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Christopher Nicholson

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Associate Research Professor and Director, Center for Digital Antiquity
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402

Chris is the Director of the Center for Digital Antiquity and tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record) in the School for Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. His research focuses on paleoclimates, environmental archaeology, human paleoecology, hunter-gatherer studies, paleodemography, and landscape archaeology. He is also interested in digital data preservation, archives and archival research, and open access platforms.


2017  Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming. Dissertation Title: The Climatology of Place: The role of paleoclimates on hominin landscape-level behavior

2005  M.A., Department of Anthropology, Washington State University. Thesis Title: Small-Game Utilization among the Aché of Eastern Paraguay: A Study of Taphonomy in Ethnoarchaeology

1999  B.A., Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University.  Minor Certificate, Native American Studies

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Research Interests: 

Topics: Human paleoecology, environmental archaeology, hunter-gatherer studies, paleoclimatology, paleodemography, landscape archaeology, GIS, geospatial modeling, data visualization, quantitative methods, zooarchaeology, and ethnoarchaeology. 

Geographic Regions: American Southwest, western Eurasia, Armenia, Amazonia, Rocky Mountain West


Bird, D., L. Miranda, M. Vander Linden, E. Robinson, R.K. Bocinsky, C. Nicholson, J.M. Capriles, J.B. Finley, E.M. Gayo, A. Gil, J.  d’Alpoim Guedes, J.A. Hoggarth, A. Kay, E. Loftus, U. Lombardo, M. Mackie, A. Palmisano, S. Solheim, R.L. Kelly, J. Freeman, 2022. p3k14c - A synthetic global database of archaeological radiocarbon dates.  Scientific Data.

Nicholson, C., R. Fernandez, R. and J. Irwin, J. 2021. Digital Archaeological Data in the Wild West: The Challenge of Practising Responsible Digital Data Archiving and Access in the United States, Internet Archaeology 58., J., Anderies, J.M., Beckman, N.B., Robinson, E, Baggio, J.A, Bird, D.M., Nicholson, C., Finley, J.B., Capriles, J.M., Gil, A.F., Byers, D., Gayo, E., Latorre, C., 2021. Landscape Engineering Impacts the Long-Term Stability of Agricultural Populations. Human Ecology.

Freeman, J., Anderies, J.M., Beckman, N.B., Robinson, E, Baggio, J.A, Bird, D.M., Nicholson, C., Finley, J.B., Capriles, J.M., Gil, A.F., Byers, D., Gayo, E., Latorre, C., 2021. Landscape Engineering Impacts the Long-Term Stability of Agricultural Populations. Human Ecology.

Arakawa, F. and C. Nicholson. 2020. Identifying New Quarries as a Method for Expanding Research: A GIS Case Study from the Mesa Verde Region in the American Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 102470.

Slimak, L., and C. Nicholson, 2020. Cannibals in the Forest: A comment on Defleur and Desclaux (2019)Journal of Archaeological Science. 105034.

Sharma, V., C. Nicholson, A. Bergantino, S. Irmak, and D. Peck, 2020. Temporal Trends Analysis of Meteorological Variables and Reference Evapotranspiration in the Inter-Mountain West Region of Wyoming. Water.12(8):2159.

Nicholson, C., T. Minckley and J.J. Shinker, 2019. Validating CCSM3 Paleoclimate Data using Pollen-Based Reconstruction in the Intermountain West. Quaternary Science Reviews. 222:1-8. doi:10.1080/14614103.2019.1654651

Nicholson, C. 2019. Shifts Along a Spectrum: a longitudinal study of the western Eurasian hominin fundamental climate niche. Environmental Archaeology: Journal of Human Palaeoecology. 1461-4103:1-16.

Robinson, E., C. Nicholson, and R. Kelly, 2019.  The Importance to Spatial Data to National Archaeological Databases. Advances in Archaeological Practice. 1-14. doi:10.1017/aap.2019.29.

Nicholson, C., J.J. Shinker, V.M. Hanway, and S. Zavala, 2018. The Influence of Atmospheric Circulation on Abnormal Snowpack Melt-Out Events and Drought in Wyoming. Journal of American Water Resources Association. 1-17.

Nicholson, C. 2017. Eemian paleoclimate zones and Neanderthal landscape-use: a GIS model of settlement patterning during the last interglacial. Quaternary International. 438:144-157.

Egeland, C., B. Gasparian, C. Fadem, S. Nahapetyan, D. Arakelyan, D., and C. Nicholson. 2016.  Bagratashen 1, a stratified open-air Middle Paleolithic site in the Debed river valley of northeastern Armenia: a preliminary report.  Archaeological Research in Asia. 8:1-20

Egeland, C., B. Gasparian, D. Arakelyan, C. Nicholson, A. Petrosyan, R. Ghukasyan, R. and R. Byerly. 2014. Result of Reconnaissance Survey for Paleolithic Sites in the Debed River Valley (Lori Depression, Northern Armenia)Journal of Field Archaeology.  39:370-386.

Egeland, C., K. Welch, and C. Nicholson.  2014.  Experimental Determinations of Cutmark Orientation and the Reconstruction of Prehistoric Butchery Behavior. Journal of Archaeological Science. 49: 126-133.

Arikawa, F., C. Nicholson, and J. Rasic.  2013.  The Consequences of Social Processes: Aggregate Populations, Projectile Point Accumulations and Subsistence Patterns in the American Southwest.  American Antiquity. 78:1

Tercek, M., S. Gray, and C. Nicholson.  2012. Climate Zone Delineation: Evaluating Approaches for Use in Natural Resource Management.   Environmental Management.  49(5):1076-91.

Egeland, C., B. Gasparian, D. Arakelyan, R. Byerly, C. Nicholson, and D. Zardaryan.  2011. Multiperiod Archaeological Reconnaissance in the Debed River Valley, North-Eastern ArmeniaAntiquity. 085: 329.

Egeland, C., C. Nicholson, and B. Gasparian.  2010.  Using GIS and Ecological Variables to Identify High Potential Areas for Paleoanthropological Survey: An Example from Northern Armenia. Journal of Ecological Anthropology.   14: 1.

Arikawa, F. and C. Nicholson.  2009. Prehistoric Resource Procurement in the Central Mesa Verde Region: A Study of Human Mobility and Social Interactions Using GIS. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing. 3: 85–100. 


Arikawa, F., C. Nicholson, and D. Harro.  2019.  Diachronic Landscape Changes in Tool-stone Raw Material Distributions and Exchange Systems in the Northern Rio Grande. In Ortmon, S. (Ed.), Re-Thinking the Rio Grande Pueblo Economics.  University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ.

Summer 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 792Research
Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 590Reading and Conference
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 590Reading and Conference

Editorial Board - Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

Reviewer - Journal of Archaeological Science

Reviewer –Proceedings for the 5th International Conference on Water Resources and Environment

Reviewer – Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

Professional Associations: 

Board Member - Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis

Member - American Association for the Advancement of Science

Member - Society of American Archaeology

Member - American Cultural Resources Association