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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: ACROSS: Origins of Seafaring to Sahul

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The ACROSS project, led by Dr R. Helen Farr, is an interdisciplinary project studying the earliest seafaring to Sahul in deep time. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 759677.

The chronology, and notion, of ‘arrival’ of people in Sahul is debated, with the accepted ontology of many Aboriginal peoples that they have been on country since the Creation, from ‘time immemorial’ (Uluru Statement from the Heart, 2017). Whilst the nature and timing of the peopling of Australia within western science, places this dispersal within the wider context of global ‘colonization’, potentially between 65,000-50,000 years ago. This represents some of the earliest evidence of modern human occupation outside Africa, yet, even at the greatest sea-level lowstand, the peopling of Sahul would have involved seafaring.

It is the maritime nature of this dispersal which makes it so important to questions of technological, cognitive and social human development. These issues have traditionally been the preserve of archaeologists but with a multidisciplinary approach that embraces a unique combination of marine geoarchaeology, oceanography and archaeogenetics, we have the opportunity to bring together and examine different data sources, in order to question the When, Where, Who and How of the earliest ocean crossings in world history.

Explore more HERE.

For an updated list of the full team please see project webpage.

Related research groups

Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins
Centre for Maritime Archaeology
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