Sue O’Connor, FAHA, is a Distinguished Professor of Archaeology in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

Professor O’Connor’s archaeological research focuses on modern human migration, settlement and adaptations within the Indo-Pacific region. She also publishes on rock art and personal ornamentation.

She was awarded the Rhys Jones Medal for outstanding contributions to Australian Archaeology in 2011, and held an ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship from mid 2013-2018.

Professor O’Connor has written and/or edited nine books, and more than 200 journal articles. Her books include The Archaeology of Sulawesi: Current Research on the Pleistocene to the Historic Period (2018. Terra Australis 48. Canberra: ANU Press, with David Bulbeck and Juliet Meyer); East of Wallace’s Line: Studies of Past and Present Maritime Cultures of the Indo-Pacific Region (2000. Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema, with Peter Veth), and 30,000 years of Aboriginal occupation: Kimberley, North West Australia (1999. Terra Australis 14. Canberra, RSPAS, Australian National University).

Fields of expertise



Excavation reveals ‘major’ ancient migration to Timor Island

The discovery of thousands of stone artefacts and animal bones in a deep cave on Timor Island has…


Race against time to find ancient Indigenous carvings

Researchers are working with a group of First Nations Australians in a race against time to document ancient art in the…

12 October 2022


Ancient DNA unearths cultural ‘explosion’ in the Pacific

DNA analysis of ancient human remains has shed new light on an “explosion” of intermixing cultures and genetics in an island region…


Ancient humans not to blame for mass island extinction

Archaeologists and palaeontologists, including from Griffith University and The Australian National University (ANU), compared records of human arrival and…


Bone tools found in the Kimberley among oldest in Australia

Bone tools found in a well-known Kimberley cave site are more than 35,000 years old and among the oldest discovered in Australia, according to…

7 April 2021


The lost Australian stories etched in iconic ancient trees

Archaeologists have launched a project to find Australia’s lost stories carved into iconic centuries-old trees in the Kimberley…

22 October 2020


40,000 years of adapting to sea-level change on Alor Island

Early people were rapidly adapting to climate change as they made their way towards Australia tens of thousands…

2 October 2020


Study finds most likely route of first humans into Australia

A new study from ANU indicates the most likely route the ancestors of Aboriginal people took to enter…

31 October 2018


Research reveals when dingoes first arrived in Australia

Radiocarbon dating of the oldest known dingo bones has confirmed that the species likely arrived in Australia more…

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