Sean Ulm

Distinguished Professor Sean Ulm

  • Post Nominals: FAHA, FSA, MAACAI
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2015
  • Section(s): Archaeology


A specialist at the forefront of human-environmental studies in Aboriginal archaeology, particularly from coastal contexts in northern Australia and the Pacific, Sean Ulm’s work is credited for recasting the nature of coastal occupation models from the Holocene period by integrating accurate climate models with forensic analysis of coastal sites. He is highly regarded for his coordination of multidisciplinary expertise in the investigation of the prehistoric coastal record.

He is Professor of Archaeology at James Cook University and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Sean’s research focuses on persistent problems in the archaeology of northern Australia and the western Pacific where his priority has been to develop new tools to investigate and articulate co-variability and co-development of human and natural systems. He completed his archaeological training at the University of Queensland where he was awarded a PhD in 2004. He has held previous positions at the University of Queensland and University of New England and was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2011.

He is a Fellow of Society of Antiquaries of London, an Honorary Research Fellow of the Queensland Museum, an Honorary Fellow of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia and a Research Fellow of the Cairns Institute. He is a past President of the Australian Archaeological Association and Editor of Australian Archaeology. He is currently editor of Queensland Archaeological Research, and sits on the editorial boards of The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology and Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.

His contributions to archaeology have been recognised in the awarding of the Rhys Jones Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Archaeology, Life Membership for Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Archaeological Association, Martin Davies Award for Best Public Archaeology Initiative and Bruce Veitch Award for Excellence in Indigenous Engagement. His publications include more than 100 articles on the archaeology of Australia and five books.

Sean tweets at @SeanUlm

Sean Ulm’s James Cook University Profile

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.