I’m Carly Monks, an archaeologist with an interest in how humans have shaped and responded to their environments over the last 60,000 years – the period of time in which modern humans have spread across the world. I specialise in using animal remains to explore environmental and cultural changes through time. The ways in which people interact with and modify their environments fascinate me, and I’m particularly interested in how our ancestors used fire and other tools to move, kill off, or protect animal and plant species.
My PhD research investigates these complex interactions in the coastal plain north of Perth, in southwestern Australia. Specifically, I’m using faunal remains – animal bones, bird eggshell, and marine shell – and other archaeological evidence to reconstruct past environmental conditions, people’s activities, and how these interacted with the structure and diversity of past ecosystems.
Ecosystems are dynamic and unstable, and can produce many different responses to disturbance. Yet Aboriginal Australians have been successfully managing ecosystems for many thousands of years, exploiting landscapes from the coastal fringe to the deserts of central Australia. By combining archaeological and palaeoecological evidence, we can better understand the human role in promoting and maintaining biodiversity.
If you’d like to read more about my research, visit here. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me on twitter (@archaeo_ecology), by email (carly.monks[at]research.uwa.edu.au), or using the contact form below.