Institute of Archaeology


Colonization and connectivity in tropical Wallacea and Sahul

This project explores Pleistocene colonisation and maritime interaction networks.

Tropical Wallacea

This project explores caves and rockshelters in eastern Indonesia, Timor-Leste, New Guinea, and northern Australia to determine patterns of Pleistocene colonisation and maritime interaction networks.   

Related outputs

  • Norman, K., Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Peters, I., Collins, P., Wood, R., Saktura, W.M., Roberts, R.G., Jacobs, Z. Human occupation of the Kimberley coast of northwest Australia 50,000 years ago.  Quaternary Science Reviews
  • Samper Carro, S., O’Connor, S., Kelay, S., Shipton, C., Mahirta.  (in press) Talking Dead. New burials from Tron Bon Lei (Alor Island, Indonesia) inform on the evolution of mortuary practices from the terminal Pleistocene to the Holocene in Southeast Asia.  PLOS One
  • Shipton, C., Cohen, T., Forbes, M., Boesl, F., Jacobs, Z., Dixon, R.D., Dixon, E., Kingston, S., Albert, C., O’Connor, S. (2021) Diverse stone artefacts around Lake Woods, central Northern Territory, Australia.  Australian Archaeology 87: 156-178
  • Shipton, C., Kealy, S., Mahirta, Irfan, A., Patridina, E.P.B.G.G., O’Connor, S. (2021) Pleistocene Lithic Technology from Alor Island articulates with the records of Flores and Timor across southern Wallacea.  Paleoanthropology 2021: 1-20
  • Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Kealy, S. (2021) The biogeographic threshold of Wallacea in human evolution.  Quaternary International 574: 1-12
  • O’Connor, S., Nuno, O., Standish, C., Garcia-Diez, M., Kealy, S., Shipton, C. (2021) Faces in the stone: Further finds of anthropomorphic engravings suggest a discrete artistic tradition flourished in Timor-Leste in the terminal Pleistocene. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 31: 129-142
  • Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Reepmeyer, C., Kealy, S., Jankowski, N. (2020) Shell adzes, exotic obsidian, and inter-island voyaging in the early and middle Holocene of Wallacea.  Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 15: 525-546
  • Kealy, S., Mahirta, Hawkins, S., Louys, J., Sari, D.M., Shipton, C., Kaharudin, H.A.F., Beaumont, P., Boulanger, C., Irfan, A., Algifary, M.A., Bayu, E.P., Jankowski, N., O’Connor, S., Langley, M. (2020) Forty-thousand years of maritime subsistence near a changing shoreline on Alor Island (Indonesia).  Quaternary Science Reviews 249: 106599
  • Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Kealy, S., Mahirta, Syarqiyah, I.N., Alamsyah, N., Ririmasse, M. (2020) Ground axe technology in Wallacea: the first excavations on Obi Island.  PLOS One 15: e0236719
  • Litster, M., Barham, A., O’Connor. S., Meyer, J., Maloney, T.R., Shipton, C., Fallon, S., Willan, R.C. (2020) Late Holocene coastal land use, site formation and site survival: insights from five middens at Cape Leveque and Lombadina, Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley, Australia.  Australian Archaeology 86: 118-136
  • Roberts, P., Louys, J., Zech, J., Shipton, C., Kealy, S., Samper Carro, S., Hawkins, S., Boulanger, C., Aplin, K., Mahirta, Boivin, N., O’Connor, S. (2020) Direct evidence for coastal colonization of Late Pleistocene Wallacea by early humans.  Nature Communications 11: 2068
  • Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Jankowski, N., O’Connor-Veth, J., Maloney, T., Kealy, S., Boulanger, C. (2019) Conditions for continuity in human behaviour: A new sequence spanning 44,000 years from Asitau Kuru (Jerimalai), Timor-Leste, Wallacea.  Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11: 5717-5741


  • Australian Research Council (Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage)