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12 December 2019
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First Edition 2017
Griffith Magazine

Griffith’s fossil hunter

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Associate Professor Adam Brumm

Griffith Magazine

First Edition November 2017

Unearthing a plastic toy soldier in his backyard in Cairns started Adam Brumm on a journey which has now yielded some of the most significant Southeast Asian and Australasian archaeological finds of the 21st century.

Now an Associate Professor at Griffith’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE), Adam Brumm is one of the world’s foremost archaeologists and experts in the early human story in Southeast Asia, including the extinct species of tiny humans from the Indonesian island of Flores, the so-called Hobbits, whose fossils date to more than 700 000 years ago.

“If I were to say when I first took an interest in the past it would have to be back as a six year-old, when I found an old toy soldier while digging in my yard. It created a hunger in me to find more about the story of how it got there.”

“Even with the most humble object, there is always a story to be told and to be learned and that, in effect, shows us where we have come from,” Associate Professor Brumm said.

More at home in the field than studying history out of books, Associate Professor Brumm is front and centre at ARCHE, which has been honoured and awarded numerous citations in recognition of its outstanding archaeological research and documentation.

In 2014, Associate Professor Brumm and Griffith colleague Associate Professor Maxime Aubert were lauded for their groundbreaking research into Pleistocene cave art from Sulawesi, Indonesia, which was named by Science journal as one of the top 10 scientific achievements of the Year.

In 2017, a Brumm-led research team in Sulawesi unveiled a treasure trove of art, jewelery and ornaments, dating back 30 000 years, shedding new light on ‘Ice Age’ human culture and symbolism.

For more of Adam Brumm’s story, listen to our podcast.

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