The People of

Chris Thornton

National Geographic Society


Dr. Chris Thornton is the Lead Program Officer of Research, Conservation, and Exploration at the National Geographic Society, and Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bat in the Sultanate of Oman.

After receiving his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, Chris taught at George Mason University before moving to National Geographic. There he oversees research grants in anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, geography, geology, and paleontology, and helps grantees better communicate through popular media.

He has lectured extensively around the world as an expert on the origins of metallurgy and the rise of complex societies in the Middle East and Central Asia. Just this year, Chris was made an honorary Elder of the Quiche Maya Church in Guatemala.