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Corey L. Johnson


  • B.A. 2016, University of Montana

Research Focus

My Ph.D. research focuses on the archaeological record of the Nihewan Basin in northern China and what it can teach us about the technological strategies of early Homo as adaptations to new environments when populations began dispersing out of Africa ca. 1.8 million years ago.

Through my research, I analyze stone artifacts from the earliest known period of occupation at Nihewan ca. 1.6-0.8 million years ago to reveal: 1) how early humans selected raw material to make stone tools; 2) how they moved stone tools around their environment; and 3) what technical rules they followed in making stone tools.

More broadly, my research asks why they organized their technology the ways they did, and addresses the long-standing question: why is the earliest archaeological record in East Asia characterized by a prolonged Oldowan technological strategy instead of the derived Early Acheulean technological strategy that was used by early human populations in East and South Africa as well as West and South Asia ca. 1.7-1.0 million years ago?

Selected Publications

Zwyns, N., Paine, C., Tsedendorj, B., Gantumur, A., Talamo, S., Flas, D., Allshouse, A., Libois,  T., Gallo, G., Galfi, J., Johnson, C., Smith, K., Gunchinsuren, B., Hublin, J-J., 2018. Short term occupations at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic in Mongolia: new evidence from the site of Tolbor 34. Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques [Abs.]

Gallo, G., Johnson, C., Watson, S., Smith, K, Smith, G., Turner, E., Villaluenga, A., Hutson, J., Zwyns, N., 2017. Damage morphology, function and the life history of percussive bone tools at the Lower Paleolithic site of Schöningen Germany: an experimental approach. European Society of Human Evolution, P.68 [Abs.].

Johnson, C.L., 2016. Cladistically modeling Oldowan assemblages: Preliminary insights and issues. Paleoanthropology, Pg.14 [Abs.].


Teaching Assistant Assignments:

Human Evolutionary Biology (Spring, 2018)

Lithic Analysis (Winter, 2018)

Human Life Cycles (Fall, 2017)

Human Evolutionary Biology (Winter and Spring, 2017)

Introduction to Archaeology (Fall, 2016)




2015                Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship


2017                UCD Evolutionary Anthropology Summer Fellowship Award

2017                UCD Institute of Social Science Travel and Research Award

2015                UM Kain and McKay Scholarship