Archaeologist and Curator of North American Archaeology

Archeologist Dr. Torben Rick in a brown jacket on a sandy beach. The ocean and blue sky are behind him.
Dr. Torben Rick at his Channel Islands Field Site

Dr. Torben Rick is a research anthropologist and curator in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Torben grew up in coastal southern California and had a love of the ocean and marine biology since childhood. While an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Rick took a course on California Archaeology that sparked his interest in the power of archaeology to help understand the deep cultural connections between people and the ocean. He has been hooked ever since.

Torben received his PhD at the University of Oregon in anthropology, where he was trained in archaeology and the value of interdisciplinary research. He regularly collaborates with biologists, ecologists, geologists, and researchers from a variety of disciplines to investigate human environmental interactions in the past and present. He is deeply committed to demonstrating the value of archaeology to helping understand contemporary issues facing society, especially environmental issues.