Professor Ian Lilley


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit
+61 7 336 57051


Professor Ian Lilley (BA Hons, MA Qld, PhD ANU) is an academic leader whose teaching, research and applied interests focus on archaeology and cultural heritage in Australasia, the Indo-Pacific and globally.

Ian is an archaeologist and Professor in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS). He also has a continuing visiting appointment as Willem Willems Chair in Contemporary Issues in Archaeological Heritage Management at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His Honours and Masters research examined the archaeology of Southeast Queensland. Following ground-breaking work in PNG with the Australian Museum, Ian then did his PhD on ancient maritime trading systems which linked the New Guinea mainland and nearby Bismarck Archipelago. He built on that project with a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship, for which he won National Geographic funding to return to New Guinea. He has since undertaken archaeological and cultural heritage research, consultancies and advisory missions throughout Australia, in Asia and the Pacific Islands and in North and South America. Ian's current heritage research focuses on global issues regarding World Heritage, the World Bank and transnational corporations in the extractive industries sector, particularly in relation to Indigenous people. Archaeologically he is working with French colleagues on long-term developments in New Caledonia. He also manages other projects concerning Indigenous heritage and issues in higher education of concern to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Ian is Vice President and International Secretary of the Australian Academy of Humanities, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. He is also a member of Australia ICOMOS, an ICOMOS World Heritage Assessor and Secretary-General of the ICOMOS International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management. In addition, he is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (member, WCPA Protected Landscapes Specialist Group) and the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (member, Theme on Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas). ICOMOS and IUCN are the statutory Advisory Bodies to UNESCO on cultural and natural heritage respectively. Ian is one of the few people globally who is a member of both bodies. In addition, he is Secretary-General of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, the region's peak professional archaeological body, immediate past Chair of the International Government Affairs Committee of the Society for American Archaeology and Convenor of the International Heritage Group, which he founded while a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Oxford in 2011. Ian's other professional interests are archaeology and social identity, archaeological ethics, and the role of archaeology in contemporary society.

In addition to his research and engagement with industry, Ian is Director of the ATSIS Unit's teaching program and is Convenor of the ATSIS major in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). He teaches undergraduate courses in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and in the Faculty of Science School of Earth and Environmental Studies. He is also Convenor of the Masters in Heritage Studies in the HASS School of Social Science and coordinates a course on World Heritage in that degree. He supervises PhD and MPhil research projects in many different schools across the university. In addition he provides academic and pastoral support for Indigenous students. Ian is also the HASS Indigenous Focal Point, in which role he coordinates the integration of Indigenous perspectives in HASS teaching, research and internal and external engagement. He sits on the HASS Faculty Teaching and Learning and Research committees as well as the HASS Faculty Board and the HASS Faculty Board of Studies and the Board of Studies for UQ's BA. He also serves on UQ's Library Committee and is awaiting finalisation of an appointment to one of the university's new central research ethics committees following many years on the Behavioural and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

Research Impacts

Ian's mission is to help create a global paradigm shift that integrates Indigenous perspectives with science and ethics in the study and protection of humanity's heritage. He pursues this goal in Australia and globally through his strong engagement with industry as well as his scholarly research. He focuses on heritage-related philosophies, policies and practices in three overlapping spheres: World Heritage, multilateral development banks and the transnational extractive industries sector. He is also becoming increasing involved with work combatting looting and illegal trade in antiquities and other cultural property. All of Ian's work aims to inject Indigenous concerns and approaches into the centre of ‘mainstream’ agendas at all levels, from the UN down and from the grassroots up. The objective is to promote fundamental structural change to the benefit of Indigenous communities, archaeologists and heritage practitioners across Australia and around the world. In recent years, this work has seen Ian publish widely on these matters as well as play central roles in:

· the development of Rio Tinto’s global corporate guidance on “why cultural heritage matters”, now an international industry standard,

· efforts to strengthen cooperation and coordination between ICOMOS and IUCN, the two statutory Advisory Bodies to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and

· building professional relationships with the World Bank and other multilateral development lenders to improve their approaches to heritage protection and management.


  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons), The University of Queensland
  • Master of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • PhD, Australian National University


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

  • Lilley, Ian (2015). 'This is not Australia!'. In Monique H. van den Dries, Sjoerd J. van der Linde and Amy Strecker (Ed.), Fernweh: crossing borders and connecting people in archaeological heritage management (pp. 83-86) Leiden, The Netherlands: Sidestone Press.

  • Allen, Jim and Lilley, Ian (2015). Australia and New Guinea, Archaeology of. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition (pp. 229-233) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier . doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.13014-4

  • Feary, Sue, Brown, Steve, Marshall, Duncan, Lilley, Ian, McKinnon, Robert, Verschuuren, Bas and Wild, Robert (2015). Earth's cultural history. In Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford (Ed.), Protected area governance and management (pp. 81-116) Canberra, ACT, Australia: ANU Press.

  • Lafrenz Samuels, Kathryn and Lilley, Ian (2015). Transnationalism and heritage development. In Lynn Meskell (Ed.), Global heritage: a reader (pp. 217-239) Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell.

  • Lilley, Ian (2014). Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA). In Claire Smith (Ed.), Encyclopedia of global archaeology (pp. 3846-3847) New York, USA: Springer.

  • Lilley, Ian (2013). Nature and culture in World Heritage management: a view from the Asia-Pacific (or, never waste a good crisis!). In Sally Brockwell, Sue O’Connor and Denis Byrne (Ed.), Transcending the Culture-Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage: Views from the Asia-Pacific Region (pp. 13-22) Canberra, Australia: ANU E Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). New Guinea. In Neil Asher Silberman (Ed.), The Oxford Companion To Archaeology 2nd ed. (pp. xx-xx) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). Oceania, archaeological practice in. In Neil Asher Silberman (Ed.), The Oxford Companion To Archaeology 2nd ed. (pp. xx-xx) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). Professional organizations. In Neil Asher Silberman (Ed.), The Oxford Companion To Archaeology 2nd ed. (pp. xx-xx) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). Questions in archaeology: one step forward, two steps back (or at least sideways off the track…)?. In Ian Donaldson and Mark Finnane (Ed.), Taking stock: the humanities in Australian life since 1968 (pp. 223-229) Perth, WA, Australia: University of Western Australia Press.

  • Lilley, Ian and Sand, Christophe (2012). Thematic frameworks for the cultural values of the Pacific.. In Anita Smith (Ed.), World heritage in a sea of islands : Pacific 2009 programme (pp. 22-27) Paris, France: UNESCO.

  • Lilley, Ian (2010). Archaeology, diaspora and decolonization. In Margaret M. Bruchac, Siobhan M. Hart and H. Martin Wobst (Ed.), Indigenous archaeologies: A reader in decolonization Reprint edition ed. (pp. 86-91) Walnet Creek, CA, U.S.A.: Left Coast Press.

  • Sand, Christophe, Lilley, Ian, Valentin, Frédérique, Bolé, Jacques, Gony, Bealo and Baret, David (2010). Tiga (Iles Loyaute): Prehistoire et ethno-archeologie d'une ile melanesienne en marge. In Frédérique Valentin, Maurice Hardy and Pierre Rouillard (Ed.), Hommes, milieux et traditions dans le Pacifique Sud (pp. 33-46) Paris, France: De Boccard.

  • Lilley, Ian (2009). Strangers and brothers? Heritage, human rights and a cosmopolitan archaeology in Oceania. In Lynn Meskell (Ed.), Cosmopolitan archaeologies (pp. 48-67) Durham: Duke University Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (2008). Archaeology, the World Bank, and postcolonial politics. In Matthew Liebmann and Uzma Z. Rizvi (Ed.), Archaeology and the postcolonial critique (pp. 141-164) Lanham, USA: AltaMira Press.

  • Carter, Melissa and Lilley, Ian (2008). Between the Australian and Melanesian realms: The archaeology of the Murray Islands and consideration of a settlement model for Torres Strait. In James Conolly and Matthew Campbell (Ed.), Comparative island archaeologies (pp. 69-84) Oxford, U.K.: Archaeopress.

  • Lilley, Ian A. (2008). Flights of fancy: Fractal geometry, the Lapita dispersal and punctuated colonisation in the Pacific. In Clark, G, Leach, F and O'Connor, S (Ed.), Islands of Inquiry: Colonisation, Seafaring and the Archaeology of Maritime Landscapes 1st ed. (pp. 75-86) Canberra: ANU E Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (2008). Migrations: Pacific. In Deborah M. Pearsall (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Archaeology (pp. 1632-1643) San Diego, Calif.: Elsevier Inc.. doi:10.1016/B978-012373962-9.00193-X

  • Sheehan, Norm and Lilley, Ian (2008). Things are not always what they seem: Indigenous knowledge and pattern recognition in archaeological analysis. In Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and T. J. Ferguson (Ed.), Collaboration in archaeological practice: Engaging descendant communities (pp. 87-115) Lanham, U.S.A.: AltaMira Press.

  • Ulm, Sean and Lilley, Ian (2007). Sean Ulm's and Ian Lilley's guide to doing archaeology in Queensland. In Claire Smith and Heather Burke (Ed.), Digging it up down under: A practical guide to doing archaeology in Australia (pp. 141-143) New York, U.S.: Springer.

  • Lilley, Ian (2006). Archaeology in Oceania: Themes and Issues. In Ian Lilley (Ed.), Archaeology of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands (pp. 1-28) Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. doi:10.1002/9780470773475.ch1

  • Lilley, I. A. (2006). It's Life, Jim, but Not as We Know It. In J. Schultz (Ed.), Hot Air: How Nigh's the End? 12 ed. (pp. 213-224) Sydney: ABC Books and Griffith University.

  • Lilley, Ian A. and Williams, Michael J. (2005). Archaeological and Indigenous significance: A view from Australia. In Clay Mathers, Timothy Darvill and Barbara J. Little (Ed.), Heritage of Value, Archaeology of Renown: Reshaping Archaeological Assessment and Significance (pp. 227-247) Gainsville, FL, USA: University Press of Florida.

  • Lilley, Ian (2005). Archaeology and the politics of change in a decolonizing Australia. In J. Lydon and T. Ireland (Ed.), Object lessons: Archaeology and heritage in Australia (pp. 89-106) Melbourne, Australia: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

  • Ulm, Sean, Cotter, Stephen, Cotter, Maria, Lilley, Ian, Clarkson, Chris and Reid, Jill (2005). Edge-ground hatchets on the Southern Curtis Coast, Central Queensland: A preliminary Assessment of Technology, Chronology and Provenance. In Ingereth Macfarlane, Mary-Jane Mountain and Robert Paton (Ed.), Many Exchanges: Archaeology, History, Community and the Work of Isabel McBryde (pp. 323-342) Canberra: Aboriginal History Inc..

  • Lilley, I. A. (2004). Archaeology in Melanesia. In Murray and T. (Ed.), Archaeology from Australia (pp. 71-84) Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

  • Lilley, I. A. (2004). Diaspora and identity in archaeology: Moving beyond the Black Atlantic. In L Meskell and R. W. Preucel (Ed.), A Companion to Social Archaeology (pp. 287-312) Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. doi:10.1002/9780470693605.ch13

  • Lilley, I. A. (2002). Lapita and type Y pottery in the KLK site, Siassi, Papua New Guinea. In S. Bedford, C. Sand and D. Burley (Ed.), Fifty years in the field: Essays in honour and celebration of Richard Shutler Jr's archaeological career (pp. 79-90) Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Archaeological Association.

  • Anderson, A., Bedford, S., Clark, G., Lilley, I., Sand, C., Summerhayes, G. and Torrence, R. (2001). An inventory of Lapita sites containing dentate-stamped pottery. In G.R. Clark, A.J. Anderson and T. Vunidilo (Ed.), The Archaeology of Lapita Dispersal in Oceania: Papers from the Fourth Lapita Conference, June 2000, Canberra, Australia (pp. 1-13) Canberra: Pandanus Books, Australian National University.

  • Lilley, I. (2001). Of cowboys and core-tools: Revisionist reflections on Rhys Jones and 'The Great Intensification Debate'. In A. Anderson, I. Lilley and S. O'Connor (Ed.), Histories of Old Ages: Essays in Honour of Rhys Jones (pp. 79-88) Canberra: Pandanus Books, Australian National University.

  • Lilley, I. A. (2000). Jim Allen and the archaeology of coastal Papua New Guinea. In Atholl Anderson and Tim Murray (Ed.), Australian archaeologist: Collected papers in hounour of Jim Allen (pp. 249-267) Canberra: Coombs Academic Publishing, ANU.

  • Lilley, I. A. (2000). Migration and ethnicity in the evolution of Lapita and post-Lapita maritime societies in northwest Melanesia. In S. O'Connor and P. Veth (Ed.), East of Wallace's line: Studies of past and present maritime cultures of the Indo-Pacific region (pp. 177-197) Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.

  • Lilley, I. A. (2000). Native Title and the transformation of archaeology in the postcolonial world. In Ian Lilley (Ed.), Native Title and the Transformation of Archaeology in the Postcolonial World (pp. 1-9) Sydney: Oceania Publications, University of Sydney.

  • Lilley, I. A. (2000). Professional attitudes to indigenous interests in the Native Title era: Settler societies compared. In Ian Lilley (Ed.), Native title and the transformation of archaeology in the postcolonial world (pp. 99-119) Sydney: Oceania Publications, University of Sydney.

  • Lilley, I. A. (1999). Lapita as politics. In J-C. Galipaud and I. Lilley (Ed.), Le Pacifique de 5000 a2000 avant le present: Supplements al'histoire d'une colonisation (pp. 21-29) Paris: Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement.

  • Brian, Deborah, Lilley, Ian and Ulm, Sean (1999). The use of foraminifera in the identification and analysis of marine shell middens: A view from Australia. In Taphonomy: The Analysis of Processes from Phytoliths to Megafauna (pp. 9-16) Canberra: Archaeology and Natural History Publications, Australian National University.

  • Lilley, I. (1998). East of Irian: Archaeology in Papua New Guinea. In Gert-Jan Bartstra (Ed.), Bird's Head approaches : Irian Jaya studies, a programme for interdisciplinary research (pp. 135-156) Rotterdam, Netherlands: Brookfield, VT : Balkema.

  • Lilley, I. (1992). The past: the evidence of archaeology. In Robert D. Attenborough and Michael P. Alpers (Ed.), Human biology in Papua New Guinea : the small cosmos (pp. 150-171) Oxford ; New York: Clarendon Press.

  • Lilley, I. (1991). Lapita sites in the Duke of York Islands. In Jim Allen and Chris Gosden (Ed.), The Report of the Lapita Homeland Project (pp. 164-169) Canberra, ACT Australia: Dept. of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). Nature and culture in World Heritage management: a view from the Asia-Pacific. In: Alicia Castillo, Actas del Primer Congreso Internacional de Buenas Prácticas en Patrimonio Mundial: Arqueología. 1st International Conference on Best Practices in World Heritage: Archaeology, Menorca, Spain, (). 9-13 April 2012.

  • Ulm, S., Evans, N., Memmott, P., Rosendahl, D., Robins, R., Lilley, I. and Stock, E. (2008). Exploring Isolation and Change in Island Environments: Preliminary results from the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. In: World Archaeological Conference. 6th World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6), Dublin, Ireland, (246-246). 29 June - 4 July 2008.

  • Ulm, S., Evans, N., Memmott, P., Rosendahl, D., Robins, R., Lilley, I. and Stock, E. (2008). Exploring Isolation and Change in Island Environments: Preliminary results from the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. In: Working Papers in Archaeology Seminar Series, St Lucia, Australia, (). 8 August, 2008.

  • Ulm, Sean, Evans, Nicholas, Memmott, Paul, Rosendahl, Daniel, Robins, Richard, Lilley, Ian and Stock, Errol (2008). Palaeoenvironmental and Cultural Change across the Wellesley Archipelago: Preliminary results from the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria. In: Geraldine Mate, Karen Murphy and Natalie Franklin, Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference: Programme and Abstracts. Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference, Noosa, Queensland, (65-65). 3-6 December 2008.

  • Memmott, Paul, Lilley, Ian and Dalley, Cameo (2006). Connection to Place, Migration and the Transformation of Tradition in the Wellesley Islands. In: N. AlSayyad, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: "Hypertraditions" The Tenth Conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments. "Hypertraditions" The Tenth Conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Bangkok, Thailand, (28-28). 15 -18 December 2006.

  • Rosendahl, Daniel, Memmott, P., Ulm, S., Lilley, Ian, Robins, Richard, Stock, Errol, Dalley, Cameo and Hain, Emma (2006). Understanding Isolation and Change in Island Environments: A Perspective from the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria. In: Abstracts: Australian Archaeological Association Conference 2006. Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference, Beechworth, Vic., Australia, (). 7-10 December, 2006.

  • Ulm, Sean, Westcott, Catherine, Reid, Jill, Ross, Anne, Lilley, Ian, Prangnell, Jonathan and Kirkwood, Luke (2002). Preface: Barriers, Borders, Boundaries. In: S. Ulm, C. Westcott, J. Reid, A. Ross, I. Lilley, J. Prangnell and L. Kirkwood, Tempus: Barriers, Borders, Boundaries: Proceedings of the 2001 Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference. 2001 Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference, Hervey Bay, QLD, (vii-viii). 6-8 December 2001.

  • Ulm, S. and Lilley, I. (1999). The Gooreng Gooreng Cultural Heritage Project and repatriation of the Burnett River Engravings. In: Proceedings of WAC4 - World Archaeological Congress. WAC4 - World Archaeological Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, (iii-iv). 10-14 January 1999.

  • Lilley, I. and Hall, J. (1996). Introduction: recent Queensland research. In: S. Ulm, I. Lilley and A. Ross, Australian archaeology '95 : proceedings of the 1995 Australian Archaeological Association Annual Conference. The 17th Australian Archaeological Association Conference, Gatton Campus, Australia, (191-192). 6-9 December, 1995.

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Joint Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision