High-speed impact fractures and the global origins of projectile technology

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

It is often argued that complex projectile technology emerged and spread out of Africa with Homo sapiens, but this hypothesis remains untested. Recent research shows certain tip fractures and usewear/residues on stone points may be diagnostic of high-speed projectile impacts, facilitating identification of early complex projectiles. This project aims to use controlled ballistic experiments to generate diagnostic markers of high-speed impacts, test these against ethnographic collections, and analyse archaeological points on four continents. The project should provide significant benefits in understanding the origins of complex projectiles, their role in human dispersal, inter-species competition and reasons for early appearance in Australia. This project seeks:

  1. a PhD student to investigate experimental and ethnographic projectile weapons, hafting and impact damages, and
  2. a PhD student to explore geometric morphometric analysis of tip fractures and/or usewear and residues on archaeological, ethnographic and experimental points.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Professor Chris Clarkson

School of Social Science

Email: c.clarkson@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of experimental archaeology, projectile technology and lithic technology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of archaeology and lithic analysis and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of palaeolithic archaeology is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process