Shimona Kealy

Shimona is an archaeologist and palaeobiologist with a key interest in the early movements of people, cultures, and animals throughout the islands of the Asia-Pacific. In particular, the patterns of occupation & cultures in island communities over the last ~50,000 years in Wallacea, and the biological & ecological impacts of early human arrival on islands.

Shimona works with geographic information systems (GIS), palaeogeographic reconstruction, biogeographic modelling, and phylogenetic analysis to explore the palaeo-archipelagos north of Australia and the people and animals who lived there. Her research currently involves archaeological surveys and excavations in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, as well as multidisciplinary projects combining archaeology with molecular and morphological phylogenetics to investigate possible prehistoric translocations of animals to Asia-Pacific islands.

Shimona is also dedicated to building on the network of collaborative research & training between Indonesia and Australia with a particular focus on the disciplines of Archaeology, Palaeontology, and Biology.

Research area/theme
Ontogeny, Culture and Socialisation
Consilience and Cartography
Detecting Remote Historical Signal
Media coverage
Relevant publications

Book Chapters

O’Connor, S., Kealy, S., McWilliam, A., Brockwell, S., Wattimena, L., Ririmasse, M., Mahirta, Alifah, Pannell, S., Hawkins, S., Husni, M., & Tanudirjo, D. 2020. Surveys of fortified sites in Southern Wallacea. In O’Connor, McWilliam & Brockwell (ed). Forts and Fortification in Wallacea: Archaeological and Ethnohistoric Investigations. Terra Australis 53. Canberra: ANU Press. pp. 249-281.

Journal Articles

O’Connor, S., Kealy, S., Reepmeyer, C., Samper Carro, S. & C. Shipton. 2023. Terminal pleistocene emergence of maritime interaction networks across Wallacea. World Archaeology.

Kealy, S., Donnellan, S.C., Mitchell, K.J., Herrera, M., Aplin, K., O’Connor, S., Louys, J. (in press). Phylogenetic relationships of the cuscuses (Diprotodontia: Phalangeridae) of Island Southeast Asia and Melanesia based on the mitochondrial ND2 gene. Australian Mammalogy.

Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Reepmeyer, C., Kealy, S., Jankowski, N. (in press). Shell Adzes, Exotic Obsidian, and Inter-Island Voyaging in the Terminal Pleistocene and Holocene of Wallacea. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology.

Langley, M., O’Connor, S., Kealey, S. & Mahirta. 2021. Fishhooks, lures and sinkers: Intensive manufacture of marine technology from the terminal pleistocene at Makpan Cave, Alor Island, Indonesia. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology.

Louys, J., Braje, T., Chang, C., Cosgrove, R., Fitzpatrick, S., Fujita, M., Hawkins, S., Ingicco, T., Kawamurra A., MacPhee, R., McDowell, M., Meijer, H., Piper, P., Roberts, P., Simmons, A., van den Bergh, G., van der Geer, A., Kealy, S., & O’Connor, S. 2021. No evidence for widespread island extinctions after Pleistocene hominin arrival. PNAS May 18, 2021 118 (20) e2023005118;

Kaharudin, H., Alifah, Ramadhan, L., Kealy, S. 2020. A review of archaeological dating efforts at cave rockshelter sites in the Indonesian archipelago. Journal of Indo-Pacific Archaeology. 44: 80-112.

Kealy, S., O’Connor, S., Mahirta, Sari, D. M., Shipton, C., Langley, M., Boulanger, C., Kaharudin, H., Patridina, E., Algifary, M. A., Irfan, A., Beaumont, P., Jankowski, N., Hawkins, S., & Louys, J. (2020). Forty-thousand years of maritime subsistence near a changing shoreline on Alor Island (Indonesia). Quaternary Science Reviews, 249, 106599.

O’Connor, S., Oliveira, N., Standish, C., García-Diez, M., Kealy, S., and Shipton, C. 2020. Faces in the Stone: Further Finds of Anthropomorphic Engravings Suggest a Discrete Artistic Tradition Flourished in Timor-Leste in the Terminal Pleistocene. Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Kealy, S., Mahirta, Syarqiyah, I., Alamsyah, N., & Ririmasse, M. (2020) Early ground axe technology in Wallacea: The first excavations on Obi Island. Plos One.

Roberts, P., Louys, J., Zech, J., Shipton, C., Kealy, S., Samper Carro, S., Hawkins, S., Boulanger, C., Marzo, S., Fielder, B., Boivin, N., Mahirta, Aplin, K., O’Connor, S. (2020). Isotopic evidence for initial coastal colonization and subsequent diversification in the human occupation of Wallacea. Nature Communications, 11(1), 2068.

Yuwono, P., Mahirta, O’Connor, S., Kealy, S., Black, A., Hawkins, S. (2020). New painted rock art sites in Alor Island, Eastern Indonesia, support a diversity of artistic traditions in the Late Holocene. Rock Art Research, 37(1), 35-45.

Shipton, C., O’Connor, S., Jankowski, N., O’Connor-Veth, J., Maloney, T., Kealy, S., Boulanger, C. (2019). A new 44,000-year sequence from Asitau Kuru (Jerimalai), Timor-Leste, indicates long-term continuity in human behaviour. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 11(10), 5717-5741.

Reepmeyer, C., O’Connor, S., Mahirta, Kealy, S., Maloney, T. (2019). Kisar, a small island participant in an extensive maritime obsidian network in the Wallacean Archipelago. Archaeological Research in Asia, 19, 100139.

Kaharudin, H. A. F., Mahirta, Kealy, S., Hawkins, S., Boulanger, C., O’Connor, S. (2019). Human foraging responses to climate change; Here Sorot Entapa rockshelter on Kisar Island. Wacana: Journal of the Humanities Indonesia, 20(3), 525-559.

O’Connor, S., Mahirta, Kealy, S., Boulanger, C., Maloney, T., Hawkins, S., Langley, M., Kaharudin, H. A. F., Suniarti, Y., Husni, M., Ririmasse, M., Tanudirjo, D. A., Wattimena, L., Handoko, W., Alifah, Louys, J. (2019). Kisar and the archaeology of small island in the Wallacean Archipelago. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 14(2), 198-225.

Kealy, S., Louys, J., O’Connor, S. (2018). Least-cost pathway models indicate northern human dispersal from Sunda to Sahul. Journal of Human Evolution, 125, 59-70.

O’Connor, S., Mahirta, Tanudirjo, D., Ririmasse, M., Husni, M., Kealy, S., Hawkins, S., Alifah. (2018). Ideology, ritual performance and its manifestations in the rock art of Timor-Leste and Kisar Island, Island South East Asia. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 28(2), 225-241.

O’Connor, S., Mahirta, Samper Carro, S., Hawkins, S., Kealy, S., Louys, J., Wood, R. (2017). Fishing in life and death: Oldest evidence of Pleistocene fish-hooks from a burial context. Antiquity 91(360), 1451-1468.

O’Connor, S., Louys, J., Kealy, S., Samper Carro, S. (2017). Hominin dispersal and settlement east of Huxley’s Line: The role of sea-level changes, island size, and subsistence behavior. Current Anthropology 58(17), 567-582.

Hawkins, S., O’Connor, S., Maloney, T. M., Lister, M., Kealy, S., Fenner, J. N., Aplin, K., Boulanger, C., Brockwell, S., Willan, R., Piotto, E., Louys, J. (2017). Oldest human occupation of Wallacea at Laili Cave, Timor-Leste, shows broad-spectrum foraging responses to late Pleistocene environments. Quaternary Science Reviews 171, 58-72.

Kealy, S., Louys, J., O’Connor, S. (2017). Reconstructing palaeogeography and inter-island visibility in the Wallacean Archipelago during the likely period of Sahul colonization, 65 – 45,000 years ago. Archaeological Prospection 24(3), 259-272.

Reepmeyer, C., O’Connor, S., Mahirta, Maloney, T., Kealy, S. (2016). Late Pleistocene/early Holocene maritime interaction in Southeastern Indonesia – Timor Leste. Archaeological Science, 76, 21-30

Hawkins, S., O’Connor, S., Kealy, S. (2016). Late Quaternary hominin-bat (Chiroptera) interactions in the Asia-Pacific. Archaeology in Oceania, 51, 7-17.

Kealy, S., Louys, J., O’Connor, S. (2016). Islands under the sea: a review of early modern human dispersal routes and migration hypotheses through Wallacea. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 11(3), 364-384.

O’Connor, S., Louys, J., Kealy, S., Mahirta. (2015). First record of painted rock art near Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia, and the origins and distribution of the Austronesian painting tradition. Rock Art Research, 32(2), 193-201.

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