Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Ian Lilley

Professor/Guest Staff Member

Prof.dr. I.A. Lilley
+31 71 527 6065

Professor Ian Lilley’s research and applied interests focus on archaeology and cultural heritage in Australasia, the Indo-Pacific and globally. Proffesor Lilley holds the Willem Willems Chair for Current Issues in Archaeological Heritage Management.

Ian Lilley (BA Hons, MA Qld, PhD ANU) is an archaeologist and Professor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (ATSIS). Following groundbreaking work in PNG with the Australian Museum, Ian did his PhD on ancient maritime trading systems which linked the New Guinea mainland and nearby Bismarck Archipelago. He followed that up with a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowhip during 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 a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and 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 who are members of both bodies. In addition, he is Secretary-General of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, the region's peak professional archaeological body, 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.

Ian leads the ATSIS Unit's teaching, research and publication programs. He co-ordinates all undergraduate courses in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and supervises postgraduate students from many different schools in the university. He also undertakes Indigenous student support.

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 applied practice 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. 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 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.

Professor/Guest Staff Member

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • Archaeological Heritage
  • Heritage of Indigenous Peoples

Work address

Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number B2.20



  • Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Oversight of Regional Professional Assosication Business
  • International Committee for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) World Heritage
  • Society for American Archaeology International Government Affairs
  • University of Queensland Oversight of continuing research projects and PhD co-supervision

This website uses cookies. More information