How feasible were early human migrations across Asia?

This project aims to characterise the nature of early human dispersals across Asia en route to Australasia by going beyond the timing and identification of human evidence to explore early migrations within their environmental context.

The earliest human journeys across the globe are one of our greatest achievements, yet the archaeological evidence is poorly dated and plagued by uncertainty. We use new evidence to assess whether they were actually feasible.

Key details

Reference number


For course


Key dates

Applications close on 31 October 2024 at 11pm

Student type


Area of study

Arts and social sciences, science

Stipend value
(Direct payment)

$35,000 p.a. (2024 rate)

Plant wax geochemistry will be applied to the cave sediments from China to reconstruct plant landscape variability at high taxonomic resolution. In addition, the cave sediments and associated fossils will be accurately constrained using luminescence dating.

This will provide a robustly dated environmental proxy to reconstruct the prevailing conditions during these early migrations, and will support ongoing research into the behaviour health and adaptability of the early migrators.

The candidate will have the opportunity, funded by the ARC project, to:

  • conduct field research in southern China
  • travel to the Max Plank Institute in Jena, Germany, to learn plant wax geochemical techniques.


The scholarship is available to candidates eligible to undertake a direct-entry three-year PhD program.


The scholarship comprises:

  • a tuition fee offset
  • a living allowance stipend.

The value of the stipend scholarship is $35,000 per annum (full-time, indexed) for three years.