Professor Sean Ulm
James Cook University
Sean is a professional anthropological archaeologist. Sean’s partnership research with Indigenous communities focuses on persistent problems in the archaeology of 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 and approaches to investigate and articulate co-variability and co-development of human and natural systems. A major strand of this research has been in the field of archaeological science, where Sean leads integrated research programmes designed to improve methods used to establish chronologies and taphonomic sequences to increase confidence in data resolution underpinning models of past human behaviour. This ongoing work refines chronologies of human occupation in tropical coastal areas and allows calibration of archaeological datasets with terrestrial environmental records, creating the potential for much closer integration of these two key sources of information. Sean has applied these understandings to key archaeological issues, including establishing correlations between archaeological and climate records in northern Australia and evaluating the evidence for Polynesian voyaging to the Americas. His publications include more than 140 articles on the archaeology of Australia and 5 books. Sean has conducted research in Australia, Honduras, Chile, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.