Skip Content

Professor Robert Foley FBA

Human evolution: the evolutionary ecology of extinct hominins; the evolution of human behaviour and culture; prehistory and archaeology of early human populations; evolutionary theory in archaeology and anthropology.
Robert Foley profile picture

About this Fellow

Robert Foley is Leverhulme Professor of Human Evolution at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of King's College, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is a co-founder, with Marta Mirazón Lahr, of the Leverhulme Centre of Human Evolutionary Studies at Cambridge, an inter-disciplinary research centre. His research has focused on the evolution and ecology of humans, especially their behaviour and adaptations. Much of this work has concentrated on understanding humans in terms of general Darwinian patterns and processes, and relating human evolution to more general models of evolution. Among his contributions are the development of off-site archaeology, community ecology and co-evolutionary approaches to hominin evolution, ecological models for human evolution, phylogenetic methods for analysing technological, cultural, social and linguistic evolution, the multiple dispersal model of human origins, and multi-disciplinary approaches to the evolution of human diversity. This research has included early African hominins, the evolution of modern humans, and more recent prehistory and anthropology. He has carried out field projects in Africa and Melanesia. He is currently involved in major field projects in northern and central Kenya. His books include Off-Site Archaeology, Another Unique Species: Patterns in Human Evolutionary Ecology, Humans before Humanity, and Principles of Human Evolution.



Current post

  • Leverhulme Professor of Human Evolution and Director, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge; Fellow, King's College, Cambridge

Past Appointments

  • Fellow of King's College, University of Cambridge, 1987
  • Leverhulme Professor of Human Evolution and Director, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Durham, 1977
  • Fellow, King's College University of Cambridge, 2003
  • Professorial Fellow, King's College University of Cambridge, 2014


Other Archaeology Fellows

Professor Charlotte Roberts

Studies archaeological human remains; her key research interests are contextual approaches to past human health (palaeopathology); ethical considerations and and human remains; the relevance of past health to contemporary health; evolutionary approaches to the origin and history of infectious diseases; big data projects in palaeopathology; public engagement

Professor Matthew Collins

Biomolecular archaeology; interdisciplinary approaches for the recovery and interpretation of molecular signals from ancient materials, with a specific focus on proteins and their breakdown products

Professor Michael Parker Pearson

The prehistory of Britain and western Europe from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. The archaeology of death and burial. The archaeology of Madagascar. Stonehenge and its landscape