Now is the time to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant human and environmental history of Australia. We like to call it, Australia’s Epic Story.

Australia has been shaped as a nation by its natural, historic and Indigenous heritage. To adapt successfully to future changes, we must dramatically improve our understanding of Australia’s past.

We are undertaking research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture, connect with communities and inform policy.

Indigenous cultures have archaeology too

In late 2015, I arrived for the second time at a place called Orokolo Bay on Papua New Guinea’s south coast. The bay is a long grey-black beach, densely forested with hibiscus and coconut trees. As we approached by dinghy from the east, clusters of houses could be glimpsed fleetingly […]

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From cave art to climate chaos: how a new carbon dating timeline is changing our view of history

Geological and archaeological records offer important insights into what seems to be an increasingly uncertain future. The better we understand what conditions Earth has already experienced, the better we can predict (and potentially prevent) future threats.  

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What lies beneath — submerged sites could help tell the story of Australia’s first people

The story of Australia’s first people begins many tens of thousands of years ago. Archaeological evidence suggests people arrived on the Australian continent up to 65,000 years ago. And many Aboriginal communities across Northern Australia have strong oral histories of ancestral beings arriving from the north. We are working with […]

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This rainforest was once a grassland savanna maintained by Aboriginal people

If you go to the Surrey Hills of northwest Tasmania, you’ll see a temperate rainforest dominated by sprawling trees with genetic links going back millions of years. It’s a forest type many consider to be ancient “wilderness”. But this landscape once looked very different. The only hints are a handful […]

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We were what we ate — clues to the survival of our earliest ancestors in teeth fossils

Analysis of ancient teeth has unlocked surprising new insights into the ability of early humans to adapt to new and extreme environments. The breakthrough came from a study of fossil teeth found during archaeological excavations of caves and rock shelters on two islands in a region known as Wallacea. Analysis […]

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Why we need to care about a 2℃ change in temperature

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease in our use of fossil fuels, we are on track for a global average increase of 2℃ in the next few decades, with extremes of between 3 to 6℃ at higher latitudes. But […]

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Looking at past climates to understand the present — and predict the future

As we grapple with the reality of climate change and imagine what it will be like to live in a warmer world, CABAH researchers are looking for answers to some big questions in some surprising places. For the past hundred thousand years or so, the continent has been much cooler […]

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65,000-year-old plant remains show the earliest Australians spent plenty of time cooking

Australia’s first people ate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and other plant foods, many of which would have taken considerable time and knowledge to prepare, according to our analysis of charred plant remains from a site dating back to 65,000 years ago.

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Ancient Antarctic ice melt increased sea levels by 3+ metres – and it could happen again

Rising ocean temperatures drove the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and caused extreme sea level rise more than 100,000 years ago, a new international study shows. Mass melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was a major cause of high sea levels during a period known as the Last Interglacial […]

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ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

Now is the time to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant environmental history of Australia We like to call it Australia’s Epic Story. Australia has been shaped as a nation by its natural, historic and Indigenous heritage. To adapt successfully to future changes, we must dramatically improve our understanding of Australia’s past. The ARC Centre of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) will undertake research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture, connect with communities and inform policy. By tracking the natural and human history of Australia, Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia, we will be able to fill vast gulfs of knowledge to help us protect our national assets. Opened at Parliament House, Canberra, on 22 June 2017, the centre is funded by a $33.75 million grant from the Australian Research Council, $1 million from the NSW Government, and $11 million from participating universities, museums, and organisations. The funding will support around 40 new research positions and more than 50 new research students over the 7-year life of the Centre. CABAH will be at the forefront of discovery and education, inspiring Australian children to engage in science and connecting with the broader Australian and global community through a comprehensive outreach program. We will help build Australia’s research capacity by equipping future generations of researchers with a range of interdisciplinary skills, and implement initiatives to nurture the careers of Indigenous and female researchers. We’re building a impressive online resource to tell Australia’s Epic Story. Want to be kept up to date with our blockbuster discoveries? Like our page!
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
About 150ha of threatened species habitat has been cleared in Adelaide over the past two decades, a report shows, amid calls for a cash injection to save animals hanging on by a thread.

“We’re kind of driving in the dark without headlights and that’s a dangerous combination considering we’re already in this precarious place in terms of extinction rates," warns CABAH's Corey Bradshaw.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage
The days when school students were taught that Captain Cook "discovered" Australia may well be over, but are we providing students and their teachers with enough cultural knowledge to understand Australia's Indigenous past and future?

Twitter


CABAH’s Chris Urwin explains Indigenous peoples in PNG have been interpreting their ancestral landscapes for generations.
@SAPIENS_org @c_urwin
#Indigenous #archaeology
https://t.co/bhoIAxX7ak via @sapiens_org

The earliest and
most robust evidence for agriculture in the western Torres Strait. https://t.co/NJ5XXeIVeb

Stunning! https://t.co/DaVR9wDL0F
Aust Science Channel @RiAus
The folded mountain ranges of the Flinders Ranges have rarely looked better than this incredible image from @esa’s @CopernicusEU Sentinel-2 satellite. https://t.co/Seucabe5LS https://t.co/DqJWaxPikD

About 150ha of threatened species habitat has been cleared in Adelaide over the past two decades, a report shows, amid calls for a cash injection.
@conservbytes
https://t.co/GEPrpmmiw4 https://t.co/bs5gqUEPUs

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WILDLIFE

How has Australia’s wildlife responded to climate, landscape change and human impact over thousands of years?

[Image by Georgia Steytler]

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TIME

Time is fundamental to understanding the story of Australia’s natural and Indigenous history and heritage.

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People

Human history is written in the land. Delve into the lives of the first Australians, by looking back 60,000+ years, and ponder how our past informs our future.

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Landscapes

Australia is a land of ragged mountains and sweeping plains, shaped by droughts and flooding rains. How did the landscapes we see around us come to be and how have they changed?

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Climate

Reconstructing climate to better understand the drivers and impacts of past and future change.

[Image: Sonia Leber and David Chesworth]

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Models

Combining the diverse results from other themes, using statistical and computational methods to quantify uncertainty and model complex interactions.

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