Kyle G. Olson

Lecturer in Archaeology
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
research interests:
  • Prehistory of Iran and Central Asia
  • Political Geography
  • Legacy Data
  • GIS
  • History of Archaeology
  • Heritage Diplomacy
  • Archaeology and Development
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1114
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis MO 63130
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    Kyle G. Olson focuses on archaeological collections divided between museums in different countries to explore not only prehistoric patterns of polity-formation and cross-cultural exchange, but also the past, present, and future conditions of archaeological knowledge production.

    I am an archaeologist of politics, past and present, devoted to understanding both the political geography of Bronze Age Eurasia as well as the political economy of archaeological fieldwork in the modern world. I have three active research projects. The first concerns the archaeological cultures of Bronze Age northeastern Iran and southern Central Asia and their connections to the broader world of early complex polities of the third and second millennia BCE. The second examines the development of the field of archaeology and the heritage management sector in Iran over the past century to understand ongoing shifts in research and preservation practices in light of Iranian domestic and foreign policy. The third focuses on the re-use of archaeological collections in synthetic and integrative research. My research thus contributes to our knowledge of a pivotal but poorly understood corner of the ancient world, expands our awareness of how archaeological knowledge has been created, and explores possible futures for disciplinary practice in a post-COVID world.

    Recent Publications (*Peer-Reviewed)

    Olson, K.G., 2022. The Past, Present, and Future of Beyoğlu. ANAMED Blog (2/22).

    *Olson, K.G., 2021. “Heritage Diplomacy and US-Iran Relations: The Case of the Iranian Antiquities Bill of 1930.” In: American-Iranian Dialogues: An International History from Constitution to White Revolution, edited by Matthew K. Shannon, pp. 57-72. Bloomsbury Academic, New York.

    Mickel, A. and K.G. Olson, 2021. Archaeologists Should Be Activists Too. SAPIENS (7/27).

    *Olson, K.G., 2021. Disciplinary Futures and Reorienting Research: A Reply to Jobson and Rosenzweig on Doing Anthropology in the Age of COVID. American Anthropologist 123(1): 170-175

    *Olson, K.G. and C.P. Thornton, 2021. Tureng Tepe, a Bronze Age Center in Northeastern Iran Revisited (The Wulsin Excavations, 1931). Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies 59(1): 4-35

    *McCorriston, J., A. Buffington, K.G. Olson, L. Martin, W. Abu-Azizeh, T. Everhart, 2020. Ancient Pastoral Settlement in the Southern Mountains: Archaeological Excavations at Shakeel and Halqoot, Dhofar. Journal of Oman Studies 21: 152-171.

    *Olson, K.G., 2020. Figurines and Identity in Bronze Age Iran: An analysis of adornment, context, and use at Tureng Tepe. Archäologische Mitteilungen Aus Iran und Turan Band 49 (2017): 123-147.

    *Olson, K.G. and L.M. Rouse, 2018. A Practical Guide to Meso-Scale Survey with Quadrotor UAV Systems. Advances in Archaeological Practice 6(4): 357-371