Denis Byrne

Associate Professor Denis Byrne

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2019
  • Section(s): Asian Studies, Archaeology


Denis Byrne is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. He is an archaeologist, specialising in critical heritage studies and recognised internationally for his formative theoretical contribution to decolonising archaeology and heritage practice. He has a substantial body of applied research that has democratised professional archaeology and informed government decision-making, especially in New South Wales.

Much of this work stems from his time as manager of the cultural heritage research program at the Office of Heritage and Environment NSW, the focus of which was on producing culturally informed and socially concerned approaches to the conservation of Aboriginal and non-indigenous heritage. His research in Asia has taken the form, firstly, of a sustained critique of the dominance of the Eurocentric conservation ethic in Southeast Asian heritage management and, secondly, the development of a transnational approach to the heritage of Chinese migration to Australia.

His books include Surface Collection: Archaeological Travels in Southeast Asia: Critical Perspectives on Heritage Conservation in Asia (2007) and Counterheritage: Critical Perspectives on Heritage Conservation in Asia (2014).

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.