Professor David Phillipson FBA

  • College positions:
    Emeritus Fellow, Former Professorial Fellow, Former Director of Studies in Archaeology & Anthropology
  • University positions:
    Emeritus Professor of African Archaeology, Former Director of the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
  • Subjects: Human, Social, and Political Sciences


BA, MA, PhD, LittD (all Cambridge)

Awards and Prizes

Fellow of the British Academy
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Hon. Professorship at University College, London
Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (see note below)

Research interests: 

African Archaeology, esp. Ethiopia. Author of African Archaeology (third edition, 2005), Archaeology of Aksum (2000) and Ancient Churches of Ethiopia (2009).

In 2014, David W. Phillipson (1961) was elected a Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences in recognition of his research and publications on the archaeology of that country. As Curator of the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, latterly and concurrently Professor of African Archaeology, he was a Fellow of Caius from 1988 until 2006 when he took early retirement and was elected Emeritus Fellow. The Ethiopian Academy's citation drew attention to his "impressive publication record, ... outstanding contribution to (his) profession, ... international stature as a scholar and ... exceptional contribution to the advancement of Ethiopian scholarship". He first conducted excavations in Ethiopia in 1974, and most of his field research since 1991 has been carried out there; two Ethiopian students came to Caius at his instigation and obtained M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees. Professor Phillipson's recent books "Ancient Churches of Ethiopia" (Yale University Press, 2009) and "Foundations of an African Civilisation" (Boydell & Brewer, 2012) have both been reissued in Ethiopia by Addis Ababa University Press.    

Other interests