Dr Rebecca Simone Phillipps

BA, MA, PhD (UoA)

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Senior Lecturer


I completed a PhD at Auckland in 2012 comparing human settlement pattern across different environmental regions in Egypt occupied during the earliest phases of agriculture in the mid Holocene. I worked as a Professional Teaching Fellow in Anthropology and a Post Doctoral Research Fellow before taking up a position as lecturer at the University of Auckland.


Research | Current

  • Archaeology (New Zealand and Egyptian)
  • Stone artefact analysis
  • GIS

Current projects:

Past Māori social organisation and movement in the North Island, New Zealand

This Marsden funded research examines the initial settlement of the North Island of Aotearoa by Māori using methods for quantifying mobility and movement from stone artefact analyses.

Piecing together our past

This project is a collaboration with Poul Nielsen, Simon Holdaway, Mark Gahegan, Joshua Emmitt, and Sina Masoud-Ansari. We combine 3D object creation and visualisation with machine learning and expert systems to rapidly record artefacts.

Māori-ecosystem interactions and adaptations on the offshore islands of Aotearoa/New Zealand: agricultural niche construction during the initial settlement of southern Polynesia

This Marsden funded research is a collaboration with colleagues from the University of Canterbury, University of Auckland, and Otago Museum. This research will investigate the relationships between Māori settlers and the ecosystems of small offshore islands in Aotearoa investigating the history of mahinga kai (traditional foods, other natural resources, and places where these are obtained).


My research focusses on developing methods of stone artefact analysis applied to different parts of the world including New Zealand, Australia and Egypt. I am also interested in human environment interrelationships during the Holocene, particularly the development of agriculture and subsequent state formation in Egypt.

Teaching | Current

ANTHRO 252 Global Heritage Management

ANTHRO 703 Landscape Archaeology

Postgraduate supervision


Matthew Barrett (PhD)

Stacey Middleton (MA)

Amanda McIvor (MA)


I supervise students in stone artefact analysis, Egyptian archaeology, archaeology of Aotearoa, early agriculture and state formation processes, landscape archaeology, and material culture method and theory.

Areas of expertise

Archaeology, stone artefact analysis, GIS, data management, New Zealand archaeology, Egyptian archaeology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Holdaway, S., & Phillipps, R. (2020). Artefact Categories, Artefact Assemblages and Ontological Alterity. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, online first10.1017/S095977432000030X
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Holdaway
  • Furey, L., Phillipps, R., Emmitt, J., McAlister, A., & Holdaway, S. (2020). A large trolling lure shank from Ahuahu Great Mercury Island, New Zealand. The journal of the Polynesian Society, 129 (1), 85-112. 10.15286/jps.129.1.85-110
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joshua Emmitt, Simon Holdaway
  • Emmitt, J., Phillipps, R., Koopman, A., Barrett, M., Wendrich, W., & Holdaway, S. (2020). Kom W and X Basin: Erosion, Deposition, and the Potential for Village Occupation. African Archaeological Review10.1007/s10437-020-09370-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Holdaway, Joshua Emmitt
  • Emmitt, J., & Phillipps, R. (2019). The Archaeology of Western Sahara: A Synthesis of Fieldwork, 2002 to 2009, edited by Joanne Clarke and Nick Brooks [Book Review]. Journal of African Archaeology10.1163/21915784-20190010
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48946
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joshua Emmitt
  • Phillipps, R., Emmitt, J., Barrett, M., Wendrich, W., & Holdaway, S. (2019). Kom W in context IV: synthesis and new directions for Neolithic research in Egypt. Paper presented at International Symposium Society and subsistence in the prehistory of Northeastern Africa, Poznań, Poland. 1 July - 4 July 2019.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joshua Emmitt, Matthew Barrett, Simon Holdaway
  • Holdaway, S., Emmitt, J., Phillipps, R., Barrett, M., & Wendrich, W. (2019). Kom W, Fayum North Shore, Egypt, in context: Reconsidering the evidence for an early Neolithic Village. Kom W in context I.. Paper presented at International Symposium: Society and subsistence in the prehistory of Northeastern Africa, Poznań. 1 July - 4 July 2019.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joshua Emmitt, Simon Holdaway, Matthew Barrett
  • Emmitt, J., Littleton, J., Young, R., & Phillipps, R. (2019). Digitizing Roonka: The creation of a 3D representation from archival records. Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, 1310.1016/j.daach.2019.e00094
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46607
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joshua Emmitt, Judith Littleton
  • Holdaway, S. J., Emmitt, J., Phillipps, R., & Masoud-Ansari, S. (2019). A Minimalist Approach to Archaeological Data Management Design. JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL METHOD AND THEORY, 26 (2), 873-893. 10.1007/s10816-018-9399-6
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45952
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Holdaway, Joshua Emmitt

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 8, Room 853
New Zealand

Social links

Web links