Paul Lane joined the Institute shortly after completing a period of teaching Archaeology and Museum Studies at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, and before that at the University of Dar es Salaam. At both institutions he was instrumental in helping establish and consolidate degree programmes in Archaeology.
His main research interests encompass the historical and maritime archaeology of eastern and southern Africa, and the transition to farming in these same regions. While Director of the Institute, he carried out his own research on the transition from hunting and gathering to farming in northern Nyanza Province, Kenya and on the historical archaeology of Luo settlement in the same area. He also collaborated with Dr Bertram Mapunda (Archaeology Unit, University of Dar es Salaam), on the causes and origins of soil erosion in the Kondoa District of north-central Tanzania, and worked with Dr Kennedy Mutundu (Kenyatta University), Dr Robert Payton (University of Newcastle), Professor David Taylor (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Carolyn Thorp (Witwatersrand University) and Dr Benjamin Smith and colleagues (Rock Art Research Institute, Witwatersrand University) on an interdisciplinary study of Landscape and Environmental Change in Semi-Arid Landscapes of East & Southern Africa, with particular reference to the Laikipia Plateau. He finished his contract with the Institute at the end of September 2006, after eight years as Director. After leaving the BIEA, he ran a Marie Curie research group, funded by the European Union, on the Historical Ecology of East African Landscapes based at the Department of Archaeology, University of York in the UK. Presently he is project co-ordinator of the REAL (Resilience in East Afican Landscapes) project and is based at Uppsala University, Sweden, where he is a Professor of Global Archaeology.