Emeritus Professor Ian Lilley

Emeritus Professor

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 53236


Emeritus Professor Ian Lilley FSA FAHA (BA Hons, MA Qld, PhD ANU) is an internationally-renowned discipline leader whose interests focus on archaeology and heritage across Australasia, the Indo-Pacific and globally.

Ian is an archaeologist and heritage practitioner in the UQ School of Social Science, to where he moved in retirement in 2019 after 25 years leading the academic program in UQ's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit (ATSIS). From 2015, he was also the invited inaugural Willem Willems Chair for Contemporary Issues in Archaeological Heritage Management at Leiden University in the Netherlands, from which he retired at the end of 2022. Leiden is continental Europe's leading university in archaeology and among the global Top 10 in the discipline. Ian remains an Advisor to the Centre for Global Heritage and Development (Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam), based in Leiden's Faculty of Archaeology. In Australia, he is an Honorary Professor at the University of Southern Queensland, where he provides strategic advice to help build research capacity in the Centre for Heritage and Culture within the Institute for Resilient Regions.

Ian's pioneering Honours and Masters research examined the precolonial archaeology of Southeast Queensland. Following ground-breaking work in Papua New Guinea with the Australian Museum, Ian then did his PhD on ancient maritime trading systems which linked the New Guinea mainland and nearby Bismarck Archipelago. During his PhD, he took time out to lead a team in PNG's Duke of York Islands as a part of the international ANU-National Geographic Lapita Homeland Project. He then built on his PhD with a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship, for which he independently won National Geographic funding to return to PNG. 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, particularly in relation to Indigenous people and other traditional/ descendent communities. He is also an accredited Subject Matter Expert with the US Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). In this capacity, he provides strategic advice to the US Defense Department regarding the recovery of missing US service members from WWII to the present and oversees field missions to locate missing personnel. In that broad connection, he has recently completed a project with Dutch partners including the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and funded by the Netherlands Embassy, concerning the WWII headquarters of the Netherlands East Indies government in exile, which were located at Wacol just outside Brisbane. Ian has also supervised over 20 PhD and MPhil research projects in many different schools across UQ as well as others at Leiden.

Ian is a Fellow and past International Secretary and Vice President 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, a Federal statutory body. At UQ, Ian is a Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Policy Futures in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and an emeritus member of the UQ Centre for Marine Science. Externally, Ian is a member of Australia ICOMOS, an ICOMOS World Heritage Assessor and past Secretary-General of the ICOMOS International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM). In these connections, he sits on the Conservation Advisory Committee for the Port Arthur World Heritage site complex and previously sat on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Willandra Lakes World Heritage region. In addition, he is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy. In these capacities, he undertakes IUCN assessments of World Heritage cultural landscapes. He was also a member of the Advisory Group for a major IUCN-coordinated multi-agency project to reshape the assessment of protected area management effectiveness to include cultural as well as natural factors. ICOMOS and IUCN are the statutory independent Advisory Bodies to UNESCO on cultural and natural heritage respectively, and Ian is one of the few people globally who is a member of both world bodies. He is also immediate past Secretary-General of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, the region's peak professional archaeological body, past Chair of the International Government Affairs Committee of the Society for American Archaeology, the world's largest professional archaeological body, and served three consecutive terms as President of the Australian Archaeological Association. Ian's other professional interests are archaeology and social identity, archaeological ethics, and the role of archaeology and archaeological heritage in contemporary society.

Research Impacts

Ian's professional mission is to spearhead a worldwide paradigm shift that integrates local community perspectives with science and ethics in the study and protection of humanity's cultural and natural heritage. He pursues this goal in Australia and globally through his strong engagement with government and industry as well as his scholarly research. All of Ian's work aims to inject community concerns and approaches into the centre of professional agendas at all levels, from the UN down and from the local grassroots up. The objective is to promote fundamental structural change to the benefit of local communities, archaeologists and heritage practitioners across Australia and around the world. This work has seen Ian publish widely on such matters as well as play central roles in efforts to strengthen cooperation and coordination between ICOMOS and IUCN, the two independent statutory Advisory Bodies to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. On the strength of this work, Ian has been invited to take up numerous international advisory positions, including a strategic advisory role with the Pentagon concerning the overall approach of the US Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to its global mission. Most recently, Ian has begun working with the Antiquities Coalition in Washington DC (https://theantiquitiescoalition.org/) to combat the illicit global trade in antiquities, developing a policy brief to help strengthen the emerging interest of the G20 in such matters (e.g. https://en.unesco.org/news/g20-agrees-first-declaration-culture).


  • Doctor of Philosophy of Archaeology, Australian National University
  • Masters (Research) of Archaeology, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Archaeology, The University of Queensland


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Book Chapter

  • Versluys, Miguel John and Lilley, Ian (2024). Rooted cosmopolitanism, heritage and the question of belonging. Rooted cosmopolitanism, heritage and the question of belonging: archaeological and anthropological perspectives. (pp. 3-14) edited by Lennart Wouter Kruijer, Miguel John Versluys and Ian Lilley. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9781003348740-2

  • Lilley, Ian (2023). Archaeology, Heritage, and the Heritage of Archaeology. Sentient Archaeologies. (pp. 191-198) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxbow Books. doi: 10.2307/jj.2373316.28

  • Hockings, Marc, Lilley, Ian, Matar, Diane A., Dudley, Nigel and Markham, Robert (2020). Integrating science and local knowledge to strengthen biosphere reserve management. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: supporting biocultural diversity, sustainability and society. (pp. 241-253) edited by Maureen G. Reed and Martin F. Price. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429428746-19

  • Lilley, Ian (2019). Lapita: the Australian connection. Debating Lapita: Distribution, Chronology, Society and Subsistence. (pp. 105-114) edited by Stuart Bedford and Matthew Spriggs. Canberra, ACT Australia: ANU Press. doi: 10.22459/TA52.2019.05

  • Lilley, Ian (2018). Subsistence middlemen traders and pre-colonial globalization in Melanesia. Globalization in prehistory: contact, exchange, and the 'People Without History'. (pp. 308-333) edited by Nicole Boivin and Michael D. Frachetti. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781108573276.014

  • Soderland, Hilary A. and Lilley, Ian A. (2018). The fusion of law and ethics in cultural heritage management: the 21st century confronts archaeology. Relevance and application of heritage in contemporary society. (pp. 160-185) edited by Pei-Lin Yu, Chen Shen and George S. Smith. New York, NY United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203702277-16

  • Lilley, Ian, Buckley, Kristal and Kajlich, Helena (2018). World heritage and human rights in Australia: from K'gari/Fraser Island to national processes. World Heritage and Human Rights: Lessons from the Asia-Pacific and Global Arena. (pp. 49-69) edited by Peter Bille Larsen. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis.

  • Lilley, Ian (2017). Globalization thinking in Australasia and Oceania. The Routledge handbook of archaeology and globalization. (pp. 279-282) edited by Tamar Hodos. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315449005

  • Lilley, Ian (2017). Melanesian maritime middlemen and pre-colonial glocalization. The Routledge handbook of archaeology and globalization. (pp. 335-353) edited by Tamar Hodos. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9781315449005

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

  • Allen, Jim and Lilley, Ian (2015). Australia and New Guinea, Archaeology of. 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. Protected area governance and management. (pp. 81-116) edited by Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford. Canberra, ACT, Australia: ANU Press.

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2014). Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA). Encyclopedia of global archaeology. (pp. 3846-3847) edited by Claire Smith. New York, USA: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1240

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). New Guinea. The Oxford Companion To Archaeology. (pp. xx-xx) edited by Neil Asher Silberman. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2012). Professional organizations. The Oxford Companion To Archaeology. (pp. xx-xx) edited by Neil Asher Silberman. 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…)?. Taking stock: the humanities in Australian life since 1968. (pp. 223-229) edited by Ian Donaldson and Mark Finnane. Perth, WA, Australia: University of Western Australia Press.

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

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2010). Context for this Thematic Study. Early Human Expansion and Innovation in the Pacific. (pp. 1-12) Paris, France: International Council on Monuments and Sites.

  • Lilley, Ian (2010). Near Oceania. Early Human Expansion and Innovation in the Pacific. (pp. 13-46) edited by Ian Lilley. Paris, France: International Council on Monuments and Sites.

  • 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. Hommes, milieux et traditions dans le Pacifique Sud. (pp. 33-46) edited by Frédérique Valentin, Maurice Hardy and Pierre Rouillard. Paris, France: De Boccard.

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2008). Archaeology, the World Bank, and postcolonial politics. Archaeology and the postcolonial critique. (pp. 141-164) edited by Matthew Liebmann and Uzma Z. Rizvi. 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. Comparative island archaeologies. (pp. 69-84) edited by James Conolly and Matthew Campbell. Oxford, U.K.: Archaeopress.

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2008). Migrations: Pacific. Encyclopedia of Archaeology. (pp. 1632-1643) edited by Deborah M. Pearsall. 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. Collaboration in archaeological practice: Engaging descendant communities. (pp. 87-115) edited by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and T. J. Ferguson. 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. Digging it up down under: A practical guide to doing archaeology in Australia. (pp. 141-143) edited by Claire Smith and Heather Burke. New York, U.S.: Springer.

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

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

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2005). Archaeology and the politics of change in a decolonizing Australia. Object lessons: Archaeology and heritage in Australia. (pp. 89-106) edited by J. Lydon and T. Ireland. 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. Many Exchanges: Archaeology, History, Community and the Work of Isabel McBryde. (pp. 323-342) edited by Ingereth Macfarlane, Mary-Jane Mountain and Robert Paton. Canberra: Aboriginal History Inc..

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

  • Lilley, I. A. (2004). Diaspora and identity in archaeology: Moving beyond the Black Atlantic. A Companion to Social Archaeology. (pp. 287-312) edited by L Meskell and R. W. Preucel. 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. Fifty years in the field: Essays in honour and celebration of Richard Shutler Jr's archaeological career. (pp. 79-90) edited by S. Bedford, C. Sand and D. Burley. 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. The Archaeology of Lapita Dispersal in Oceania: Papers from the Fourth Lapita Conference, June 2000, Canberra, Australia. (pp. 1-13) edited by G.R. Clark, A.J. Anderson and T. Vunidilo. Canberra: Pandanus Books, Australian National University.

  • Lilley, Ian (2001). Of cowboys and core-tools: Revisionist reflections on Rhys Jones and 'The Great Intensification Debate'. Histories of Old Ages: Essays in Honour of Rhys Jones. (pp. 251-256) edited by A. Anderson, I. Lilley and S. O'Connor. Canberra, ACT Australia: ANU Press.

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

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

  • Lilley, Ian (2000). Native Title and the transformation of archaeology in the postcolonial world. Native Title and the transformation of archaeology in the postcolonial world. (pp. 1-9) edited by Ian Lilley. Sydney, NSW, Australia: Oceania Publications.

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

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

  • Lilley, Ian, Brian, Deborah and Ulm, Sean (1999). The use of foraminifera in the identification and analysis of marine shell middens. Taphonomy: the analysis of processes from phytoliths to megafauna. (pp. 9-16) edited by Mary-Jane Mountain and Doreen Bowdery. Canberra, ACT, Australia: ANU Press.

  • 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. 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. Bird's Head approaches : Irian Jaya studies, a programme for interdisciplinary research. (pp. 135-156) edited by Gert-Jan Bartstra. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Brookfield, VT : Balkema.

  • Lilley, Ian (1998). East of Irian: Papua New Guinea's prehistory. Bird’s Head Approaches. (pp. 135-156) edited by G-J. Barstra. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: A. A. Balkema.

  • Lilley, Ian and Hall, Jay (1996). Introduction: recent Queensland research. Australian Archaeology 1995: Proceedings of the 17th Australian Archaeological Association Conference. (pp. 191-192) edited by S. Ulm, Ian Lilley and A. Ross. Brisbane, QLD Australia: Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Queensland.

  • Lilley, I. (1992). The past: the evidence of archaeology. Human Biology in Papua New Guinea: The Small Cosmos. (pp. 150-171) edited by Robert D. Attenborough and Michael P. Alpers. Oxford, United Kingdom: Clarendon Press.

  • Lilley, Ian (1991). Lapita sites in the Duke of York Islands. The Report of the Lapita Homeland Project. (pp. 164-169) edited by Jim Allen and Chris Gosden. Canberra, ACT Australia: Department of Prehistory, Australian National University.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision