School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Claudio TunizProfessor Claudio Tuniz 

Visiting Professorial Fellow

Phone no: +61(0)411347891

Professional profile
The Human Journey

The Great History of Human Diversity
Exhibition in Rome & Venice 2011-2012
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Present research interests 
  • Development of advanced microanalytical methods, including  portable microtomography and XRF systems, for applications in archaeology and palaeoanthropology
  • Geochronological studies  of Italian Pleistocene archaeological sites with OSL, cosmogenic dating and Uranium-series dating (using underground INFN laboratories
  • Microanalyses of homin and megafauna teeth, hominin hyoids, ‘neanderthal flute’ and stone tools.
  •  Promote advanced scientific methods in studies of human evolution
Development and applications of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating

Since 1980 Claudio Tuniz was involved in several projects on AMS radionuclide dating, in Europe, USA and Australia.

During the 1990s he lead the the establishment of the AMS centre at the Lucas Heights Research Laboratories in Sydney, supporting national research programmes in quaternary science and archaeology. Claudio presently promotes the use of AMS radiocarbon and cosmogenic dating in palaeoanthropology, in programmes sponsored by United Nations agencies.

Selected publications


  • Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B268, North Holland , 2010. Co-editor.
  • Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, C. Tuniz, J.R. Bird, D. Fink and G.F. Herzog, CRC Press, LLC, 1998.
  • Accelerator Mass Spetrometry, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B92 (1994), North Holland. Co-editor

Journals and book chapters 

  • Accelerator mass spectrometry: new trends and applications, C. Tuniz, G. Norton, Nucl. Instr. and Methods in Phys. Res.  B266 (2008) 1837.
  • AMS dating in archaeology, history and art , C. Tuniz , U. Zoppi and M. Barbetti, (2000), in Radiation in Art and Archaeometry, Ed. D.C. Creagh, D.A. Bradley, Elsevier, 444-471.
  • AMS 14C analysis of teeth from archaeological sites showing anomalous ESR dating results, R. Grun, M. Abeyratne, J. Head, C. Tuniz and R. Hedges, Quaternary Science Reviews, 16 (1997) 437- 444.
  • Dating of Rock Surface Accretions with Aboriginal paintings and engravings in North Queensland, J. Campbell, N. Cole, E. Hatte, C. Tuniz and A. Watchman, Tempus, 6 (1997) 231-239.
  • Luminescence dating of rock art and past environments using mud-wasp nests in northern Australia, R. Roberts, G. Walsh, A. Murray, J. Olley, R. Jones, M. Morwood, C. Tuniz, E. Lawson, M. Macphail, D. Bowdery and I Nauman, Nature 387(1997)696.
Development and application of microanalitical techniques based on ions, neutrons and synchrotron radiation

Advanced  scientific tools and procedures, mainly developed in physics research, can be used for the non-destructive characterisation of archaeological, environmental and palaeoanthropological  materials. These include new microscopes based on synchrotron radiation, neutron and ion beams. Claudio has been involved in synchrotron radiation work at the ELETTRA laboratories in Trieste and at the Brookhaven National Laboratories in the USA. He has used ion accelerators at the INFN National Laboratories in Italy and at ANSTO in Australia.

Book chapter

  • Characterisation of Minerals Using Ion and Photon Beam Methods, S. Török, K. Jones and C. Tuniz (1998), in Nuclear Methods in Geology, Eds. Vertes et al., Plenum Press, 217 – 249.


  • Elemental Analysis of Growth Plate Cartilage by Synchrotron radiation Induced X-Ray Emission (SRIXE), F. Vittur, C. Tuniz, S. Paoletti, R. Rizzo, and K. Jones, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 188 (1992) 1010.
  • Wavelength spread of doubly bent crystals for x-ray microfocusing applications, F. Zontone, C. Tuniz, and F. Zanini, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. B56/57 (1991) 968.
  • X-Ray Microprobe for XRF Analysis and Microscopy at Elettra. Focusing with bent crystals, R. Devoti, C. Tuniz, F. Zanini and F. Zontone, Nucl. Instr. and Meth., B54(1991)424.
  • A synchrotron Radiation Microprobe for X-Ray Fluorescence and Microtomography at ELETTRA, C. Tuniz, R. Devoti, G. Santoro and F. Zanini, Nucl. Instr. and Meth., B50(1990)338.
  • Synchrotron radiation microprobe analysis of human dental calculi from an archaeological site: a new possible perspective on palaeonutrition studies, L. Capasso, G. di Tota, K.W. Jones, and C. Tuniz, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 5(1995) 282.
Advanced scientific methods in archaeology and human evolution

Claudio Tuniz at ARKENAS Giakarta 2007The use of microtomography to determine non-destructively the internal structure of skulls and other fossil remains is revolutionising the field of palaeoanthropology and opening the possibility of studies that were not possible until recently. Microtomography is increasingly used to provide less subjective data related to the anatomical characters of human remains. The image contrast can be dramatically improved using new imaging methodologies including phase contrast radiography and microtomography. Human teeth are one of the best preserved types of evidence available for human evolution studies,  providing crucial information on development, diet and health. Microtomography can be also applied to study the hyoid bone, inner ear endocranial morphology etc. Claudio collaborates in the area of advanced scientific applications in archaeology and palaeoanthropology with several institutions including, University of Trieste, University of Caserta, University of Florence, University of Wollongong, ANSTO, Australian National University, University of Sydney, Sincrotrone Trieste, University of Chieti, University La Sapienza, Rome,  and UNESCO’s ICTP.


  • The Bone Readers. Atoms, genes and the politics of Australia’s deep past, C. Tuniz, R. Gillespie and C. Jones, Allan & Unwin, Sydney, Australia, Left Coast Press, USA, 2009 Australia: I lettori di ossa, C. Tuniz, R. Gillespie and C. Jones, Springer Italy. Choice has selected The Bone Readers as an Outstanding Academic Title in the United States.
  • Science for Cultural Heritage, M Montagnari Kokelj, M Budinich, & C Tuniz, World Scientific, 2010
  • New paths in the use of nuclear techniques for art and archaeology, World Scientific, 1986. Co-editor

Journals and book chapters 

  • Shaft-hole axes from Caput Adriae: mineralogical and chemical constraints about the provenance of serpentinitic artefacts.   F. Bernardini, A. de Min, D. Eichert, A. Alberti, G. Demarchi, A. Veluscek, C. Tuniz  and E. Montagnari Kokelj, Archaeometry, Oxford, UK, 2010
  • Synchrotron FTIR Micro-Spectroscopy applied to the study of polished serpentinite artefacts: a non destructive analytical approach, F. Bernardini , D. Eichert, Lenaz D., De Min A., Tuniz C., A. Velušček, Montagnari Kokelj E.. Archaeometry, Oxford, UK, 2010.
  • Evolution of plant-animal interaction, J. Chela-Flores, M.E. Montenegro, N. Pugliese, V. Tewari and C. Tuniz, (2009), Springer, . In: All flesh is grass: Plant-Animal Interactions, a love-hate affair. J. Seckbach and Z. Dubinsky and (eds.). Cellular Origin and Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, Springer: Dordrecht,  The Netherlands.
  • Astronomical and astrobiological imprints on the fossil records. A review. Chela-Flores, J. Jerse, G., Messerotti, M. and Tuniz, C. (2009). “From Fossils to Astrobiology”, Ed. J. Seckbach, Cellular Origins, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 389-408.
  • New optical and radiocarbon dates from Ngarrabulgan Cave, a Pleistocene archaeological site in Australia: implications for the comparability of time clocks and for the human colonisation of Australia, B. David, R. Roberts, C. Tuniz, R. Jones and J. Head, Antiquity 71 (1997) 183-188.
  • Luminescence dating of rock art and past environments using mud-wasp nests in northern Australia, R. Roberts, G. Walsh, A. Murray, J. Olley, R. Jones, M. Morwood, C. Tuniz, E. Lawson, M. Macphail, D. Bowdery and I Nauman, Nature 387(1997)696.
Research projects
  • Portable Microtomography System X-ray source, sample stage (with bone sample) and detector (from left to right).  ICTP/ELETTRA ,Trieste, Italy X-Ray Portable Systems for Non-Destructive Analysis in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology (Funded by the Italian Regional Government in cooperation with Sincrotrone Trieste, Elettra, 2010-2012).
  • ICTP and ELETTRA laboratories in Trieste are building, under Claudio’s coordination, new devices that can be used  for in-situ chemical and morphological analyses in remote archaeological sites. These portable systems, designed for multiple analyses, such as x-ray fluorescence, x-ray diffraction and microtomography, can be also used in museums, galleries and restoration institutions for precious and non-movable bones and other materials.
Abbreviated CV
  • Assistant Director,  ICTP (UNESCO), 2004 – 2010
  • Counsellor (nuclear), Australian Embassy, Vienna, 1999 - 2004
  • Director, Physics Division, Lucas Heights National Research Laboratories (ANSTO), Australia, 1996 - 1999
  • Head, Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lucas Heights National Research Laboratories (ANSTO), Australia, 1991-1996
  • Senior Principal Research Scientist, Lucas Heights National Research Laboratories (ANSTO), Australia, 1993-1996
  • Principal Research Scientist, Lucas Heights National Research Laboratories, Australia (ANSTO),  1991-1993
  • Consultant, Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy, 1988-1991
  • Researcher University of  Trieste, Italy, 1974 -1991
  • Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Rutgers University, NJ, USA, 1981-1983
  • Laurea, University of Trieste, 1974.
Last reviewed: 29 September, 2017