John Olsen (photo courtesy of the University of Arizona)
John Olsen
Regents' Professor of Anthropology, School of Anthropology
Executive Director, Je Tsongkhapa Endowment for Central & Inner Asian Archaelogy
Co-Director, University of Arizona Confucius Institute
(520) 621-4321

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).

Selected Citations: 

2013 (with B. Gunchinsuren) “The Upper Paleolithic of Mongolia and Northwest China,” in Basic Issues in Archaeology, Anthropology, and Ethnography of Eurasia, Festschrift on the Occasion of Anatoly Derevianko’s 70th Birthday edited by V. I. Molodin and M. V. Shunkov, pp. 182-193. Novosibirsk: Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences Press. (In English and Russian).

2013 (with S. A. Glaydshev, B. Gunchinsuren, A. J. T. Jull, T. Dogandzic, N. P. Zwyns, N. P. Richards, A. V. Tabarev, and S. Talamo) “Radioglerodonoe Daterovaniye Paleolitichesnikh Stoyanok v Doline Reki Ikh-Tulberiin-Gol v Severnoi Mongolii” (“Radiocarbon Dating of Paleolithic Sites in the Ikh-Tulberiin-Gol River Valley, Northern Mongolia”), Vestnik Novosibirskii Gosudarstvennii Universitet 12(5): 44-48. (In Russian with English Abstract).

2013 (with P. J. Brantingham, X. Gao, D. Madsen, D. Rhode, C. Perreault, and J. Van Der Woerd) “Late Occupation of the High-Elevation Northern Tibetan Plateau,” Geoarchaeology 28(5): 413-431.

2013 (with A. P. Derevianko, E. P. Rybin, S. A. Gladyshev, B. Gunchinsuren, and A. A. Tsybankov) “Early Upper Paleolithic Stone Tool Technologies of Northern Mongolia: the Case of Tolbor-4 and Tolbor-15,” Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia 41(4): 21-37.

2013 (with A. P. Derevianko, E. P. Rybin, S. A. Gladyshev, B. Gunchinsuren, and A. A. Tsibankov) “Razvitiye Tekologicheskikh Traditsiy Izgotovleniya Orudiy v Kamennykh Industriyakh Rannego Etapa Verkhnego Paleolita Severnoy Mongolii, po Materialam Stoyanok Tolbor-4 i -15” (“Technological Developments in the Tool-making Tradition of the Early Upper Paleolithic Stone Industry of Northern Mongolia, based on Materials from the Tolbor-4 and -15 Localities”), Arkheologiya, Ethnografiya i Antropologiya Evrazii 4(56): 21-37. (In Russian).

2014 (with A. M. Hudson and J. Quade) “Application of 14C Dating of Interdune Paleowetland Deposits to Constrain the Age of Mid- to Late Holocene Microlithic Artifacts from the Zhongba Site, Southwestern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau,” Geoarchaeology 29(1): 33–46. 2014 (with Li Feng, S. L. Kuhn, Chen Fuyou, and Gao Xing) “Disparate Stone Age Technological Evolution in North China: Lithic Technological Variability and Relations between Populations during MIS 3,” Journal of Anthropological Research 70(1): 35-67.

Research Themes: 
Natural Environment and Biodiversity

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