Clark Larsen

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Chair and Distinguished SBS Professor

Department of Anthropology

Address:4034 Smith Laboratory
174 W. 18th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
Country:United States



           Clark Spencer Larsen, a native of Nebraska, is Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University.  He received his B.A. in anthropology from Kansas State University (1974), and his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) in physical anthropology from the University of Michigan. Larsen was a Fellow-in-Residence at the Smithsonian Institution (1978-79), and has held an appointment as Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History since 1980.  He was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006.  Larsen taught previously at the University of Massachusetts, Northern Illinois University, Purdue University, and the University of North Carolina, where he was the Amos Hawley Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. He was the Marshall Urist Lecturer for the American Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons (2000), and Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (2006-08).  He was Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley and is Adjunct Professor of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy at Duke University.  He is a former president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the largest association of physical anthropologists in the world.  In 2008, he was awarded the AAPA’s Gabriel W. Lasker Distinguished Service Award.  He has served on or is currently serving on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, Anthropological Science, Journal of Anthropological Sciences, PLoS One, and the Cambridge History of Diet and Nutrition Project and is a contributing editor to the Journal of Archaeological Research.  He served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology from 2001 to 2007, and is the founding editor of the book series, Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives (University Press of Florida).

 Larsen is an internationally known authority on bioarchaeology, the study of human remains from archaeological settings.  His research is primarily focussed on biocultural adaptation in the last 10,000 years of human evolution, with particular emphasis on the history of health and the intersection between biology and culture.  His long-term research in the American Southeast has been called “…the most comprehensive data for all of North America” (in Population History of North America).  With Richard Steckel, Paul Sciulli, and Phillip Walker, Larsen is the co-director of the Global History of Health Project, an international collaboration involving the study of ancient skeletons from all continents in order to track health changes since the late Paleolithic.  He co-directs (with Simon Hillson) the study of Neolithic human remains from Çatalhöyük, Turkey, one of the earliest cities in the world. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leakey Foundation, the Edward John Noble Foundation, and the National Geographic Society.  He has authored or edited 27 books and monographs, including Bioarchaeology: Interpreting Behavior from the Human Skeleton (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Skeletons in Our Closet: Revealing Our Past through Bioarchaeology (Princeton University Press, 2002), and Bioarchaeology of Spanish Florida: The Impact of Colonialism (University Press of Florida, 2001).  He is the author of more than 175 scientific papers, which have appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Scientific American, Journal of World Prehistory, Journal of Archaeological Research, Quaternary International, Journal of Human Evolution, American Antiquity, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Journal of Nutrition, Human Biology, and the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.  His most recent work is Our Origins: Discovering Physical Anthropology (W.W. Norton, 2008), a leading introductory textbook.

Research Interests

climate, health, prehistory, archaeology