Professor Atholl Anderson (Commonwealth Scholar, PhD in Archaeology, University of Cambridge, 1973), together with colleagues from the Australian National University, has carried out field research in the Seychelles looking at the early history of the islands.

The team met with representatives from the Environment Department, National Museums, National Heritage and Monuments Board. The research aims to find evidence that, long before the arrival of Europeans on its shores, the Seychelles islands were inhabited or visited by other groups of people.

The project is looking for evidence of the distribution patterns and sequences of early human colonisation, investigating the involvement of remote islands in trans-oceanic movement and exploring the human settlement of these islands within regional and global frameworks of maritime mobility.

Issues of both global and local significance are set to be addressed, including:

  • why the prehistory of the Seychelles and other remote Indian Ocean islands is different from that of Pacific and Atlantic islands
  • if there was direct and significant trans-oceanic contact between South-East Asia and East Africa
  • what human impact there was on Indian Ocean islands and how well it can be distinguished from the effects of natural environmental change

Among the sites chosen for their work are the Port Launay coastal wetlands and Mare Aux Cochons on Mahé, and others on Praslin and Curieuse islands.