Catlin Withnell (UCL) - 2022-23 Students

Functional Adaptation among early Stone Tool Assemblages in south-eastern Wallacea and north-western Australia

Archaeological and genetic evidence suggests Homo sapiens first spread through island southeast Asia (Wallacea) and reached north-western Australia by 65-50,000 years ago. They encountered novel habitats with very different resources from those available in Africa and Eurasia. This project examines technological adaptations to these new challenges through identifying the function of prehistoric stone tools from three archaeological sites using microscopic analysis of the tool surface. The research will test the hypothesis that novel subsistence and social functions for stone tools, not seen in other hominin species, were critical in allowing our species to adapt to the divergent environments of these regions.

Primary supervisor: Dr Ceri Shipton, UCL
Secondary supervisor: Dr Andrew Garrard, UCL

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