top of page


December 2023

The Raja Ampat Archaeological Project has been awarded a National Geographic Society Meridian Grant to collaborate with social anthropologists, ecologists, and conservationists. This grant will run from 2024–2025 and will include fieldwork by Dr Dylan Gaffney (Oxford), Dr Agustin Capriati (Wageningen), Dr Ben Utting (Smithsonian), Dr Annette Oertle (Vienna), Prof Daud Tanudirjo (UGM), Prof Marlina Flassy (UCEN), Abdul Razak Macap (BPK Wilayah), Christoph Parsch (Göttingen), Dr Marlin Tolla (BRIN), and Dr Anna Florin (ANU). The next phase of the project will examine present-day subsistence and conservation practices and compare this with the archaeological record. This comparison will be used to describe long term processes of behavioural and ecological change in the islands and to provide insight into future directions for conservation practices.


August 2023

The Raja Ampat Archaeological Project undertook renewed archaeological fieldwork on Waigeo Island in July and August of 2023. The season was led by Dr Dylan Gaffney, Professor Daud Tanudirjo, and Dr Marlin Tolla, and was funded by the British Academy and the Boise Trust. It involved the team spending two months surveying for unknown archaeological sites under the canopy and excavating within a large cave site. Field archaeologists included Zubair Mas'ud (BRIN), Dr Anna Florin (ANU) and Tristan Russell (Otago), alongside undergraduate student Thomas Prince (Cambridge), and local field assistants from the Warsambin and Kalitoko community. The team opened a 6 x 2 m excavation at Mololo, a large system of chambers reaching 100 m deep, home to several species of megabats. Digging down into a series of clay and fire ash deposits, the excavators located stone artefacts as well as animal bones discarded by the humans that occupied the site in the past. Previous radiocarbon dating by the team at the site has shown that the cave was initially occupied during the last Ice Age. Our discovery of fireplaces and charcoal located below the 2018–2019 excavations means that human occupation at the cave is probably earlier than we had initially thought. Further radiocarbon dating, luminescence dating, and artefact analysis is aiming to clarify the precise age.


While on Waigeo, the team also worked with the Warsambin community to promote cultural heritage through public lectures about the Raja Ampat Archaeological Project. They also provided the community with copies of an Indonesian-language book describing the main findings of the Project so far. The design and printing of these community books was undertaken in Oxford and funded by the Evans Fund. This kind of community engagement is essential to ensuring that the flow of knowledge between researchers and local stakeholders is a two-way process.

bottom of page