TAC Festival 2017 Keynote Speaker:

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Christopher P. Thornton is the Senior Director of Cultural Heritage and interim Vice-Chair of the Committee for Research and Exploration at the National Geographic Society, as well as Director of Excavations for the Penn Museum at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat in the Sultanate of Oman.   

Chris earned his A.B. from Harvard University in Archaeometry and Archaeology, graduating in 2001.  He received an M.Phil. in World Prehistory: Southern and Eastern Europe from the University of Cambridge in 2002 before entering the Anthropology department at the University of Pennsylvania.   While at Penn he received several awards including an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2002–2005), a White-Levy Grant for Archaeological Publications, Co-P.I. (2006–2008), and was elected to the Kolb Fellowship in 2002.  An expert in the origins of metallurgy and early complex societies in Iran and Arabia, Chris received his Ph.D. in 2009 from Penn.  

After lecturing at Penn and George Mason University, he joined National Geographic to oversee research grants.   As an archaeologist, Chris has worked in South Africa, Hungary, Cyprus, Iran, and Oman.  He has published on the Iranian sites of Tepe Yahya, Shir-i Shian, Sang-e Chakhmaq, Hasanlu, Hotu and Belt Caves, Rashak III Rock Shelter, and Tepe Hissar, as well as on the Omani sites of Bat and Al-Ayn.  He has lectured at universities and conferences around the world on the origins of metallurgy and the rise of complex societies in the Middle East and Central Asia.  In addition to his role advising the National Geographic Society on issues related to cultural heritage, Chris works closely with National Geographic media to promote grantees and explorers in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, geography, geology, and paleontology.

Dr. Thornton’s Keynote Address will take place at TAC Festival Banquet the evening of Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in the Hilton Eugene and Conference Center.  Attendance is by reservation.