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Anthropology | John Blong

Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Hunter-gatherer adaptations and landscape use, peopling of the Americas, prehistory of Alaska and the Great Basin, environmental archaeology, geoarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, lithic analysis


Current Research

I am an environmental archaeologist. My research examines the interaction between hunter-gatherers and the environment in prehistoric North America, with a focus on the peopling of the Americas and human use of marginal ecosystems. My broad research goal is to investigate initial human adaptation to the varied ecological landscapes across North America, and human response to subsequent environmental change.


I have conducted research across North America and Siberia. I have active field research programs in Alaska and Great Basin, where I study human use of marginal upland and arid environments and how this informs on the process of human settlement of the Americas. My research is grounded in archaeological science; I use geoarchaeological and paleoecological methods to provide environmental context for interpreting past human behavior, and lithic artifact and paleoethnobotanical analyses to investigate human subsistence strategies and land-use patterns. I seek general explanations for human behavior from an adaptive perspective. I encourage students interested in pursuing field and laboratory-based MA and PhD projects in Alaska and the Great Basin to contact me to discuss applying to our program.



Selected Publications


2020   Blong, John C., Martin E. Adams, Gabriel Sanchez, Dennis L. Jenkins, Ian D. Bull, Lisa-Marie Shillito. Investigation of Younger Dryas and early Holocene subsistence in the northern Great Basin through multiproxy analysis of coprolites from the Paisley Caves, Oregon, USA. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12:224.

2020   Shillito, Lisa-Marie, John C. Blong, Eleanor J. Green, Eline N. van Asperen. The what, how and why of human coprolite analysis in archaeology. Earth Science Reviews 207:103196.

2020   Shillito, Lisa-Marie, Helen L. Whelton, John C. Blong, Dennis L. Jenkins, Thomas J Connolly, Ian D. Bull. Pre-Clovis occupation of the Americas identified by human faecal biomarkers in coprolites from Paisley Caves, Oregon. Science Advances 6(29):eaba6404

2019   Blong, John C. Regional Stratigraphy and Human Occupation of the Upper Susitna River Basin, Central Alaska Range. Geoarchaeology 34(4):380-399.

2018   Blong, John C. Late-Glacial Hunter-Gatherers in the Central Alaska Range and the Role of Upland Ecosystems in the Peopling of Alaska. PaleoAmerica 4(2):103–133.

2017   Blong John C. Early Holocene Settlement of the Upper Susitna River Basin, Central Alaska. Journal of Ancient Technology Laboratory 13(4):27–50.

2014    Blong, John C., Lyndsay M. DiPietro. Stratigraphy, Dating, and Lithic Assemblages from Middle- to Late-Holocene Sites in the Ewe Creek Drainage, Denali National Park and Preserve. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 12(2):74–90.

2013   Blong, John C. Paleoindian Toolstone Provisioning and Settlement Organization at the Higgins Site (18AN489). In: In the Eastern Fluted Point Tradition, edited by Joseph A. Gingerich, pp. 259–279. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.



Contact Information

College Hall 202
TEL: 509-335-7406