Elena Piotto

Elena Piotto

PhD Candidate
Archaeology and Natural History
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Elena Piotto

My current research focuses on the way in which people in the past used shellfish, as a food source and as a raw material for the manufacture of tools and ornaments. Using three sites (from Timor-Leste and Alor Island, Indonesia) I am analysing the adaptive responses of humans in relation to gathering shellfish for sustenance and in the face of changing environmental factors through time. The use of shellfish as a raw material for the manufacture of artefacts is a millennia old tradition that continues today. My research looks at the changes and/or continuity of these shell artefacts in the archaeological sequence of these sites.

I am a University of Queensland alumna, having completed my BA (Hons) in Archaeology (1st Class) under the supervision of Associate Professors Anne Ross and Sean Ulm. This research involved the analysis of a number of motifs at The Gummingurru Aboriginal Stone Arrangement Site on the Darling Downs, QLD. My research incorporated statistical evidence with the local Aboriginal oral history, Lore, and cultural heritage practices.

I intersperse my study with work as a cultural heritage consultant and as such I am well versed in the applied nature of archaeology: site survey; fieldwork; stakeholder consultation; desktop research; understanding the appropriate legislation; lithic and specific site analysis; report writing; budgeting; working to deadlines; and delivery of appropriate outcomes.


Hawkins, S., S. O'Connor, T. R. Maloney, M. Litster, S. Kealy, J. N. Fenner, K. Aplin, C. Boulanger, S. Brockwell, R. Willan, E. Piotto, and J. Louys 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

Langley, M. C., S. O’Connor, and E. Piotto. 2016 42,000-year-old worked and pigment-stained Nautilus shell from Jerimalai (Timor-Leste): Evidence for an early coastal adaptation in ISEA. Journal of Human Evolution 97.

Supervisory Panel Dr Stuart Bedford Dr Sally Brockwell Dr Jack Fenner Prof. Kim Sterelny

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