Bert received his training in the Earth sciences, first in the UK then in Canada and, most recently, in Australia. His interests have centred on interactions between people in the past and their environments, and in particular the timing, causes and consequences of modern human (Homo sapiens) migrations around the planet. He is currently an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wollongong, and is Director of the Centre for Archaeological Science, where he leads a team dedicated to archaeological dating and the reconstruction of past environments.
To accomplish this, Bert pioneered many of the technical developments in optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, including the analysis of individual mineral grains, and helped answer some of the most intriguing and fundamental questions in archaeology. Bert’s early work was concerned with the first evidence for the human colonisation of Australia and the resulting mass extinction of the Australian megafauna.
He has since expanded these interests into Indonesia, South Asia and Africa. Bert was involved in the discovery and dating of the “Hobbit”, a new species of tiny humans (Homo floresiensis) found on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores, and most recently has contributed to new archaeological discoveries in Africa, Arabia and India, in the search for clues of when and why modern humans first migrated out of Africa and dispersed around the world.
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