Sean Ulm

Sean Ulm is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at James Cook University and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, an Honorary Research Fellow of the Queensland Museum and a Fellow of the Cairns Institute. Sean’s research focuses on persistent problems in the archaeology of northern Australia and the western Pacific where understanding the relationships between environmental change and cultural change using advanced studies of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sequences are central to constructions of the human past. His priority has been to develop new tools to investigate and articulate co-variability and co-development of human and natural systems. His work has been funded by the Australian Research Council, Australian Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Engineering, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Australian Learning and Teaching Council and French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. His publications include more than 100 articles on the archaeology of Australia and 5 books. Sean has conducted research in Australia, Europe, Honduras, Chile, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. He is a former President of the Australian Archaeological Association Inc., is Editor of Australian Archaeology and Queensland Archaeological Research, and sits on the editorial boards of The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology and Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.

Coastal Themes »

An Archaeology of the Southern Curtis Coast, Queensland

Authored by: Sean Ulm
Publication date: December 2006
Coastal archaeology in Australia differs in many respects from that of other areas, with the potential to examine relatively fine-scale variation. Nevertheless, there has been a general tendency in Australian archaeology to play down the variability and to subsume the evidence into broader homogenising models of Aboriginal cultural change. This case study clearly and self-consciously addresses the need to focus on local and regional patterns before moving on to more general levels of explanation. Coastal Themes builds a detailed chronology of Aboriginal occupation for the southern Curtis Coast in Queensland. Innovative analyses refine radiocarbon dates and explore discard behaviours and post-depositional processes affecting the integrity of coastal archaeological sites. The resulting insights highlight major changes in Aboriginal use of this region over the last 5,000 years and disjunctions between the course of occupation in this and adjacent regions.