Dr. Carlson received his PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1979 and joined the Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University as an Assistant Professor in 1981. Over the next 38 years he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in anthropology, archaeology, and quantitative methods. He developed undergraduate Honors courses in anthropology and archaeology and an undergraduate course in Ancient Civilizations. He received a University Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 1992 and the College Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 2017. His research focuses on the application of quantitative methods to discover and understand patterning in the distribution of artifacts in archaeological sites. He has received over $4 million in state and federal external research funding to recover artifacts from sites that will be destroyed by construction activities. He has authored or co-authored 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, 5 chapters, 2 books, edited 2 other books and written or edited 35 reports of investigations. In 2017 his book Quantitative Approaches to Archaeological Data Using R was published by Cambridge University Press. He has chaired 9 doctoral committees, 11 master’s committees, and served on over 20 others. Dr. Carlson served as Anthropology Department Head from 1999 to 2007.
Dr. Carlson retired from Texas A&M University in 2019.