Personal profile

Research Biography

Emeritus Professor Pate was appointed foundation lecturer in Archaeology at Flinders University in 1990 following a two year post-doctoral research program in Archaeological Chemistry at Harvard University and the Australian National University. He currently has Full Academic Status at Level E.

Pate played a critical role in the establishment and ongoing development of the Archaeology teaching and research programs at Flinders University.

He has over 200 publications, including papers in 37 different journals internationally. He has provided expert assessment of research grant and fellowship applications for numerous global institutions.

His initial field training was in the North American Southwest and Great Basin. He has also conducted fieldwork and research in California, Chile, Antigua, Australia, the Pacific, and Italy. Research for Pate's MA, PhD, and post-doctoral studies were all completed in South Australia in association with the South Australian Museum, University of Adelaide, and CSIRO Land and Water.

He established stable isotope analyses of archaeological bones and teeth as new teaching and research areas in Australia. Today these areas are represented as major sub-disciplines of archaeological chemistry globally and in many universities throughout Australia and the surrounding regions. Pate's focus on Bio-Archaeology also includes the areas of human evolution, physical anthropology, human osteology, and forensic anthropology.

He is a tribal member and citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (North America).

The letter from the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor indicates that the prestigious title of Emeritus Professor was awarded in recognition of distinguished service to Flinders University and the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Research Interests

Major Research Areas:
Archaeological Chemistry
Environmental Chemistry
Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry
Anthropological Archaeology
Human Ecology
Arid-land Ecosystems
Social Complexity
Australia, North America

Major Research Roles:

Editorial Board, Acta Palaeomedica: International Journal of Palaeomedicine (2021-present)

Team Leader, Adelaide Hills Face Zone-Glenthorne National Park- Ityamaiitpinna Yarta Archaeological Heritage Research Group (2019-present), with Dr Pamela Smith

Team Leader, Environment and Society Research Group, Archaeology, Flinders University (2016-2020), with Dr Mick Morrison and Dr Ian Moffat

Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Archaeology (2012-2016)

Coordinator, Archaeological Science Research Group, Flinders University-South Australian Museum (2010-2022)

Editor-in-Chief, Australian Archaeology (2000-2005)

Editor, Australian Archaeology (1999)

Team Leader, St Mary's Anglican Church Bioarchaeology Research Group (1999-present), with Professor Maciej Henneberg

Member, Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide (1999-present)

Coordinator, Stable Isotope Archaeological Research Group, Flinders University (1990-2022)

Expert assessment of Research Grant and Fellowship applications (1994-present) for:
Australian Research Council
Austrian Science Fund
British Academy
National Science Foundation (USA)
Natural Environment Research Council (UK)
Royal Society of New Zealand
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada)
Wellcome Trust (UK)

Provided Referee Services for 29 different journals since 1986

Research Associate, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide (1985-present)

Research Associate, Archaeology, South Australian Museum (1985-present)

Chief Investigator, The Adelaide Hills Face Zone Cultural Heritage Research Group (2002-2008)

Chief Investigator, Naracoorte World Heritage Research Group (1995-2006)

Research Grants:

Obtained over $4.5 million of funding from:

Australian Institute of Nucelar Science and Engineering (8 grants)

Australian Research Council (7 grants)

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (3 grants)

Department of Environment and Water (DEW), South Australia (3 grants)

National Parks and Wildlife Service, South Australia (2 grants)

DEETYA Work for the Dole Programme (1 grant)

Department of Environment and Natural Resources National Estate Grant Program (1 grant)

Department of Environment, Sport and Tourism, South Australia (1 grant)

Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand (1 grant)

Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society (1 grant)

Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (1 grant)

Publication Overview:

2 books, 10 edited books
17 chapters in books
96 articles in 37 journals and 3 newsletters
12 commissioned reports, 14 research reports
4 films/videos, 2 GIS data bases, 46 research abstracts

Higher Degree Supervision:

Completed Theses Supervised
PhD: 26
MA: 7
MSc: 1
Master of Archaeology 7

Honours: 35
Grad Diploma:18

Supervised Students Successes

  • 2023 Elena Varotto - Co-Director, Forensic Anthropology, Palaeopathology, and Bioarchaeology (FAPAB), Research Center, Avola, Sicily
  • 2022 Francesco Galassi - Co-Director, Forensic Anthropology, Palaeopathology, and Bioarchaeology (FAPAB), Research Center, Avola, Sicily
  • 2020 Pamela A. Smith - Senior heritage manager associated with establishment and ongoing development of Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta, Adelaide, South Australia 
  • 2018 Michael Habicht - International expert, Egyptian Bioarchaeology, FAPAB Research Center, Avola, Sicily
  • 2010 Timothy D. Owen - Principal, GML Heritage, Sydney, NSW
  • 2005 Timothy J. Anson - Member, Iraq Mass Graves Team, U.S. Department of Justice, Regime Crimes Liaison Office
  • 2004 Nathan Richards - Society for Historical Archaeology Best PhD Dissertation Prize
  • 2004 Heather Builth - ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2002 Pamela A. Smith - ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2002 Susan Piddock - ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship 
  • 2002 Soren Blau - ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2000 Timothy D. Owen - Northcote Graduate Scholarship, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, University of London

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Archaeology (12)
  • Biological Anthropology (1)
Associate Supervisions:
  • Archaeology (10)
  • Palaeontology (1)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Brown University

Award Date: 28 May 1989

Master of Arts, Brown University

Award Date: 27 May 1984

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), San Diego State University

Award Date: 23 May 1982

Bachelor of Science (Honours), San Diego State University

Award Date: 23 May 1982

External positions

Research Fellow, Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta, Department of Environment and Water

28 May 2020 → …

Research Fellow, Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Group, University of Adelaide

1 Jan 1999 → …

AIATSIS Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Australian National University

1 Jan 199031 Dec 1990

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University

1 Jul 198830 Jun 1990

Research Fellow, South Australian Museum

1 Jan 1985 → …

Research Areas

  • Archaeology
  • Molecular biosciences
  • Chemistry
  • Forensic science
  • Public health
  • Environmental health
  • Ecology and conservation

Supervisory Interests

  • Archaeological chemistry
  • Anthropological archaeology
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Stable isotope biogeochemistry
  • Bio-archaeology
  • Forensic archaeology


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