John W. Olsen is Regents’ Professor of Anthropology and Executive Director of the Je Tsongkhapa Endowment for Central and Inner Asian Archaeology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He attended Florida State University and received Bachelor of Arts degrees with Highest Distinction and Honors in Anthropology and Oriental Studies from the University of Arizona. Olsen holds Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. His research focuses on the Pleistocene prehistory of arid lands and high elevations in Central and Inner Asia. Dr. Olsen has conducted archaeological fieldwork recently in the now independent Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, and in Russia, China, Tibet, and Mongolia. He is currently Co-Director of the Joint Mongolian-Russian-American Archaeological Expeditions and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Zhoukoudian International Paleoanthropological Research Center in Beijing. Olsen is one of only a few foreign scholars to be awarded academic titles by the Mongolian Academy of Humanitarian Sciences (Academician, 1998) and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (Doctoris Archaeologiae Honoris Causa, 2003).
Natural Environment and Biodiversity