Professor John J. Shea

Left: At Field Lab in Omo Kibish, Ethiopia, January 2014 
(I. Wallace Photo)
Right:  Flintknapping at Stony Brook (Justin Pargeter photo).

Professor John J. Shea
Anthropology Dept. and Turkana Basin Institute
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364 USA


2014 State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

Sigma XI Distinguished Lecturer (2012-2014).

B.A. 1982 Boston University (Archaeology, Anthropology).
Ph.D. 1991 Harvard University (Anthropology).  

Archaeology of human evolution (Paleolithic archaeology), the Pleistocene prehistory of Southwest Asia and Eastern Africa.
Stone tools, lithic analysis, experimental archaeology, complex projectile technology, bushcraft, survival skills.
Paleoanthropology, origin and dispersal of Homo sapiens, extinction of the Neandertals, evolution of human behavioral variability.

  • The Unstoppable Species:  The Emergence and Dispersal of Homo sapiens.  Book project (2019-2021). Status: Under contract with Cambridge University Press.
  • Prehistoric Stone Tools of Eastern Africa: A Guide.  Book Project (2016-2019). Illustrated guide to stone tools from Eastern African sites dating from the ethnographic present to > 3.4 million years ago.  Status: Published May 2020.

  • Stone Tools in Human Evolution: Behavioral Differences among Technological Primates. Book Project (2014-2016). 
  • Analysis of an Early Upper Paleolithic stone tool assemblage from Mughr el-Hamamah, Jordan (2013-2020).
  • Stone Tools in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Near East: A Guide.  Book project synthesizing the stone tool evidence from the East Mediterranean Levant between >1.4 Ma to 6500 years ago (2011-2013).
  • Now Available in Turkish John Shea (2018) Taş Aletler (Stone Tools).  Translated by Murat Karatağ/Murat Karakoç.  Doruk Publications: Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Archaeological survey and excavation of Holocene sites in West Turkana Kenya (2007-2012).  Co-PI with Elisabeth Hildebrand.
  • The Middle Stone Age archaeology of the Lower Omo Valley Kibish Formation, Ethiopia (2000-2003, 2014).  Co-PI with John Fleagle.
  • Experimental and morphometric investigations into the origins of complex projectile weaponry (2001-present).  With (at various times) Mat Sisk, Kyle Brown, Justin Pargeter.
  • Excavations of Ar Rasfa, a Middle Paleolithic Site in Northwest Jordan (1996-1999, 2008-2009).
  • Excavations at 'Ubeidiya, an Early Pleistocene site in Israel (1992-1999). Co-PI with Ofer Bar-Yosef, Eitan Tchernov & Claude Guérin.
Jenna Anderson (Ph.D. student). Co-Advisor with Sonia Harmand (Advisor).

Justin A. Pargeter (Ph.D. 2017) Lithic Miniaturization in the Later Pleistocene of Southern Africa.
Erik Otárola-Castillo (Ph.D. 2017)  A spatio-temporal model of hunter-gatherer foraging ecology across the North American Great Plains throughout the Paleoindian period.
Mathew L. Sisk (Ph.D. 2010) GIS-Assisted Analysis of Contrast between Middle and Upper Paleolithic Settlement Patterns in the Perigord, France.
Amanuel Beyin Yosief (Ph.D. 2009) Archaeological Investigation of the Buri Peninsula and Gulf of Zula, Red Sea Coast, Eritrea.
Ghufran Sabri Ahmad (MA, 2009) The Middle Paleolithic Stone Tool Assemblage from Ar Rasfa: Reconstructing Late Pleistocene Human Behavior in the Jordan Valley.
Kyle S. Brown (MA, 1999) Raw Material Selection and Flake Production in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa: Die Kelders Cave 1 and Montagu Cave, South Africa