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Department of Anthropology

Program in
Human Ecology and Archaeobiology


Torben Rick joined the National Museum of Natural History as Curator of North American Archaeology in 2008. In 2009, he joined the Archaeobiology Program and became the Director of PHEA in 2010. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Oregon (2004). Prior to joining the NMNH, he was Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University (2004-2008). He is currently co-editor of the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, an international peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge.


Rick’s research focuses on the archaeology and historical ecology of coastal and island peoples, especially on the North American Pacific and Atlantic Coasts. He has active field projects on California’s Channel Islands and the Chesapeake Bay, which are collaborative with researchers from a variety of disciplines (anthropology, biology, ecology, etc.) and focus on ancient and modern human environmental interactions. … more Research Interests

Links—Recent Publications in PDF

  • Rick CV.
  • Erlandson, Jon M., and Torben C. Rick
    2014 Ancient Experiments: Forest Biodiversity and Soil Nutrients Enhanced by Native American Middens. Landscape Ecology, in press.
  • Torben C. Rick, Patrick V. Kirch, Jon M. Erlandson, and Scott M. Fitzpatrick
    2013 Archeology, Deep History, and the Human Transformation of Island Ecosystems. Anthropocene, in press.
  • Rick, Torben C., Jon M. Erlandson, Nicholas P. Jew, and Leslie A. Reeder-Myers
    2013 Archaeological Survey, Paleogeography, and the Search for Late Pleistocene Paleocoastal Peoples of Santa Rosa Island, California. Journal of Field Archaeology 38(4):324-331.
  • Torben C. Rick and Rowan Lockwood
    2012 Integrating Paleobiology, Archeology, and History to Inform Biological Conservation. Conservation Biology 27(1):45-54.
  • Torben C. Rick, Courtney A. Hofman, Todd J. Braje, Jesús E. Maldonado, T. Scott Sillett, Kevin Danchisko, and Jon M. Erlandson
    2012 Flightless Ducks, Giant Mice and Pygmy Mammoths: Late Quaternary Extinctions on California's Channel Islands. World Archaeology 44(1):3-20.
  • Rick, Torben C.
    2011 Weathering the Storm: Coastal Subsistence and Ecological Resilience on Late Holocene Santa Rosa Island, California. Quarternary International 239:135-146.
  • Rick, Torben C., Brendan J. Culleton, Carley B. Smith, John R. Johnson, and Douglas J. Kennett
    2011 Stable Isotope Analysis of Dog, Fox, and Human Diets at a Late Holocene Chumash Village (CA-SRI-2) on Santa Rosa Island, California. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:1385-1393.
  • Erlandson, Jon M., Torben C. Rick, Todd J. Braje, Molly Casperson, Brendan Culleton, Brian Fulfrost, Tracy Garcia, Daniel A. Guthrie, Nicholas Jew, Douglas J. Kennett, Madonna Moss, Leslie Reeder, Craig Skinner, Jack Watts, and Lauren Willis
    2011 Paleoindian Seafaring, Maritime Technologies, and Coastal Foraging on California’s Channel Islands. Science 331:1181-1185.
  • Erlandson, Jon M., and Torben C. Rick
    2010 Archaeology Meets Marine Ecology: The Antiquity of Maritime Cultures and Human Impacts on Marine Fisheries and Ecosystems. Annual Review of Marine Science 2:231-251.
  • Rick, Torben C., and Jon M. Erlandson
    2009 Coastal Exploitation. Science 325:953-954.
  • Rick, Torben C., Jon M. Erlandson, René L. Vellanoweth, Todd J. Braje, Paul W. Collins, Daniel A. Guthrie, and Thomas W. Stafford, Jr.
    2009 Origins and Antiquity of the Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis) on California’s Channel Islands. Quaternary Research 71:93-98.
  • Rick, Torben C., Robert L. DeLong, Jon M. Erlandson, Todd J. Braje, Terry L. Jones, Douglas J. Kennett, Thomas A. Wake, and Phillip L. Walker
    2009 A Trans-Holocene Archaeological Record of Guadalupe Fur Seals (Arctocephalus townsendi) on the California Coast. Marine Mammal Science 25:487-502.
  • Rick, Torben C., Phillip L. Walker, Lauren M. Willis, Anna C. Noah, Jon M. Erlandson, René L. Vellanoweth, Todd J. Braje, and Douglas J. Kennett
    2008 Dogs, Humans, and Island Ecosystems: The Distribution, Antiquity, and Ecology of Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) on California’s Channel Islands, USA. The Holocene 18:1077-1087.
  • Rick, Torben C., Jon M. Erlandson, and René L. Vellanoweth
    2006 Taphonomy and Site Formation on California’s Channel Islands. Geoarchaeology 21(6):567-589.
  • Rick, Torben C., Jon M. Erlandson, René L. Vellanoweth, and Todd J. Braje
    2005 From Pleistocene Mariners to Complex Hunter-Gatherers: The Archaeology of the California Channel Islands. Journal of World Prehistory 19:169-228.
  • Rick, Torben C., René L. Vellanoweth, and Jon M. Erlandson.
    2005 Radiocarbon Dating and the “Old Shell” Problem: Direct Dating of Artifacts and Cultural Chronologies in Coastal and Other Aquatic Regions. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:1641-1648.
Torben Rick photo

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