Christopher Morgan

In Mongolia, Summer 2016

Associate Professor, Chair of Department of Anthropology
Faculty, Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology

Ph.D., University of California, Davis 2006
Ansari Business Building Room 510
(775) 682-8992

Office Hours Fall 2019: Tuesdays 12:30-300 PM/ Thursday 1:30-3:00 PM


Hunter-gatherer archaeology, human and behavioral ecology, lithic technology, GIS, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, cultural resource management, quantitative methods


My research focuses on the hunter-gatherer archaeology of the American West, China, Mongolia, and the southern Andes, with an emphasis on behavioral adaptations to high-altitude, desert, and other marginal environments. I am particularly interested in the ways mobility, storage and settlement patterns relate to paleoenvironmental change and the evolution of different types of hunter-gatherer sociocultural organization. In the America West, I study the spread of Numic-speaking peoples across and beyond the Great Basin, the evolution of Archaic lifeways, and the different ways hunter-gatherers in the region exploited mountain environments. In China, I focus on more fundamental evolutionary questions: Lower to Upper Paleolithic transitions, the arrival or evolution of modern humans and human behavior, and the forager to farmer sequence between the Yellow and Wei rivers. In Mongolia, I'm currently collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh and the National Museum of Mongolia on projects tracking the origins of pastoral economies and the northeast Asian microblade adaptation.  In the southern Andes, I've recently become involved in a collaborative project with the San Rafael Natural History Museum looking at the ways the region's hunter-gatherers adapted to high altitude settings.

Publications resulting from my research are available on ResearchGate and on

I am currently looking for graduate students with a strong undergraduate education and experience in archaeology. If you are interested in these or other related research topics and would like to pursue either a Master’s or Ph.D. at UNR, please contact me and be sure to visit our graduate program webpages in the appropriate embedded hyperlinks above.


  • Anth 202 - Archaeology
  • Anth 440a/640a - Archaeology of North America
  • Anth 441a/641a - Archaeology of the Old World
  • Anth 443/643 - Environmental Archaeology
  • Anth 448a/648a - Field School in Archaeology
  • Anth 455/655 - Archaeological Theory
  • Anth 459/659 - California Archaeology
  • Anth 493R/693R - Research Design & Quantitative Methods
  • Anth 706 - Seminar in Anthropological Problems: Prehistoric Economies
  • Anth 728 - Geoarchaeology
  • Anth 729 - GIS and Archaeology

Recent Publications

Other Representative Publications

For a complete list and electronic copies of all of my publications, please see my webpages on ResearchGate and on

Selected Book Reviews

Current Graduate Advisees - Degrees in Progress

Student Degree Project Title
David Harvey PhD Explaining Territorial Emplacement and Maintenance in the Southern Sierra Nevada with Free versus Despotic Site Distributions
Marielle Black PhD Source-Sink Dynamics and the Intensification of Agriculture and Landscape Utilization on the Southwestern Colorado Plateau
Kristina Crawford PhD Explaining Provisioning and Landscape Use in the Orderly Anarchy of the Late Holocene Sacramento Valley, California
Kaitlyn Mansfield PhD Late Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Adaptations to Marginal Environments on the Abert Rim, Southeastern Oregon
Rocky Brockway PhD Mid-Holocene Geoarchaeology of the Central Great Basin
Emily Rubinstein MA Prehistoric Settlement Pattern Variability in the Central Sierra Nevada, California

Past Graduate Advisees - Degrees Completed

Student Degree Year Thesis or Dissertation Title
Dallin Webb MA 2017 Cooperative Foraging Strategies and Technological Investment in the Western Great Basin: An Investigation of Archaeological Remains from the Winnemucca Lake Caves, Nevada
Kari Sprengler MA 2017 Explaining Prehistoric Communal Hunting Strategies: An Analysis of Artiodactyl Drives and Trap Features Across the Great Basin
Geneva Kraus MA 2016 Ever Upward? Intensification on the Western Divide of the Southern Sierra Nevada, California: Lithic Assemblages in an Evolutionary Perspective
Amanda Rankin MA 2016 Starch Residue Analysis from Two High Altitude Village Locations: High Rise Village, Wyoming and the White Mountains Village Sites, California
Ellie Maniery MA 2015 Pharo Village, Alluvial Geochronology, Climate, and Implications for Fremont Site Occupation and Abandonment
Lukas Trout MA 2015 Subsistence, Mobility, and Intensity of Residential Site Use: Results of Flaked Stone Analysis at High Rise Village, Wyoming
Ashley Losey MS 2013 Risk and Climate at High Elevation: A Z-score Model Case Study for Prehistoric Human Occupation of Wyoming's Wind River Range