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SYNAPSE Zoom Seminar: The earliest sea voyages to Australia, Shimona Kealy, 29 June

Australian National University, Outreach, SYNAPSE

Date: 9 June 2020

SYNAPSE Zoom Seminar: The earliest sea voyages to Australia: Maps, models, and anecdotes from the field

Speaker: Shimona Kealy, Australian National University

When: 29 June 2020, 2pm-3pm

Where: This is an online event and will be hosted via Zoom; Login details for the Zoom event will be included in your Eventbrite registration email

Registration via Eventbrite:


The archaeological evidence in Australia is currently the oldest, indirect evidence for seafaring by our species – anywhere in the world. The reason for this, the islands to the north-west (modern-day Indonesia and Timor-Leste) have never been connected to the mainland, necessitating multiple sea crossings from mainland South-East Asia in order to reach Australia.

In this talk, Dr Shimona Kealy discusses the archaeological record from the region as it currently stands, highlighting some of the gaps in our current understanding of early movements of people throughout the region. She will then share the results of her recent modelling efforts to determine the most likely route people may have initially travelled through this island archipelago.

The models utilised a variety of geological and geographical techniques to reconstruct the palaeo-seascape and how it might have been viewed by its earliest human explorers, modelling paths of least resistance (Least-Cost) throughout.

Dr Kealy will then discuss how the results of these models revealed key islands for further archaeological investigation and share some of the preliminary findings from her latest field adventures to these very localities.

This seminar is part of SYNAPSE: The CHL trans-disciplinary seminar series

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University