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Current and Future Research

Evidence shows that modern humans were present in northern Australia as early as 50, 000 to 60,000 years ago, and by about 42,000 years ago in East Timor. But information about the initial presence of modern humans in Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands is yet to be uncovered…

Current research at Liang Bua has been extended to other islands in Eastern Indonesia, with the aim of shedding light on when modern humans spread throughout the region.

“We hope to obtain a picture of how ancient humans, both pre-modern humans and modern humans, were able to reach Australasia … and develop a historiography about the spread of modern humans, and even pre-modern humans, in the region of island Southeast Asia and also Australia” (Dr Thomas Sutikna, archaeologist)

Island-hopping Hobbits?

Evidence suggests that Homo floresiensis was able to cross the Wallace Line to reach Flores, even though Flores was never joined by a land bridge to the present-day islands of Sundaland. It is possible therefore, that they were able to cross to and colonise the surrounding islands in Indonesia.

“…we hope that the next step will be for us to explore the border areas on the Sunda Shelf … the Sahul Shelf and in the area of the Wallace Line. By that I mean that we will try to bridge the gap between Australia and the islands in eastern Indonesia” (Dr Thomas Sutikna, archaeologist)

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This video is from the free online course:

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

University of Wollongong

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Why Uncover the Past?
    Why Uncover the Past?

    Professor Bert Roberts explains how modern archaeological science helps us trace out the human story and piece together the human family tree.

  • Excavations at Liang Bua
    Excavations at Liang Bua

    The discovery of Homo floresiensis and ensuing excavations at Liang Bua