Projects

CAS Current Research Projects

Our members include established senior scientists and emerging young researchers leading projects that have attracted more than $5 million of competitive grant funding over the last 3 years. Our research includes a variety of projects in Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia, often in partnership with other leading interdisciplinary organisations.

Key Research Projects

 

Project Out of AfricaOut of Africa and into Australia: robust chronologies for turning points in modern human evolution and dispersal

This 5-year Discovery Project (2006–2010) to Bert Roberts and Zenobia Jacobs has been funded by the Australian Research Council to establish the timing of major turning points in modern human evolution and dispersal from Africa to Australia. Read more about the Out of Africa and into Australia project


Project A Tale of 2 speciesA tale of two species: constructing chronologies for patterns of change in the behaviour of Neanderthals and early modern humans

This 5-year ARC Discovery Project (2010-2014) to Zenobia Jacobs has been funded by the Australian Research Council. Read more about the Tale of Two Species project


Project First AustraliansThe first Australians: new chronologies for the peopling of the continent

This project has been funded by L'Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship to Zenobia Jacobs. Read more about the First Australians project


Project Origins of modern humansPalaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental context of the origins of modern humans in South Africa: constructing a detailed record from 400,000 to 30,000 years ago

This  project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the USA, HOMINID grant, 2006-2011. Read more about the Palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental context of the origins of modern humans in South Africa project 


Project Monsoons and migrationsMonsoons and migrations: Quaternary climates, landscapes and human prehistory of the Arabian peninsula and the Indian subcontinent

This 5-year Discovery Project (2008–2012) to Bert Roberts and Allan Chivas is funded by the Australian Research Council to investigate the climate, landscape and archaeological history of Arabia and India between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago: the period when Homo sapiens first ventured out of Africa. Read more about the Monsoons and Migrations project


Project Change and continuityChange and continuity: chronology, archaeology and art in the North Kimberley, northwest Australia

This 3-year ARC Linkage Project (2010-2012) to Mike Morwood involves archaeological and dating surveys in the Kimberley region of WA, which lies at the interface between Asia and Australia. Read more about the Change and Continuity project


Project Faunal dispersalUnlocking archives of faunal dispersal in rock deposits: the key to reconstructing palaeoenvironmental change and human dispersal in Southeast Asia

Chief Investigators for this 3-year ARC Discovery Project (2010-2012) are Kira Westaway, Mike Morwood and Gert van den Bergh. We aim to provide critical new insights into the timing of faunal dispersals and widespread environmental change in southern China and Southeast Asia over the last 500,000 years. Read more about the Unlocking Archives of Faunal Dispersal in Rock Deposits project


Project First Asian HominidsIn search of the first Asian hominins: excavations in the Soa Basin of Flores, Indonesia 

This 5-year ARC Discovery Project (2010–2014) to Mike Morwood and Adam Brumm, and involving Gert van den Bergh, aims to establish fossil and behavioural evidence of early hominins in the Soa Basin on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores. Read more about the In Search of the First Asian Honinins project


Kat 15Shell as a raw material

This ARC QEII Fellowship project to Kat Szabó  aims to develop a framework for the identification and discussion of shell-working and unmodified shell use in Palaeolithic Southeast Asia. The fracture mechanics, taphonomic tendencies, and microscopic manifestations of  major tropical Indo-Pacific shell taxa  are being investigated.  Read more about the Shell as a Raw Material project


Stegodon molarSize matters: Elephantoid dispersal, evolution, paleoecology and extinction in Asia

This 4-year ARC Future Fellowship project to Gert van den Bergh  aims to use the rich fossil record of continental and insular elephant lineages from Asia to reconstruct their dispersal, paleoecology and evolutionary responses to natural environmental change and inter-specific competition during the past ~5 million years. Interactions between early humans and elephants will also be explored. Read more about the Size Matters project


Geoarchaeology, paleoenvironments and luminescence geochronology in the eastern Alpine realm and South Africa during the last glacial cycle (115-11 ka) 

This Marie Curie Fellowship project (2008-2011) to Michael Meyer concerns the last glacial cycle which included some of the coldest and most unstable moments of the last 2 million years of Earth history. Climate-driven environmental changes impacted on the landscape and also influenced human evolution, dispersal and culture. Human/environment relations thus merit detailed research. Read more about the Geoarchaeology, paleoenvironments and luminescence geochronology in the eastern Alpine realm and South Africa during the last glacial cycle (115-11 ka) project


A reassessment of early human stone technology from a Southeast Asian perspective

This 3-year Discovery Project (2009–2012) to Adam Brumm has been funded by the Australian Research Council to examine hominin stone-flaking methods and behavioural competence on both sides of the Movius Line - the boundary separating Acheulean industries of Africa and western Eurasia from the simpler core-and-flake technologies of eastern Asia. Read more about the A Reassessment of Early Human Stone Technology from a Southeast Asian Perspective project


Modern human origins and early behavioural complexity in Australia and Southeast Asia

This 5-year (2011-2015) ARC Discovery Project  was awarded to Chris Clarkson and Lynley Wallis (University of Queensland), Ben Marwick (University of Washington), Mike Smith (National Museum of Australia) and Richard Fullagar (University of Wollongong). The project targets a fundamental issue in world prehistory: how, when and why did humans first cross from Southeast Asia into Australia?  Read more about the Modern Human Origins and Early Behavioural Complexity in Australia and Southeast Asia project


Dizzy 1Human colonisation and Megafauna extinction: global comparison of chronologies for islands and continents

This project, with AINSE funding to Richard Gillespie, is looking at radiocarbon and stable isotopes in bone collagen to clarify and improve chronologies for human colonisation and megafauna extinction, particularly in Tasmania and mainland Australia. Read more about the Human Colonisation and Megafauna Extinction project


Dizzy 4Cellulose and charcoal: oxidation chemistry and combustion

This project, with AINSE funding to Richard Gillespie and Janelle Stevenson, aims to develop simple and efficient chemistry protocols for the decontamination of wood, charcoal and lake sediments for radiocarbon analysis. Read more about the Cellulose and Charcoal project


A reliable absolute chronology for the Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley, Western Australia

This 3-year Discovery Project (2011–2013) to Maxime Aubert has been funded by the Australian Research Council to produce the first large scale and robust chronology for the Aboriginal rock art sequence in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.Read more about the A Reliable Absolute Chronology for the Aboriginal Rock Art in the Kimberley, Western Australia project


Human responses to long-term landscape and climate change in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area 

CM-W project 1This 3-year Discovery Project (2010-2012) to Nikki Stern (La Trobe University), Katherine Fitzsimmons (Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology) and Colin Murray-Wallace is providing insights into the ways in which Indigenous groups accommodated the dramatic changes in landscape and climate change that took hold within a few thousand years of their arrival to the continent. Read more about the Human Responses to Long-term Landscape and Climate Change in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area project