SahulArch: A geochronological database for the archaeology of Sahul

Saktura, Wanchese M., Rehn, Emma, Linnenlucke, Lauren, Munack, Henry, Wood, Rachel, Petchey, Fiona, Codilean, Alexandru T., Jacobs, Zenobia, Cohen, Tim J., Williams, Alan N., and Ulm, Sean (2023) SahulArch: A geochronological database for the archaeology of Sahul. Australian Archaeology, 89 (1). pp. 1-13.

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Reliable chronological frameworks for archaeological sites are essential for accurate interpretations of the past. Geochronology represents the core of interdisciplinary research because it allows integration of diverse data on a common timeline. Since the radiocarbon revolution in Australian archaeology in the 1950s, thousands of ages have been produced across Sahul (combined landmass of Australia and New Guinea). Methods such as thermoluminescence (TL) and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) have also been used on Australian archaeological deposits and enabled the study of the deep past beyond the limits of radiocarbon dating. After seven decades, these geochronological methods no longer provide just a ‘date’, but instead, the geochronological community is focussed on providing the most reliable, precise, and reproducible ages. These aspects of age estimation are central to the framework of the SahulArch geochronological database. SahulArch is a new publicly available continental-scale dataset in which context and quality assurance criteria of each dated sample are considered as important as the age itself. SahulArch contains a total of 10,717 ages (9,504 radiocarbon, 973 OSL, and 240 TL) from 2,318 sites across the Sahul landmass. We describe the structure of SahulArch, types of auxiliary data collected, and provide a summary of the data in SahulArch.

Item ID: 78837
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2470-0363
Keywords: Sahul; online database; radiocarbon dating; optically stimulated luminescence dating; thermoluminescence dating; geochronology; Australian archaeology
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed,or built upon in any way.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE170100015
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2023 04:53
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 25%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4513 Pacific Peoples culture, language and history > 451301 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl. New Zealand) @ 25%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 100%
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