ARC Australian Laureate Fellow & Director, Centre for Archaeological Science, University of Wollongong, Australia
Richard (Bert) Roberts is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Wollongong in Australia. He was trained in the Earth sciences and is interested in the interactions between prehistoric people and their environments. As Director of the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong, Roberts leads a team dedicated to archaeological dating and the reconstruction of past environments, in particular the timing, causes and consequences of modern human (Homo sapiens) migrations around the planet, as well as those of our extinct relatives. His publications span the fields of Quaternary geochronology, palaeoecology and archaeological science, with a special focus on the development of single-grain and statistical methods to improve the accuracy and precision of luminescence-based chronologies. Roberts’ early work concerned the initial human colonisation of Australia and the subsequent mass extinction of the megafauna. His interests later expanded to Late Pleistocene ecosystem changes in arctic Asia and North America, Middle Stone Age and Middle Palaeolithic archaeological and environmental records in Africa, and the life and times of the ‘Hobbit’ (Homo floresiensis) in Indonesia. Roberts has also collaborated on archaeological projects in Arabia and India, and has started projects on the early rock art and human occupation of northern Australia and the evolution and interactions of archaic and modern humans in Southeast Asia. He is also launching Australia’s first national centre for archaeological science as part of his current ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship.