Associate Professor Ian Moffat

Associate Professor (Research)

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

place Humanities (260)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I'm an archaeological scientist who is fascinated by the potenial of geological techniques to answer questions in archaeology. My main research focus, funded by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, is understanding the human, climate and landscape history of the "Dead Heart" of Australia. This fascinating region, which includes the Simpson, Strzelecki and Sturt Stony Deserts, is the driest place in Australia yet contains more than 100 dryland lakes which contain important geological and archaeological records.

A related area of interest is the isotopic and trace element analysis of biogenic materials (including tooth, bone and otoliths) to examine mobility, diet, maternal behaviour and climate. This includes the analysis of the mobility of animals in Palaeolithic France and Israel, the maternal behaviour of early hominins and the diet and mobility of colonial era migrants in Adelaide. This research makes use of recent developments in the field of laser ablation analysis to undertake spatially resolved in-situ measurements.

I'm also interested in the investigating archaeological sites on a landscape scale, taking advantage of new advances in survey technology, including RTK GPS, UAV’s and multi-sensor geophysical instruments. Specific projects include investigating the spatial organisation of Neolithic and classical archaeological sites in Greece, the transition to pastoralism in Mongolia, examination of Angkorian and post-Angkorian period sites in Cambodia, studying rock art sites in Northern Australia, investigating the history of frontier conflict in the South Australian Riverland and examining Indigenous relationships to food on a landscape scale on Cape York.

I have held academic appointments as a Commonwealth Rutherford Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, a Research Associate at Homerton College and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies. I've also worked in commercial roles for Precipice Training, Archaeometry Pty Ltd and Ecophyte Technologies.


PhD, Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University
BA, English and History, University of Queensland
BSc (Hons), Earth Sciences, University of Queensland

Honours, awards and grants

Editorial Board Member:



HG Andrewartha Medalist, Royal Society of South Australia, 2021

South Australian Tall Poppy Award Winner, 2020

Finalist, South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year, 2020

Early Career Research Excellence Award, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, 2019

Vice Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers, Flinders University, 2017


Chief Investigator on ARC Discovery Grant #DP220102926 Morphodynamics and History of the Younghusband Peninsula

Chief Investigator on ARC Linkage Grant #LP200200803 Rockshelters and Rock Art in the River Murray Gorge: New Data and Syntheses

Chief Investigator on ARC LIEF Grant #LE210100037 A National Facility for the 3D Imaging of the Near Surface

Chief Investigator on ARC LIEF Grant #LE210100183 An ICP-ToF-MS facility for environmental, mineral and biological sciences

Chief Investigator on ARC LIEF Grant #LE200100022 New frontier in Geoscience: A tandem trace element and isotopes facility

Chief Investigation on ARC LIEF grant #LE180100185 Mass spectrometry for next generation isotope analysis of silicate minerals

Chief Investigator on ARC Linkage grant #LP170100050 Indigenous foodways in colonial Cape York Peninsula

Chief Investigation of ARC Linkage grant # LP170100479 White People had the Gun: Interrogating the Riverland’s Colonial Frontier

Chief Investigator of ARC DECRA grant #DE160100703 for The Drumbeat of Human Evolution: Climate Proxies from Rockshelter Sediments

Chief Investigator of ANSTO Grant A Radiocarbon Chronology for the Transition to Pastoralism from the Soyo Archaeological Site

Chief Investigator of George Chaloupka Fellowship from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory for the project Seeing Beneath the Surface: Applying Geophysical Techniques to Rock Art Research

Topic coordinator
ARCH8808 Introductory Archaeological Geophysics
ARCH8518 Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Practicum
ARCH3109 Environmental Archaeology
ARCH1002 From the Palaeolithic to Pompeii: An Exploration of World Archaeology
ARCH2106 Archaeological Field Methods
HASS3000 Mongolian Field School
BIOL1103 Human Evolution
Topic lecturer
ARCH2110 Land beneath the Winds: Archaeology of Southeast Asia
ARCH3214 Forensic Anthropology of the Human Skeleton
ARCH1006 Sex, Death and Ritual in the Ancient World
ARCH1001 Discovering Archaeology
BIOL3703 Vertebrate Palaeontology
STEM1300 Research Project
Supervisory interests
Archaeological geophysics
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Geomatics (1), Geoarchaeology (1), Archaeological Geophysics (1)
Associate supervisor: Archaeological Science (1), Archaeology (2), Maritime Archaeology (1)
Associate supervisor: Archaeological Science (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Anthea Vella

Won the Australian Archaeological Association Best Student Presentation Paper (Archaeological Science) -

Belinda Duke

Obtained a Digital Globe Imagery Grant -

Marian Bailey

Was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Bursary by the Australian Federation of University Women-South Australia -

  • Archaeological Geophysics
  • Archaeological Science
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Isotope Geochemistry
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