Christian Tryon

Professor Ph.D. Connecticut, 2003

Education and training

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 served on the faculty at the George Washington University, New York University, and Harvard University before happily returning to UCONN in 2019.

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).

Undergraduate courses taught

ANTH 2502 Human Evolution

Current PhD student advisees

Travis Rohrer

Matthew Magnani (Harvard University)

Jessica McNeil (Harvard University)

Former postdoctoral advisees and current affiliations

Kathryn Ranhorn (University of Arizona)

Laure Metz (Aix-Marseille Université)

Nick Blegen (University of Cambridge)

Ravid Ekshtain (Hebrew University)


Deep History

Select recent publications (see CV for complete listing)

(2020) Niespolo, E.; Sharp, W.; Tryon, C.A.; Faith, J.T.; Lewis, J.; Ranhorn, K.; Mambelli, S.; Miller, M.; Dawson, T.E. Carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes of ostrich eggshells provide site-scale Pleistocene-Holocene paleoenvironmental records for eastern African archaeological sites. Quaternary Science Reviews 230:106142.

(2020) Beverley, E.J.; White, J.D.; Peppe, D.J.; Faith, J.T.; Blegen, N.; Tryon, C.A. Rapid Pleistocene desiccation and the future of Africa’s Lake Victoria. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 530: 115883.

(2019) Tryon, C.A.  The Middle/Later Stone Age transition and cultural dynamics of Late Pleistocene East Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 28: 267-282.

(2019) Tryon, C.A.; Metz, L. Archaeological evidence for human dispersals around the Mediterranean basin? Evolutionary Anthropology 28: 233-235.

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

(2019) Will, M.; Tryon, C.A.; Shaw, M.; Scerri, E.; Ranhorn, K.; Pargeter, J.; McNeil, J.; Mackay, A.; Leplongeon, A.; Groucutt, H.; Douze, K.; Brooks, A. Comparative analysis of Middle Stone Age artefacts in Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 28:57-59.

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

(2019) Ranhorn, K.; Tryon, C.A. New Pleistocene radiocarbon dates from Nasera rockshelter, Tanzania. Journal of African Archaeology 16:211-222.

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

(2018) Potts, R.; Behrensmeyer, A.K.; Faith, J.T.; Tryon, C.A.; Brooks, A.S.; Yellen, J.; Deino, A.; Kinyanjui, R.; Clark, J.; Haradon, C.; Levin, N.E.; Meijer, H.J.M.; Veatch, E.G.; Owen, R.B.; Renaut, R. Environmental dynamics during the onset of the Middle Stone Age in eastern Africa. Science 360: 86-90.

(2018) Frahm, E.; Tryon, C.A. Later Stone Age toolstone acquisition in the Central Rift Valley of Kenya: Portable XRF of Eburran obsidian artifacts from Leakey’s excavations at Gamble’s Cave II. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 18:475-486.

(2017) Blegen, N.; Faith, J.T.; Mant-Melville, A.; Peppe, D.J.; Tryon, C.A. The Middle Stone Age after 50,000 years ago: New evidence from the Late Pleistocene sediments of the Eastern Lake Victoria Basin, Western Kenya. Paleoanthropology 2017:139-169.

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


Contact Information
Phone+1 860 486 2137
File Tryon CV
Mailing AddressUnit 1176
Office LocationBH 449