Dr Ian Moffat

Senior Lecturer

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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

My principal research focus is examining the effect of climate variation on human evolution. I am undertaking this research on sediments from archaeological rock shelter sites in South Africa, Indonesia and Australia that have long records of human occupation. I am applying methods including geophysics, sediment analysis and isotope geochemistry to develop new climate proxies and understand the depositional history of these sites.

A related area of interest, which I first developed during my PhD, is the isotopic and trace element analysis of biogenic carbonates (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 colonialera 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:


ARC LIEF grant # LE180100185 with Dr Jonathan Tyler, Prof Martin Hand, Prof Michael Bird, Prof Enzo Lombi, Assoc Prof Patrick Moss, Assoc Prof Christopher Clark, Dr Garry Davidson, Prof Peter Gell, Dr Rian Dutch, Prof Bronwyn Gillanders, Dr John Tibby, Dr Thomas Raimondo, Dr Christian Reepmeyer and Assoc Prof Andrew Fairbairn for Mass spectrometry for next generation isotope analysis of silicate minerals

ARC Linkage grant #LP170100050 with Dr Michael Morrison, Dr Darlene McNaughton, A/Prof Heather Burke, A/Prof Shawn Ross, Dr Adela Sobotkova, Dr Brit Asmussen, Mr David Claudie for Indigenous foodways in colonial Cape York Peninsula

ARC Linkage grant # LP170100479 with Assoc Prof Amy Roberts, Dr Mick Morrison and Assoc Prof Heather Burke for White People had the Gun: Interrogating the Riverland’s Colonial Frontier

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

ANSTO Grant with Dr Geraldine Jacobon, Gillian Blackburn, Dr Julia Clark, David Putnam, Anthea Vella and Dr Bayarsaikhan Jamsranjav for A Radiocarbon Chronology for the Transition to Pastoralism from the Soyo Archaeological Site

Flinders University EHL Faculty Medium Research Project Grant with Prof Donald Pate and Dr Tim Owen for Geographic origin of 19th century European migrants recorded in the stable isotope composition of tooth enamel at a colonial South Australian cemeter

International Society of Archaeological Prospection Grant with Dr Mick Morrison and Assoc Prof Amy Roberts for Geophysical and Geomatic Investigations of the Anthropogenic Earth Mounds of the Murray River Valley, South Australia

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
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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