Neville Agnew spent his early years in South Africa and studied at the University of Natal. There he earned degrees in chemistry and geology, followed by two years in London working on his PhD. He taught chemistry for ten years at Rhodes University, but in the mid-1970s, dismayed by the strife engendered by South Africa’s apartheid system, he relocated to Australia, taking a research position at the University of Queensland and later in the newly formed conservation department of the Queensland Museum. Dr. Agnew joined the Getty Conservation Institute in 1988. He has participated in many of the GCI’s research and international field projects, including the initiative on the Mogao and Yungang Buddhist grottoes in China, which he has led since 1989; the historic city center of Quito, Ecuador; and the Laetoli hominid trackway in Tanzania and at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
Dr. Agnew has had professional experience in the conservation of rock art, dinosaur fossil footprints, shipwrecks, and adobe structures. His association with conservation in China has resulted in a number of awards. Dr. Agnew organized the conservation theme at the Fifth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-5) and coedited the subsequent publication.
Currently, he is working on the collaboration with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities for the Valley of the Queens and Tutankhamen’s Tomb projects and leads the Southern African Rock Art Project (SARAP).