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Revealing the Past, Knowing the Present, and Grounding the Future.

Research Fellows

Dr Malcolm E. Anderson

BA(Hons) (ANU), PhD (Economics) (Melb), PhD (Archaeology) (Melb)

Malcolm Anderson’s areas of interest include: social science surveying; history and philosophy of science; evangelical and Reformation history; archaeology of ancient Israel; the application of new technologies to archaeology; and the history of archaeology and anthropology.


Past appointments have included: tutor in the philosophy of technology at the University of New South Wales; Research Fellow in the Melbourne Institute (MIAESR); Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), University of Melbourne; Research Fellow in the Centre for Health Economics, Monash University; and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences Research Centre, University of Hong Kong. He was also a Fellow with the School of Classics and Archaeology in the University of Melbourne. For over a decade he was also a Staff-worker with the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (AFES) working with postgraduate students on the University of Melbourne.


He holds an undergraduate honours degree in Prehistory and Anthropology from the Australian National University (1981), a PhD in economics from the University of Melbourne (1999), and a PhD in archaeology from the University of Melbourne (2014). His recent thesis was entitled Clearing the Ground: William G. Dever and the Reorientation of Palestinian Archaeology. He has participated in archaeological excavations in Hong Kong (Tung Lung Fort) and Israel (El Ahwat).


In addition to his role at the Australian Institute of Archaeology, he is currently a researcher in the Melbourne Law School (Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law) working on aspects of modern democracy and its problems in the ‘Dollars and Democracy’ research project.

Susan M. Balderstone


BArch(Hons) (Melb), MA (Conservation Studies) (York)

Susan Balderstone is a heritage consultant involved primarily in writing and research. She continues to pursue her longstanding research interests in early ecclesiastical architecture and in vernacular building construction, dating back to her work with the Jordanian Government and various academic institutions on the investigation and conservation of archaeological sites and ancient monuments in Jordan and Cyprus (1977-1984). Research interests in heritage practice relate particularly to the sustainability of heritage places and the fine balance between preservation and adaptive reuse, particularly as it relates to reconstruction and authenticity.  
Susan was an ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Advisor on World Heritage to UNESCO (2008 – 2016) and has been a member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for the Analysis and Restoration of Structures of Architectural Heritage since 1997. She was an Adjunct Professor in Cultural Heritage at Deakin University Melbourne (1996-2016), where she was involved in setting up and teaching courses in Cultural Heritage in conjunction with her position at Heritage Victoria, where she was Assistant Director until 2005. 
Previous appointments include Associate Director and Heritage Architect at the Victorian Public Works Department and its successors 1985-1999; member of the Historic Buildings Council of Victoria (1985-1995); Board member of AusHeritage, Australia’s network for cultural heritage professionals (1996-1999) and member of the Architects’ Registration Board of Victoria (2002-2004). She was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal for services to conservation in 1995 and made a Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 2001.  


Dr Ann Borda

MA (UBC), PhD (UCL), PGDip (St Andrews)

Dr Ann Borda supports the cultural imaging research and R&D partnerships at the Institute and advises on the management of its research. She is Associate Professor in the Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre, the University of Melbourne, and a certified Health Informatician (CHIA). She holds a PhD in Information Science from University College, London, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development from St Andrews University. 


Ann has experience in cultural informatics, cultural heritage imaging and emerging technology initiatives in Canada, UK and Australia. She assisted with documentation initiatives at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia and the Maritime Museum Vancouver, Canada, and collaborated with the national Canadian Heritage Information Network. She was Head of Collections Multimedia at the Science Museum in London (2000-4) and was Member and Chair of the ICOM/CIDOC Multimedia Group. She also worked for the Jisc (2004-8) with responsibility for an eScience portfolio including the Open Source Software Advisory Service in Oxford. 


Ann was Executive Director of the Victorian eResearch Strategic Initiative (VeRSI) (2008-13) – a State government funded program with partnerships across the Victorian universities, the Department of Primary Industry and the Australian Synchrotron. The Institute was among the collaborators sponsoring a 3D imaging pilot for cuneiform tablets. Ann was also CEO of VPAC Ltd (2013-15) providing advanced computing and visualisation capabilities to research organisations.

Dr Richard Collmann


Dr Richard Collmann is involved in research projects at the Institute in the fields of 2D and 3D digital imaging (including using aerial platforms), using wavelengths of infrared, visible and ultraviolet. He is also currently investigating the use of environmental-sensor-equipped urban green technology in an inner-Melbourne suburb as a potential model for future archaeological sensor-based research applications.


Richard is a Senior Fellow of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering and the Department of Physics at the University of Melbourne.  He has lectured and supervised capstone, undergraduate and graduate students in the departments of History and Philosophy of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture for the last two decades.

He has has held consultative and expertise roles in the diverse fields of scholarly publishing, start-up SMEs, and rescuing and restoring obsolete technology for display and functional use in heritage organisations.

Dr Deborah Hurn

BTh(Hons), MPhil, PhD (Avondale)

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Dr Deborah Hurn is a Bible scholar and historical geographer based in Western Australia. She studied at Vose Baptist Seminary and later completed doctoral studies at Avondale University, NSW, where she was supervised by several scholars from the USA and Israel. Her research has included field work in the southern Levant. 


Deborah's main interest is the geography and archaeology of the Israelite journeys between Egypt and Canaan as recounted in the Pentateuch. She has developed a hydrological model of the biblical regions showing that the wildernesses and national territories of the Sinai-Negev and Transjordan correspond to secondary water-catchments across the region; hence their geopolitical borders comprise major watersheds and riverbeds. Her continuing research seeks a better understanding of the geodata of the wilderness itinerary in both text and terrain, and the relation of ancient toponyms to the archaeological sites of biblical lands.




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Michael Lever

BA (Syd), BA(Hons) (La Trobe), GDipEd (Melb), PhD(Syd)

Dr Michael Lever is an archaeologist and historian, who investigates and manages the potential impacts of development on Aboriginal and historical heritage. He is recognised as a Heritage Advisor by both the Victorian and NSW State Governments.


Michael holds a Bachelors degree in archaeology from Sydney University, an Honours degree in archaeology from La Trobe University, Grad Dip Ed from Melbourne University and a PhD from Sydney University in archaeology. His thesis examined the contribution that biographical approaches could make to an understanding of the development of Australian and global archaeology. Michael also has a background in religion, theology and ancient languages and brings an understanding of the techniques of ancient history to his current practice of history.  Outside the academy Michael researches and publishes on themes of interest, primarily relating to the history of archaeology.


He is an accredited full member and NSW state committee member of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Incorporated (AACAI). He is also a full member of the Australian Association of Professional Historians (NSW). In the field of Aboriginal heritage, Michael is primarily driven by the potential for archaeology and history to contribute to redressing the inequities and injustices that Aboriginal people have often been subject to. This sits within his broader worldview that the individual, history and the political are not worlds that can be separated.  




Dr Anna-Latifa Mourad

BA(Hons), PhD (Macquarie)


Dr. Anna-Latifa Mourad is a historian and archaeologist exploring the links between cultural encounters and socio-cultural transformations. In 2014, she was awarded a PhD from Macquarie University for her research on the ‘Rise of the Hyksos’ and Egyptian-Levantine relations from the Middle Kingdom to the early Second Intermediate Period. She later joined the ERC Advanced Grant project, The Enigma of the Hyksos, directed by Manfred Bietak at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2017–2020), with her postdoctoral fellowship examining ‘Multidirectional Cultural Interference Studies’ and the influences of Egyptian-Near Eastern relations on Egyptian culture and society. Its research findings have been recently published in a new monograph on Transforming Egypt into the New Kingdom. She has also worked with several archaeological expeditions in Australia and Egypt (Saqqara and Beni Hassan).

Anna's research focusses on relations across Egypt and Western Asia during the late Third and Second Millennia BCE. It applies theoretically informed approaches to discern their multifaceted triggers, influences, and processes, most recently those of transculturalisation, transregionalism and globalisation. She is currently examining the evidence for emerging globalisation in the Bronze Age, and the possibly associated local adaptations to such increasing connectivity.

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Dr Varsha Pilbrow

BA (Mumbai), MA (Pune), MA, MPhil, PhD (NYU)

Dr Varsha Pilbrow is a biological anthropologist with research interests in dental palaeoanthropology, population systematics of living apes, bioarchaeology of the Southern Caucasus, and mummy studies. She assists with the study of the Institute’s Egyptian mummies.


Varsha holds a Masters’ degree in Archaeology and Ancient Indian Culture from Pune University and a PhD in Biological Anthropology from New York University. She has held academic positions at City University of New York, George Washington University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and University of Melbourne – lecturing into undergraduate and postgraduate anatomy and anthropology subjects and supervising research students.


Varsha contributed her expertise to 3D printing the skull and hand of Egyptian mummies from the University of Melbourne which provided unique perspectives in reconstructing the life-history profiles and palaeopathology of these individuals. She recently led a multidisciplinary team in using minimally destructive means to extract a tooth from the Egyptian mummy at the University of Melbourne. The tooth will be used in further analysing the DNA, stable isotopes and palaeopathology of the mummy.


She is actively involved in science communication, has published in major discipline journals, and has provided expert scientific opinion in media outlets such as Channel Nine News, Cosmos and New Scientist.






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Dr David S. Saunders

BAppSc(Hons) (Adelaide), PhD (Monash), MBus (RMIT)

David is engaged in a survey of recent metallurgical research in Cypriot Bronze Age metal artefacts. The work aims to develop a greater understanding of the metallurgical processes used to produce the artefacts and to apply, where appropriate, analytical tools to the study of the Bronze Age artefacts of the Institute’s collection.


In 2012 he retired from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation after a career of 35 years where he had many appointments including Research Leader Aircraft Structures, Scientific Adviser, Defence Material Organisation and Research Leader Ship Structures. 


Between 2012 and 2014 he held a contract lecturing position at RMIT University, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. David Saunders maintains a strong interest in Risk Management, Quality Management Systems and Business Process Improvement.  He is a member of the Australian Institute of Engineers. 

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Dr Luis R Siddall

BA (Hons) (Syd), MA (Macq), PhD (Lond), DipEd (UNE)

Dr Luis Siddall is an Assyriologist and a school master with a focus on the history of the first millennium in the Ancient Near East and the broader Mediterranean. He teaches ancient history, and historiography, and coaches cricket at Shore (North Sydney).


Luis is also Director of the Cuneiform in Australian and New Zealand Collections Project (@ProjectCANZ) which is editing and publishing all the cuneiform texts in public collections in the region. The AIA’s collection of cuneiform texts will be published as the first volume of the CANZ monographs. CANZ is also looking to provide schools with teaching resources for high school students.


Luis has published a monograph, The Reign of Adad-nirari III (Brill 2013), and numerous articles on Neo-Assyrian history, the Amarna Letters, and on cuneiform texts. He is also researching the reign of Sennacherib, king of Assyria.

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Dr Jonathan T. Smith

BA (Classics and History) (ANU), BA (Journalism) (RMIT), PhD (RMIT)

Jonathan investigates links between primary texts and numismatic iconography seeking corroborations. He aims to clarify the historical record by identifying shared representations of reality in written texts and related artefacts.


Dr Smith studied Classics at the Australian National University under Professor Beryl Rawson. After spending the 1980s and early 1990s as a journalist in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan he returned to Australia, to write his PhD thesis on how Hellenistic Scepticism and Manichaean metaphysics shaped the postmodern thought of Jean Baudrillard. He spent 23 years teaching Philosophy & Research Methods at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Roderick White

BE (Swinburne), MSc (Victoria), PGDipArts(ClassSt&Archae), PhD (Melb)

Rod is currently engaged in the application of image processing techniques to archaeology and the use of computer models in archaeological research.

His interest in archaeology developed at the University of Melbourne where he completed a post-graduate diploma in archaeology and classics. His PhD was entitled Post-Collapse Social Trajectories: The Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age Interface in the Eastern Mediterranean. He is still an Associate of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne.

He began his professional career in the fields of engineering and information technology after graduating with a degree in electronics. He also has a master's degree in Computer Science. He is currently a contract tutor with the Engineering Learning Unit, University of Melbourne



Dr Josephine A. Verducci

BArts(Fash) (RMIT), GDipArts(Class&Archae), PGDipArts(ClassSt&Archae), 
MA(Class&Archae), PhD (Melb) 

Josephine commenced her academic and professional life in the world of fashion before shifting her focus to the clothing and adornment in the ancient world. She is currently researching the jewellery held by the Australian Institute of Archaeology.

She made the transition to archaeology at the University of Melbourne, where she completed her soon to be published PhD thesis entitled Metal Jewellery of the Southern Levant and its Western Neighbours: Cross-Cultural Influences in the Early Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean. In 2015, Josephine led preliminary excavations in Ghor es-Safi, Jordan, at the Iron Age settlement of biblical Zoara––a collaborative project with the Hellenic Near Eastern Society. This follows five years as a trench supervisor at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel, one season as a specialist staff member at Tall al-Umayri in Jordan, and ten years conducting archaeological fieldwork and cultural heritage management in Aboriginal and historical archaeology within Australia. Her research has also taken her on extended trips to Cyprus and Greece. 

Her research interests include the Late Bronze Age Aegean, the Early Iron Age Near East, ethnicity in antiquity, and costume and cultural identity in the ancient world. Meanwhile, the focus on the ethnic matrix of the eastern Mediterranean in her PhD thesis, in particular the formation of Philistine cultural identity, has provided her with a strong understanding of several LBA and EIA ethnic groups, including Assyrians, Canaanites, Cypriots, Egyptians, Hittites, Mycenaeans, Philistines, and more broadly, the ‘Sea Peoples’.    

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