Dr Michelle Langley

Griffith University
Research Field: Archaeological Science

Archaeological science provides multi-disciplinary tools to understand numerous aspects of human evolution — both anatomical and cognitive. In her research Dr Langley uses high-resolution microscopy and experiments to untangle the diverse variables which came together to create the modern human mind. She does this through identifying and understanding to the smallest detail the earliest weapons, tools, and body decorations made by the first human communities in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. These data allow for the reconstruction of the kind of society, individual, and mind which produced the studied artefacts.

Currently, she is exploring the bone technology of Indigenous Australia. Occupied for at least 65,000 years, this continent has a rich record of bone tools and ornaments, though this corpus has never been thoroughly analysed owing to the preference of archaeologists for stone tools. This Australian Research Council-funded work is revealing the extraordinarily complex and innovative technologies that were developed on this continent and will change the way we view the material culture of Australia’s First Peoples.

Finally, she is also investigating the role of children in technology innovation during the Pleistocene—an area which the potential to contribute to numerous scientific debates in archaeology, anthropology, psychology, and technology.

2018