Palaeodemographic advances and potential applications in the Pacific region

Event details


Date & time

Monday 12 April 2021


Online - Zoom


Clare McFadden


CHL Communicate

Additional links

Synapse Trans-Disciplinary Seminar Series by the School of Culture, History & Language


In this seminar talk I will describe recent advances in palaeodemographic methods and theory, and will propose potential applications in the Pacific region. Prior attempts to estimate past population dynamics in the region have been constrained by unavailability of data, methodological limitations and the use of somewhat rigid population models. Methodological advances offer the opportunity for both estimating (by proxy) and modelling past population variables in the Pacific Islands. While palaeodemography typically aims to estimate past population dynamics in the absence of historical demographic records, the deep time oral histories in the Pacific region afford the opportunity for comparison and potentially cross-validation. Demographic estimates can be integrated with cultural, environmental and biological information to explore complex and dynamic populations interactions. Further, reconstructions of the demographic past can be contrasted with post-contact accounts, with potential insights into the scale of depopulation. The diversity and value of such applications are reliant on multidisciplinary approaches.

About the Speaker

Dr Clare McFadden is a biological anthropologist at the ANU. Her research has focussed on refining and expanding palaeodemographic tools, with an emphasis on application to bioarchaeological samples from Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. The palaeodemographic measures which she has developed and finessed use skeletally-derived age-at-death data to estimate fertility, the rate of natural population increase, maternal mortality, and elderly age-at-death. The application of these tools has reinforced overarching regional trends in population responses to major sociocultural and technological events.

**This event will be hosted via Zoom – register at Eventbrite for details on how to join.

This is a public seminar and will be recorded.

The recording will be made available after the event through the Synapse Trans-Disciplinary Seminar Series page.

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster