Dr Richard

Dr Richard Cosgrove

Associate Professor

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Archaeology and History

MB 167, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA (ANU), MA (James Cook), PhD (La Trobe).



Membership of professional associations

International Council for Zooarchaeology, Australasian Quaternary Association, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Royal Society of Tasmania, Committee Member Australasian Research Cluster for Archaeological Science.

Area of study


Brief profile

My research and teaching experience has been in human behavioural ecology, rock art studies, palaeoecology, zooarchaeology, stone artefact analysis and hunter-gatherer archaeology. I have carried out field work and research in most Australian states and, internationally in England, China, Jordan and France over the last 30 years. The time period that I study is from the Palaeolithic to the Holocene periods, from about 1 million years ago up to the historic period. I have advised the Tasmanian forest industry, ICOMOS, the World Heritage Centre and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Lands and Sea Council on cultural heritage matters for over 20 years. I work closely with the Queensland Wet Tropics, Aboriginal communities and Environmental Protection agencies, northeast Queensland on Indigenous cultural heritage management.

Research interests

Archaeological Science

- Archaeobotany, Zooarchaeology, isotopic and nutritional analysis

Archaeology of Australia

- Archaeology of the Kimberley

- Human behavioural ecology

- Hunter-gatherer archaeology

- Rock art

Teaching units

  • ARC3AIA - Australian Indigenous Archaeology;
  • ARC2ART - Art and Symbolism of the Ancients;
  • ARC5BON - Animal Bones;
  • ARC3ZOO - The Archaeology of Animals.


Tasmanian forest industry, ICOMOS, World Heritage Centre, Queensland Wet Tropics Authority

Recent publications



  1. Buckley, M., R. Cosgrove, J. Garvey and G. Predeaux, 2017. Identifying remains of extinct kangaroos in Late Pleistocene deposits using collagen fingerprinting. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE (2017) 32(5) 653–660.
  2. Cosgrove, R. and J. Garvey, 2017. Behavioural inferences from late Pleistocene Aboriginal Australia: seasonality, butchery and nutrition in southwest Tasmania. In Umberto Albarella, Hannah Russ, Kim Vickers & Sarah Viner-Daniels (eds), The Oxford Handbook in Zooarchaeology, Oxford University Press.
  3. Hongyan Zhang, Huayu Lu, Shejiang Wang, Enlou Zhang, Richard Cosgrove, Wenchao Zhang ,LuLi, 2017. Consistent C3 plant habitat of hominins during 400-300 ka at the Longyadong Cave site (Luonan Basin, central China) revealed by stable carbon isotope analyses of loess deposits. Journal of Human Evolution 108:1-10.
  4. Vaesen, K., M. Collard, R. Cosgrove and W. Roebroeks, 2016. The Tasmanian Effect and other Red Herrings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, Vol. 113 no. 44: E6726–E6727, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1613074113.
  5. Collard, Mark, Krist Vaesen, Richard Cosgrove, and Wil Roebroeks 2016. The empirical case against the “demographic turn” in Palaeolithic archaeology. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 371(1698). DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0242
  6. Field, Judith, Lisa Kealhofer, Richard Cosgrove and Adelle C. Coster 2016. Human-Environment Dynamics during the Holocene in the Australian Wet Tropics of NE Queensland: a starch and phytolith study. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 44 (2016) 216–234.
  7. Allen, J., R. Cosgrove and J. Garvey. 2016. Optimality Models and the Food Quest in Pleistocene Tasmania. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2016.07.009.
  8. Vaesen, K., M. Collard, R. Cosgrove and W. Roebroeks, 2016. Population size does not explain past changes in cultural complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1520288113.
  9. Garvey, J., G. Roberts and R. Cosgrove, 2015. Economic utility and nutritional value of the Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus): evaluating Australian Aboriginal hunting and butchery patterns. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.037
  10. Cosgrove, R. 2015. Comment. In Scherjon, F., Bakels, C.C., MacDonald, K. Roebroeks, W.  Burning the land: an ethnographic study of off-site fire use by current and historically documented foragers and implications for the interpretation of past fire practices in the landscape. Current Anthropology, Volume 56, Number 3: 316-317.
  11. Cosgrove, R. 2015. Raw material movement and past Tasmanian Aboriginal interaction: implications for understanding isolated human population dynamics. Archaeology in Oceania, Vol. 50 Supplement: 69–81.
  12. Tuechler, Anna, Asa Ferrier, Richard Cosgrove 2014. Transforming the inedible to the edible: An analysis of the nutritional returns from Aboriginal nut processing in Queensland’s Wet Tropics. Australian Archaeology, 79: 26-33.
  13. Xuefeng Sun, Huayu Lu, Shejiang Wang, Richard Cosgrove, Wenchao Zhang, Kaifeng Yu, Haixin Zhuo 2014. Age of newly discovered Paleolithic assemblages at Liuwan site Luonan Basin, central China. Quaternary International, 347:
  14. Cosgrove, R., D. Frankel and D. Thomas, 2013. From the Moat to the Murray: Teaching practical archaeology at La Trobe University. Australian Archaeology. 76: 44-51. 
  15. Lenoble, A., A. Morala and R. Cosgrove 2013. Prélevements géochronologiques et sédimentologiques de l'abri de Laugerie-Haute Ouest (Les Eyzies de Tayac, Dordogne. Rappot de sondage archólogique, Service Régional de l'Archaólogie -Region Aquitaine.
  16. Cosgrove, R. 2012. Comment on Jim O’Connell and Jim Allen paper ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Modelling the colonisation of Saul. Australian Archaeology, 74: 23-24.
  17. Zhang, Hongyan, Huayu Lu, Shao‐Yong Jiang, Jef Vandenberghe, Shejiang Wang and Richard Cosgrove, 2012. Provenance and formation of loess deposit in eastern Qinling Mountains (central China) and their implications for the hominine paleoenvironment. Quaternary Science Reviews, 43: 94-102.
  18. Lu, Huayu, Hongyan Zhang, Shejiang Wang, Xuefeng Sun, Richard Cosgrove, Jun Zhao, Donghuai Sun, Chen Shen, Ming Wei, 2011. Multiphase timing of hominid occupations and the paleoenvironment in Luonan Basin, Central China. Quaternary Research, Volume 76, (1): 142‐147.
  19. Huayu Lu, Xuefeng Sun, Shejiang Wang, Richard Cosgrove, Hongyan Zhang, Shuangwen Yi , Ming Wei , Xiaolin Ma, Wenchao Zhang, 2011. Ages for hominid occupation in Lushi Basin, in catchments of South Luohe River, central China. Journal of Human Evolution 60: 612‐617.
  20. Haberle, S. G., S. Rule, P. Roberts, H. Hiejnis, G. Jacobsen, C. Turney, R. Cosgrove, A. Ferrier, P. Moss and S. Mooney, 2010. Palaeo‐Fire in the Wet Tropics of northeast Queensland, Australia. Past Global Changes, Vol 18, (2): 78‐80.
  21. Cosgrove, Richard, Judith Field, Jillian Garvey, Joan Brenner‐Coltrain, Albert Goede, Bethan Charles, Steve Wroe, Anne Pike‐Tay, Rainer Grun, Maxime Aubert, Wendy Lees and James O'Connell, 2010. Overdone overkill – the archaeological perspective on Tasmanian megafaunal extinctions. Journal of Archaeological Science. 37: 2486‐2503.
  22. Wang, S., Lu Huayu, Z. Hongyan, Z. Jun, R. Cosgrove, Y. Shuangwen, S. Xuefeng, W. Ming, J. Garvey and M. Xiaolin, 2008. Preliminary survey of Paleolithic artefacts and loess deposit in the middle south Luohe River, eastern Qinling Mountains, central China. Quaternary Sciences, vol 28 (6): 988‐912.
  23. Pike‐Tay, A., R. Cosgrove and J. Garvey, 2008. Archaeological evidence for seasonal land use patterns by late Pleistocene Tasmanian Aborigines. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 2532‐2544.
  24. Huayu, L. Zhang Hongyan, Wang Shejing, Richard Cosgrove, Zhao Cunfa, Thomas Stevens and Zhao Jun, 2007. A preliminary survey on loess deposit in eastern Qinling Mountains (central China) and its implications for estimating age of the Pleistocene lithic artefacts. Quaternary Sciences, vol. 27 (4): 559‐567.
  25. Cosgrove, R., J. Field and A. Ferrier, 2007. The archaeology of the Australia’s tropical rainforest. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 251 (1): 150‐173.
  26. Cosgrove, R, 2005. Coping with noxious nuts. Nature Australia 28, (6): 47‐53.
  27. Wang Shejiang, Shen Chen, Hu Song‐mei, Zhang Xiaobing, Wang Changfu, and Richard Cosgrove, 2005. A Study of Lithic Artefacts from Open‐air Sites during 1995‐1999 in Luonan Basin, China. Acta Anthropologica Sinica, 24 (2).
  28. Cosgrove, R. 2004 Ice Age Hunters of Tasmania. Nature Australia, Vol 28, (3), pp 58-63.
  29. Cosgrove, R. and Pike-Tay, A. 2004 The Middle Palaeolithic and late Pleistocene Tasmania hunting behaviour: A reconsideration of the attributes of modern human behaviour. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 14: 321–332.
  30. Coltrain, J.B., Field, J., Cosgrove, R. & O’Connell, J.F. 2004. Stable isotope and protein analyses of Genyornis remains from Cuddie Springs: Implications for site chronology and the timing of megafaunal extinction.  Archaeology in Oceania. 39(1): 50-51.
  31. Pike-Tay, A. and R. Cosgrove 2002. From Reindeer to Wallaby: Recovering Patterns of Seasonality, Mobility, and Prey Selection in the Paleolithic Old World. Special Issue, Paleolithic Zooarchaeology, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Volume 9 (2): 101-146.
  32. Cosgrove, R. and E. Raymont 2002. Jiyer Cave Revisited: Preliminary results from northeast Queensland Rainforest. Australian Archaeology 54: 29-36.
  33. Cosgrove, R. 2002. The Role of Zooarchaeology in Archaeological Interpretation: a view from Australia. Archaeofauna.: Revista de la Asociacion Espanola de Arqueozoologia, Madrid. 
  34. Chrisfield, T. and R. Cosgrove 2000 Building digital AV collections for research and teaching: a collaborative approach. In Books and Bytes: Technologies for the hybrid library. Tenth VALA Biennial Conference and Exhibition Proceedings, VALA Inc., pp 331-343.
  35. Chrisfield, T., R. Cosgrove, and J. Stinson 2000 Building scholarly online multimedia collections and services. The Electronic Library 18:328-335.
  36. Cosgrove, R. 1999 Forty-Two Degrees South. The Archaeology of Late Pleistocene Tasmania. Journal of World Prehistory. Vol 13 (4): 357-402.
  37. Holdaway, S. and R. Cosgrove 1997 The Archaeological Attributes of Behaviour: difference or variability. Endeavour Vol. 21 (2): 66-71. 
  38. Cosgrove, R. 1996 Past Human Use of Rainforests: an Australasian perspective. Antiquity 70: 900-912.

Older publications

Book Chapters

Cosgrove, Richard, Anne Pike‐Tay and Wil Roebroeks, 2014. Tasmanian archaeology and reflections on modern human behaviour. In Southern Asia, Australia, and the Search for Human Origins, edited by Robin Dennell and Martin Porr. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Pages 267-286. Cosgrove, R. 2013 Perspectives on Global Comparative hunter- gatherer Archaeology. In D. Frankel, J. Webb and S. Lawrence (eds) Intersections and Transformations: Archaeological Studies in Environment and Technology. Routledge, Oxford, UK, pages 13-40. Patrick T. Moss, Richard Cosgrove, Simon G. Haberle and Asa Ferrier 2012 Holocene Landscape Change in the sclerophyll woodlands of the Wet Tropics of north‐eastern Australia. In S. Haberle and B. David (eds) Peopled Landscapes: Archaeological and Biogeographic Approaches to Landscapes. Terra Australis 34. ANU Press, pp 329-341. Ferrier, Asa and Richard Cosgrove, 2012. Aboriginal exploitation of toxic nuts as a late-Holocene subsistence strategy in Australia’s tropical rainforests. In S. Haberle and B. David (eds) Peopled Landscapes: Archaeological and Biogeographic Approaches to Landscapes. Terra Australis 34. ANU Press, pp 104-120. Field, J., R. Cosgrove, R. Fullagar & B. Lance, 2009. Starch residues on grinding stones in private collections: a study of morahs from the tropical rainforests of NE Queensland. In Sue Nugent, Luke Kirkwood, Alison Crowther and Michael Haslam (eds), Archaeological Science under a Microscope: Studies in residue and ancient DNA analysis in honour of Tom Loy. Terra Australis 30, pp 218‐228. Wang, S., R. Cosgrove, H. Lu, C. Shen, W. Ming and X. Zhang, 2008. New Progress on Palaeolithic Studies in the Luonan Basin, Eastern Qinling Mountains, China. In K. Matsufuji (ed), Loess-Paleosol and Paleolithic Chronology in East Asia, pp 145‐161. Cosgrove, R., 2006. The archaeology of global expansion 300,000‐8,000 years ago: the archaeology of late Pleistocene Australia and the Pacific. In S.L. Elias (ed) Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Sciences, Elsevier, United Kingdom, pp 118‐129. Pike‐Tay, A. and R. Cosgrove, 2006. ‘Mousterians of the Antipodes? ’Exploring ‘modern human behaviour’ in Late Pleistocene Tasmania. Zona Arqueologica: Papers in honour of Vicky Cabrera, Volume 1. Museo Arqueologica Regional, Mexico, pp 336‐346. Cosgrove, R. and J. Allen 2001 Prey choice and Hunting Strategies in the Late Pleistocene: Evidence from Southwest Tasmania. In A. Anderson, S. O’Connor and I. Lilley (eds) Histories of Old Ages: essays in honour of Rhys Jones. Coombs Academic Publishing, Australian National University, Canberra, pp 397-429.  Cosgrove, R. 2000 Lithic Raw Material Distribution in Tasmania. In A. Anderson and T. Murray (eds) Australian Archaeologist: Collected Papers in Honour of Jim Allen, Coombs Academic Publishing, Australian National University, Canberra. Cosgrove, R. 1997 The Tasmanian Aborigines through the Ice Age. In E. Webb (ed) Windows on Meteorology: Australian Perspective. CSIRO, Melbourne, pp 46-58. Allen, J. and R. Cosgrove 1996 Fieldwork Methods and Techniques of Analysis. In J. Allen (ed) Report of the Southern Forests Archaeological Project, Vol. 1 Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. Cosgrove, R. and J. Allen 1996 Research Aims and Theorectical Perspectives. In J. Allen (ed) Report of the Southern Forests Archaeological Project, Vol. 1 Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. Allen, J. and R. Cosgrove 1996 Introduction. In J. Allen (ed) Report of the Southern Forests Archaeological Project, Vol. 1 Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. Cosgrove, R. 1996 ORS 7: Stratigraphy and Chronology. In J. Allen (ed) Report of the Southern Forests Archaeological Project, Vol. 1 Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.. Cosgrove, R. 1996 Nunamira Cave: Stratigraphy and Chronology. In J. Allen (ed) Report of the Southern Forests Archaeological Project, Vol. 1 Department of Archaeology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. Cosgrove, R. 1993 Hunters on the Edge of the Tasmanian Ice. In Goran Burenhult (ed) The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Humankind. The First Humans. Volume 1 American Museum of Natural History. Weldon Owen, Sydney, pp 166-167. McNiven, I., B. Marshall, J. Allen, N. Stern. and R. Cosgrove 1993 Overview of the Southern Forests Project. In M. Smith, M. Spriggs and B. Frankhuser (eds) Sahul in Review, pp 213-224.

Research projects

ARC Projects and other Awards

  1. 2017: Research Focus Area, Transforming Human Societies Grant: “The Best Tucker in the World”: Indigenous Subsistence Practices in the Kimberley, Western Australia. Chief investigators: Associate Professor Richard Cosgrove, LTU and Dr Judith Field, UNSW. $21,000.

  2. 2016-2017: Kimberley Foundation Australia: Past Indigenous Subsistence Practices in the Kimberley: a comparative approach. Chief investigators: Associate Professor Richard Cosgrove, Dr Judith Field and Dr Jillian Garvey. $20,000.

  3. 2015-2018: ARC Discovery Grant DP 150100586. Well beaten tracks: antiquity of Aboriginal landuse in eastern Tasmania. With Dr Jillian Garvey and Associate Professor John Webb, La Trobe University. $356,322.
  4. 2012‐2014: ARC Discovery Grant, DP120100580, Forty‐two degrees of latitude: comparative archaeologies of southwest Tasmania and southwest France during the last Ice Age. Collaborators: Dr Colin Smith (LTU), Professor Wil Roebroeks (Leiden University), Professor Anne Pike-Tay (Vassar College, New York), Professor Jean-Michel Geneste, (University of Bordeaux 1). $232,500.
  5. 2009‐2012: ARC Discovery Grant, DP0986579, Light islands in a sea of dark rainforest: Human influence on fire, climate and biodiversity in the Australian tropics. Collaborators: Dr Simon Haberle (ANU), Dr Patrick Moss (U of Q), Professor James O’Connell (Utah University), Dr Asa Ferrier (LTU). $443,685.
  6. 2006‐2008: ARC Discovery Grant DP0665250, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic human behaviour in China. Collaborators: Professor Huayu Lu (Nanjing University), Dr Chen Shen (Toronto Museum), Professor Shejiang Wang (Institute of Archaeology, Beijing). $375,000.
  7. 2002‐2005: ARC Discovery Grant DP0210363, Toxic Harvest: The antiquity of rainforest Aboriginal occupation and toxic plant use in long‐term subsistence patterns. Collaborators: Dr Judith Field (Sydney University). $280,000.