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headshot of Carl  P. Lipo

Carl P. Lipo

Professor; Associate Dean for Research and Programs

Anthropology; Harpur College of Arts and Sciences


Lipo is an archaeologist studying cultural change of human populations. He uses evolutionary theory as a means of developing methods for studying cultural transmission and the process of natural selection acting on cultural systems. His work has explored community patterning among prehistoric potters of the Mississippi Valley, patterns of inheritance among stone tools producers in North America and the conditions that led the populations of Easter Island (Rapa Nui, Chile) to construct their famous monumental statues. In addition to the study of artifact variability and geochronology, he has interests in remote sensing as a means of efficiently and non-destructively studying the archaeological record. This work includes the use of magnetometry, resistivity, conductivity, thermal imagery, photogrammetry, LiDAR and ground penetrating radar.

Sample Publications:

DiNapoli, Robert J., Carl P. Lipo, and Terry L. Hunt (2021)         Triumph of the commons: sustainable community practices on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Sustainability. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/21/12118

DiNapoli, Robert J., Carl P. Lipo, Timothy de Smet, and Terry L. Hunt (2021) Thermal imaging shows submarine groundwater discharge plumes associated with ancient settlements on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile). Remote Sensing. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13132531

Davis, Dylan S., Gino Caspari, Carl P. Lipo, Matthew C. Sanger (2021) Deep Learning Reveals Extent of Archaic Native American Shell-Ring Building Practices. Journal of Archaeological Science. https://doi.org/10.26207/ry6k-q463

DiNapoli, Robert N., Enrico Crema, Carl P. Lipo, Timothy Rieth, and Terry Hunt (2021) Approximate Bayesian Computation of radiocarbon and paleoenvironmental record shows population resilience on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Nature Communications. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-24252-z

Mischen, P., and C.P. Lipo (2021) The role of culture in sustainable communities: the case of Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) SN Social Sciences. 1(115). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00124-7

Lipo, Carl P., Robert J. DiNapoli, Mark E. Madsen, and Terry L. Hunt (2021) Population structure drives cultural diversity in finite populations: A hypothesis for localized community patterns on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile). PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250690


  • PhD, University of Washington

Research Interests

  • Evolution of Past Human Populations
  • Models of Cultural Transmission
  • Methods in Remote Sensing, Geophysics
  • North American Prehistory, Prehistory of the Pacific

Teaching Interests

  • Archaeological Laboratory Methods
  • Archaeological Remote Sensing
  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Humans and the Environment
  • Eastern North American Prehistory

More Info

Research Profile

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