Chronological modelling of radiocarbon data from the Torres Strait to understand occupation, settlement, and cultural change.

Ms Lauren Linnenlucke1,4, Professor Ian McNiven2,4, Associate Professor Fiona  Petchey3,4, Distinguished Professor Michael Bird1,4, Distinguished Professor Sean Ulm1,4

1James Cook University, Cairns, Australia, 2Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 3University of Waikato Radiocarbon Laboratory, Waikato, New Zealand, 4ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, , Australia

The Torres Strait presents a unique case study in Australian archaeology where people settled an archipelago between two mainlands, creating a thriving maritime seafaring culture. Using 221 AMS radiocarbon dates, we examine initial occupation and settlement patterns in the first example of Bayesian chronological modelling applied to the Torres Strait as a whole, as opposed to the individual assessment of sites. This holistic approach uses data from 49 archaeological sites to develop a more holistic understanding of when people moved to, and between, islands throughout the archipelago. Existing human migration theories focus on movement of people between c.2500 and 4000 years ago; however, with a culture dating back at least 9000 years, this new chronological modelling enables us an opportunity to rethink how chronology informs our current understanding of key cultural adaptions relating to societal change and the onset of ritual activities.


Lauren is a 3rd year PhD student from James Cook University and a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Her background is in geochronology and, island and coastal archaeology. Lauren has a Bachelors degree in History and Geology (Honours), with a Master’s degree in Teaching.

  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00



Nov 16 2021


11:45 am - 12:40 pm