Currently I am working on a DECRA project titled "Australia's Living Technologies: Bone Tools from First Peoples to Contact". This project will is the first major study of Indigenous Australian bone and tooth based technologies. Through employing sophisticated use wear techniques, it will deduce the cognitive, social, and technological processes behind their manufacture and use, therefore providing new insights into pre-contact Australia, as well as the development of humanity. This project forefronts the role of Modern Humans in Australia in global narratives of human cultural development and supplies a new material culture based perspective on the cultural behaviour of our earliest ancestors.
I am also undertaking technological trace analysis (reconstructing how tools/ornaments were made and used via observation of microscope marks and residues) of bone, ivory, antler, marine shell, and ochre artefacts from around the globe, collaborating with researchers based both here in Australia and abroad to understand the people who produced these artefacts.
My research centres around understanding the origins and development of human behavioural uniqueness, with particular focus on:
- Hunter-gatherer technologies -- how they were made, how they were used, why they were discarded
- Australian archaeology;
- Neanderthal behavioural complexity and interaction with Modern Humans;
- Palaeolithic Europe; and
- Identifying children in the deep past.
- Australian Archaeology
- Human Behavioural Evolution
- Hunter Gatherer Technologies
- Neanderthal Behaviour
- Origins of Symbolic Behaviour
- Palaeolithic Europe
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
- Archaeological Science
- Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
- Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
- Brumm, A., Langley, M., Moore, M. W., Hakim, B., Ramli, M., Sumantri, I., … Grun, R. (2017). Early human symbolic behavior in the Late Pleistocene of Wallacea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(16), 4105–4110.
- Shaw, B., & Langley, M. (2017). Investigating the development of prehistoric cultural practices in the Massim region of eastern Papua New Guinea: Insights from the manufacture and use of shell objects in the Louisiade Archipelago. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 48, 149–165.
- Allen, H., Langley, M., & Tacon, P. (2016). Bone projectile points in prehistoric Australia: examples from archaeologicaly recovered implements, ethnography, and rock art. In Osseous Projectile Weaponry: Towards an Understanding of Pleistocene Culture Variability (pp. 209–220).
- Langley, M., & O’Connor, S. (2016). An enduring shell artefact tradition from Timor-Leste: Oliva bead production from the pleistocene to late holocene at Jerimalai, Lene Hara, and Matja Kuru 1 and 2. PLoS One, 11(8), e0161071–1–e0161071–25.
- Langley, M., O’Connor, S., & Aplin, K. (2016). A >46,000-year-old kangaroo bone implement from Carpenters Gap 1 (Kimberley, northwest Australia). Quaternary Science Reviews, 154, 199–213.
- Langley, M., O’Connor, S., & Piotto, E. (2016). 42,000-year-old worked and pigment-stained Nautilus shell from Jerimalai (Timor-Leste): Evidence for an early coastal adaptation in ISEA. Journal of Human Evolution, 97, 1–16.
- Langley, M., Prendergast, M. E., Shipton, C., Morales, E. M. Q., Crowther, A., & Boivin, N. L. (2016). Poison arrows and bone utensils in late Pleistocene eastern Africa: evidence from Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar. Azania, 51(2), 155–177.
- Shipton, C., Crowther, A., Kourampas, N., Prendergast, M. E., Horton, M., Douka, K., … Boivin, N. L. (2016). Reinvestigation of Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar, reveals Later Stone Age coastal habitation, early Holocene abandonment and Iron Age reoccupation. Azania, 51(2), 197–233.
- Whitau, R., Dilkes-Hall, I. E., Dotte-Sarout, E., Langley, M., Balme, J., & O’Connor, S. (2016). X-ray computed microtomography and the identification of wood taxa selected for archaeological artefact manufacture: Rare examples from Australian contexts. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 6, 536–546.
- Wright, D., Langley, M., May, S. K., Johnston, I. G., & Allen, L. (2016). Painted shark vertebrae beads from the Djawumbu-Madjawarrnja complex,western Arnhem Land. Australian Archaeology, 82(2), 43–54.
- Langley, M. (2015). Investigating maintenance and discard behaviours for osseous projectile points: A Middle to Late Magdalenian (c. 19,000-14,000 cal. BP) example. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 40, 340–360.
- Langley, M., & O’Connor, S. (2015). 6500-Year-old Nassarius shell appliques in Timor-Leste: Technological and use wear analyses. Journal of Archaeological Science, 62, 175–192.
- Langley, M., Augier, D., Delage, C., & Pauthier, A. (2015). A Magdalenian decorated baguette demi-ronde from Grotte de lAbbe (Charente, France). Comptes Rendus Palevol, 14(4), 321–330.
- Langley, M. (2014). Magdalenian antler projectile point design: Determining original form for uni- and bilaterally barbed points. Journal of Archaeological Science, 44(1), 104–116.
- Langley, M. (2014). Patterns of modernity taphonomy, sampling and the pleistocene archaeological record of Sahul. In Southern Asia, Australia and the Search for Human Origins (pp. 200–212).
- Langley, M. (2013). A newly discovered horse engraving from la madeleine (Dordogne), France. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 79, 377–381.
- Langley, M. (2013). Storied landscapes makes us (Modern) Human: Landscape socialisation in the Palaeolithic and consequences for the archaeological record. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 32(4), 614–629.
- Langley, M., & Street, M. (2013). Long range inland-coastal networks during the Late Magdalenian: Evidence for individual acquisition of marine resources at Andernach-Martinsberg, German Central Rhineland. Journal of Human Evolution, 64(5), 457–465.
- Williams, A. N., Ulm, S., Cook, A. R., Langley, M., & Collard, M. (2013). Human refugia in Australia during the last glacial maximum and terminal Pleistocene: A geospatial analysis of the 25-12 ka Australian archaeological record. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(12), 4612–4625.
- Tacon, P., & Langley, M. (2012). Rock art dating in Australia and beyond: What does it tell us? In J. Clottes (Ed.), . Presented at the L’art Pléistocène dans le monde / Pleistocene art of the world, Tarascon-sur-Ari觥, France (2012).
- Langley, M., Clarkson, C., & Ulm, S. (2011). From small holes to grand narratives: The impact of taphonomy and sample size on the modernity debate in Australia and New Guinea. Journal of Human Evolution, 61(2), 197–208.
- Tacon, P., Langley, M., May, S. K., Lamilami, R., Brennan, W., & Wesley, D. (2011). A bird in the hand: response to Franklin and Szabo. Antiquity, 85(327), 1–3.
- Langley, M., & Tacon, P. (2010). The age of Australian rock art: a review. Australian Archaeology, 71, 70–73.
- Tacon, P., Langley, M., May, S. K., Lamilami, R., Brennan, W., & Guse, D. (2010). Ancient bird stencils discovered in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. Antiquity, 84(324), 416–427.
Open to expressions of interest from prospective candidates interested in pursuing graduate studies in Australian archaeology, human behavioural evolution, archaeology of children, and traceology (use wear analysis) at Griffith University.
Dr Michelle C. Langley is a DECRA Research Fellow in the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution at Griffith University, and has previously held a research position at the Australian National University in Canberra. Michelle received her PhD in Archaeology from the University of Oxford in 2014.
Dr Langley's research focuses on the use by early human communities of hard animal materials -- bone, tooth, antler, ivory, claw, quill, shell -- to create technology. Her research has resulted in overturning the belief that bone tools were not used in Australia for tens of thousands of years through the identification of a 46,000-year-old pointed kangaroo bone ornament excavated by Prof. Sue O'Connor from the Kimberleys. This tool -- the oldest example of a bone ornament used by Modern Humans (Homo sapiens) and the oldest bone tool/ornament in Australia -- has sparked renewed interest in bone technologies in Australia.
Dr Langley is on the Editorial Advisory board for Archaeology in Oceania (AO) and Queensland Archaeology Research (QAR) and has been involved in unveiling some of the earliest ornaments, bone tools, and shell artefacts throughout the Australian and Southeast Asian regions.
Dr Langley's research has been funding by the Australian Research Council and the Clarendon Fund, and has been published in PLoS One, Quaternary Science Reviews, and the Journal of Human Evolution, and highlighted in National Geographic, New Scientist, Archaeology Magazine, and Australasian Science Magazine, as well as NITV, SBS, and the ABC.
Issues surrounding the development and use of symbolic behaviour and social signalling technologies within Pleistocene Neanderthal and Modern Human populations remains the underlying focus of her research.
DPhil Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford 2011 - 2014
MPhil Master Of Philosophy, The University of Queensland 2008 - 2009
BA Bachelor Of Arts With Honours, The University of Queensland 2003 - 2007
Research Officer, The Australian National University 2013 - 2016
Tutor, The University of Oxford 2011 - 2012
Research Officer, The University of Queensland 2007 - 2010
The Eureka Prize for Excellence in Archaeological Interpretation, Australian Archaeological Association 2011 - 2011
High Commendation for Best Overall Paper Prize, Australian Archaeological Association 2009 - 2009
High Commendation for Student Poster Prize, Australian Archaeological Association 2006 - 2006
Best Student Paper Prize, Australian Archaeological Association 2007 - 2007
Archaeology Theme Member, Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution 2017 -
Editorial Advisory Board Member, Queensland Archaeological Research 2017 -
Exective Board Member, European Society for the Study of Human Evolution 2015 - 2017
Editorial Advisory Board, Archaeology in Oceania 2017 -
AAA Member, Australian Archaeological Association 2004 -
ESHE Member, European Society for the Study of Human Evolution 2013 -
SSCIP Member, Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past 2016 -