 2006
    Caring for the Willandra, Mungo over Millenia
  • 2005
    The extinction of rigour: A comment on the Windschuttle and Gillin article The extinction of the Australian Pygmies. , Aboriginal History
  • 2004
    From the PPNA to the PPNB: new views from the southern Levant after excavations at Zahrat adh-Dhra‘ 2 in Jordan. , Paléorient
  • 2004
    Resolving complex provenance issues through isotopic analysis of human bones and the potential benefits to Aboriginal communities, The Artefact
  • 2003
    National Archaeology Week and public education. , Australian Archaeology
  • 2002
    Preliminary observations on the taphonomic processes at Ngandong and some implications for a late Homo erectus survivor model, Tempus
  • 2001
    Investigation, documentation and repatriation of Aboriginal skeletal remains: case studies from the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Community Boundary, British Archaeological Reports

Grants and Contracts

  • 2014
    First Australian Genomes
    Role:
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Research Council
  • 2013
    Megafauna extinctions in the Willandra
    Role:
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Simon Fraser-Griffith Uni collaborative grant
  • 2010
    The First Australians: a genetic approach
    Role:
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Research Council
  • 2006
    The World Heritage of Human Origins
    Role:
    Conference Organiser
    Funding Source:
    Wenner-Gren