Dating the hobbit

When Australian and Indonesian scientists revealed their “Hobbit” discovery in 2004, it created a sensation. Homo floresiensis was a previously undiscovered branch of the human family tree, raising images of a lost world of “little people” living on a remote island in eastern Indonesia.

What really excited scientists about the discovery of the one-metre tall adult skeleton in a cave on Flores was the realisation this species had co-existed with Homo sapiens until just 12,000 years ago.

University of Wollongong (UOW) geochronologist Professor Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts with colleagues Dr. Chris Turney and Dr. Kira Westaway used a variety of techniques, including radiocarbon, thermoluminescence, uranium-series and electron spin resonance, to date the “Hobbits”.

UOW has world-class dating facilities at the GeoQuEST Research Centre. Its experts work with UOW’s “Hobbit” discoverer Professor Mike Morwood and other scientists around the world gathering important information on topics ranging from human evolution to climate change.

For more information: University of Wollongong,

Prof. Richard Roberts, Tel: +61 2 42215490,