Richard Gould


Richard Gould: Learning From Ancient Human Cultures

Were they happier than we are?
Sunday, October 12, 2014, 12:17 PM

Richard Gould is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Brown University (where I was his student) and one of the foremost experts on hunter-gatherer societies. In the 1960s, he and his wife spent years living with the aborigines in Australia's Western Desert, observing first-hand their way of life. Through study of these people and many others around the world, his work focused on understanding how human culture and behavior adapts to environmental stress, risk and uncertainty.

We've invited him to this week's podcast to discuss what insights ancient cultures may be able to offer in terms of "natural human behavior" that may fit well within our specie's blueprint. » Read more


Richard Gould

Richard Gould

Since completing his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1965, Dr. Gould studied human cultural and behavioral adaptations to stress, risk, and uncertainty. Initially these studies looked at living societies specifically, in NW California, in Australia's Western Desert, and in subarctic Finland and related the findings to archaeological remains. This interest later extended to the study of shipwrecks and losses at sea, with underwater fieldwork in Bermuda and in the Dry Tortugas, FL. He was Assistant Curator of North American Archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, NY, (1965-71) and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu (1971-81).

He came to Brown University as Professor of Anthropology in 1981. After the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, he led trial forensic recoveries at the WTC and full recoveries at "The Station" Nightclub Fire scene in West Warwick, RI, in 2003. Most recently, he assisted with victim identifications and recoveries as a forensic anthropologist with the federal Disaster Mortuary Operations Recovery Team (DMORT) in Gulfport, MS, and in New Orleans/St. Bernard Parish, LA, immediately following hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Gould has published 12 books and monographs as well as 44 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 75 other articles (in Natural History, The Ecologist, Rhode Island History, Pacific Discovery, Masterkey, Archaeology, SAA Archaeological Record, The Encyclopedia of Underwater & Marine Archaeology, and the Oxford Companion to Archaeology), and 70 reviews and review articles. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is a past-Chair of Section H (Anthropology) of the AAAS. He was also a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and past-Chair of the AAA Committee on Ethics. He currently serves as a forensic anthropologist with DMORT and founded Forensic Archaeology Recovery (FAR), a volunteer team based in Rhode Island.