John W. Olsen

John W. Olsen is an American archaeologist and paleoanthropologist specializing in the early Stone Age prehistory and Pleistocene paleoecology of eastern Eurasia. Olsen is Regents' Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Executive Director of the Je Tsongkhapa Endowment for Central and Inner Asian Archaeology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, USA. He is also a Leading Scientific Researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Siberian Branch in Novosibirsk and Guest Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing where he is also Co-Director of the Zhoukoudian International Paleoanthropological Research Center. Olsen has been named a Distinguished Researcher of the Nihewan Research Center in Hebei Province, China. He is also a Foreign Expert affiliated with The Yak Museum in Lhasa, Tibet.

Olsen's role as Co-Director of the Joint Mongolian-Russian-American Archaeological Expeditions has been the nexus of his research activities since 1995, even as the Expedition's geographical focus has expanded to include Xinjiang (beginning in 2004) and Tibet (especially the Gangdise-Nyenchen Tanglha sub-ranges of the Trans-Himalaya System, beginning in 2006) as well as other ethnic Mongol and ethnic Tibetan territories in Russia and the independent Central Asian republics of the former USSR.

Olsen's research emphasizes the Paleolithic archaeology of arid lands and high elevations in Central and Inner Asia, especially that area formerly referred to as "Haute-Asie" that encompasses Mongolia and Tibet. His interests include Quaternary paleoecology and the impact of environmental degradation on prehistoric societies; cultural ecology and environmental archaeology with emphasis on zooarchaeology, especially animal husbandry among pastoral and nomadic societies; spatial analysis in archaeology, including applications of remote sensing and geographic information systems; and tangible and intangible cultural heritage preservation, indigenous intellectual property, and the empowerment of descendant communities. Olsen has conducted collaborative archaeological fieldwork in the United States (Florida & Arizona), Colombia, Belize, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, the People's Republic of China (Tibet, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, & Ningxia), Việt Nam, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia (Siberia), and Mongolia (Mongol Uls). As of 2023, he has been director or co-director of 23 interdisciplinary archaeological field expeditions.

In 2023, Olsen received the Order of the Polar Star (''Mongolian:'' Алтан гадас одон), the highest civilian award Mongolia can present to a foreign citizen. The Order was bestowed upon Olsen in acknowledgment of his contributions to Mongolian science and society extending back over three decades. Provided by Wikipedia

Published 2017
Springer New York
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