Researcher biography

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. He built on that project 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 also supervises PhD and MPhil research projects in many different schools across UQ as well as others at Leiden.

Ian is a Fellow and immediate past 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, 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 immediate 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 is 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 and continuing Advisor to 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.