Christian A. Tryon

Department Head and Professor



Ph.D., 2003, University of Connecticut


I received my BA (1996), MA (2000), and PhD (2003) from the University of Connecticut. I was a postdoctoral fellow with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Sophia-Antipolis, France and at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and have served on the faculty at the George Washington University, New York University, and Harvard University. I am a member of the Scientific Executive Committee of the Leakey Foundation.

Research Interests

I specialize in the archaeology of human evolution, and I am particularly interested in reconstructing those ancient social and natural environmental contexts in which behavioral change occurred. Although trained as an archaeologist, my interests span multiple fields, including anthropology broadly, but especially, geology, history, and ecology. I am a specialist in the analysis of stone tools and volcanic ashes, which in some parts of the world such as the Rift Valley of East Africa, are widespread, bury archaeological sites, and provide a means to date them. I have lately become particularly interested in the use of forgotten archives and understudied museum collections as a renewable resource useful for understanding the past. Most of my work has focused on the origin and dispersal of modern humans (Homo sapiens), with a particular focus on sites in eastern Africa (especially Kenya and Tanzania), including the area around Lake Victoria, as well as the Mediterranean basin (especially France, Turkey, Israel, and Lebanon).



  • ANTH 2502. Human Evolution
  • ANTH 3512. African Archaeology
  • ANTH 3710. Technology and Society: Archaeological Perspectives


  • ANTH 5500. Professional Development in Anthropology
  • ANTH 5512. Modern Human Origins
  • ANTH 5363. The Structure of the Archaeological Record


  • Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Department of Anthropology, Harvard University


Pargeter, J.; Brooks, A.; Douze, K.; Eren, M,; Groucutt, H.; McNeil, J.; Mackay, A.; Ranhorn, K.; Scerri, E.; Shaw, M.; Tryon, C.A; Will, M.; Leplongeon, A. (2023) Replicability in lithic analysis. American Antiquity.

Bailey, S.E.; Tryon, C.A. (2023) The dentition of the Upper Paleolithic hominins from Ksâr ‘Akil, Lebanon. Journal of Human Evolution 176:103323.

Patania, I.; Porter, S.; Keegan, W.F.; Dihogo, R.; Frank, S.; Lewis, J.; Mashaka, H.; Ogutu, J.; Skosey-Lalonde, E.; Tryon, C.A. , Niespolo, E.M.; Colarossi, D.; Ranhorn, K.L. (2022) Geoarchaeology and heritage management: Identifying and quantifying multi-scalar erosional processes at Kisese II rockshelter, Tanzania. Frontiers in Earth Science

Borreggine, M.; Powell, E.; Pico, T.; Mitrovica, J.X.; Meadow, R.; Tryon, C.A. (2022) Not a bathtub: A consideration of sea-level physics for archaeological models of human migration. Journal of Archaeological Science 137:105507

Kovarovic, K.; Faith, J.T.; Jenkins, K.; Tryon, C.A.; Peppe, D.J. (2021) Ecomorphology and ecology of the grassland specialist, Rusingoryx atopocranion (Artiodactyla: Bovidae), from the Late Pleistocene of western Kenya. Quaternary Research. 101:187-204.

Tryon, C.A. (2020) A brief note on the history of research on rock engravings at Skhul, Israel. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society 50:6-14.

Sharp, W.D.; Tryon, C.A. ; Niespolo, E.M.; Fylstra, N.D.; Tripathy-Lang, A.; Faith, J.T. (2019) 230U/Th burial dating of ostrich eggshell. Quaternary Science Reviews 219:263-276.

Ekshtain, R.; Tryon, C.A. (2019) Lithic raw material acquisition and use by early Homo sapiens at Skhul, Israel. Journal of Human Evolution 127:149-170.

Tryon, C.A. ; Lewis, J.E.; Ranhorn, K.; Kwekason, A.; Eckhardt, C.; Laird, M.; Marean, C.W.; Nivens, J.; Mabulla, A. (2018) Middle and Later Stone Age chronology of Kisese II rockshelter, Kondoa Rock-Art UNESCO World Heritage Center, Tanzania. PLOS One 13(2):e0192029.

Frahm, E.; Tryon, C.A. (2018) Origins of Epipaleolithic obsidian blades from Zarzi cave in the Zagros foothills of Iraq. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 21:472-485.

Lowe, D.J.; Pearce, N.J.G.; Kuehn, S.C.; Tryon, C.A. ; Hayward, C. (2017) Correlating tephras and cryptotephras using compositional analyses and numerical and statistical methods: Review and evaluation. Quaternary Science Reviews 175:1-44.


Best dad. Or so says a mug my wife helped my daughter paint about 10 years ago.

Christian Tryon
Contact Information
Office LocationBeach Hall (BCH) 448
LinkPaleoanthropology Lab