Pathways through tropical Sahul: the archaeology of the Great Papuan Plateau (ARC Discovery Project administered by the University of Southern Queensland) (2019–2022)
When and how did the first modern humans arrive on the Greater Australian continent (Sahul)? Recent
discoveries suggest that humans arrived in northern Australia by 65,000 years ago and were in southeast Asia by
at least 80,000 years ago. Dating the timing and movement of the human colonisation of the Great Papuan
Plateau, a large karst system situated between Australia and Southeast Asia, has potential to reveal evidence of
the earliest eastward movement of peoples into Sahul (now Australia and New Guinea). Archaeological
excavations of limestone caves with rock art and deep cultural floor deposit recorded across the plateau will
provide answers to fundamental questions about the early occupation of Sahul by early modern humans.