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John J. Shea Professor Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences

Contact Information

S-521 Social and Behavioral Scien

Stony Brook, 11794

631/632-7665

Biography

John Shea’s research focuses on the archaeology of human origins and evolution during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. His interests include early hominid adaptive radiations, the origin of Homo sapiens, the extinction of the Neanderthals, and lithic (stone tool) technology. He has investigated these subjects through projects in Israel, Jordan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Kenya.  An expert stone-tool-maker, Shea uses the results of experiments using stone tools to improve archaeological methods for reconstructing prehistoric human behavior.

Education

  • PhD, Harvard University
  • BA, Boston University

Research Grants

Award Start End Sponsor Type Amount Status
Later Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers and Herders in West Turkana, Kenya: 2008 Field Survey 2008-05-21T00:00:00 2009-04-30T00:00:00 National Geographic Society Nonfederal 14989 Closed
DOCT. DISS. FOR ZACHARY DAVIS: LITHIC RESOURCE EXPLOITATION STRATEGIES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN MSA 2000-08-01T00:00:00 2001-07-31T00:00:00 LSB Leakey Nonfederal 4650 Closed
Archaeology of the Lower Omo Valley Kibish Formation 2013-02-01T00:00:00 2014-10-31T00:00:00 National Geographic Society Nonfederal 20000 Closed
Funds for Justin Pargeter: 1st and 2nd Year Baldwin Support 2013-05-08T00:00:00 2015-09-30T00:00:00 Leakey Foundation Nonfederal 23964 Closed
Taking shape: Investigating the Earlist Acheulean at Kokiselei, Kenya (1.7-1.76Ma) 2017-01-01T00:00:00 2017-12-31T00:00:00 Leakey Foundation Nonfederal 8252 Approved
Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award for Justin Pargeter: Lithic Minimalization and Ecological Risk 2015-08-01T00:00:00 2017-07-31T00:00:00 National Science Foundation Federal 25546 Approved

Publications

  1. The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in the Middle East and Neighbouring Regions, Jean-Marie Le Tensorer, Reto Jagher & Marcel Otte eds The Archaeology of an Illusion: The Middle-Upper Paleolithic Transition In The Levant. Etudes et Recherches Archéologiques de l’Université de Liège (ERAUL) 2011 169-182
  2. Author Article - Peer Reviewed Author Current Anthropology Homo sapiens Is as Homo sapiens Was: Behavioral Variability vs. ‘Behavioral Modernity’ in Paleolithic Archaeology Published 2011 52 1 1 - 35
  3. Author Article Journal of Field Archaeology Four middle Holocene pillar sites in West Turkana, Kenya 2011 36 3 181 - 200
  4. Author Article Evolutionary Anthropology Neanderthal news: Extinct species exhibits variability 2011 20 5 198 - 200
  5. Author Article Evolutionary Anthropology Stone tool analysis and human origins research: Some advice from uncle Screwtape 2011 20 2 48 - 53
  6. Author Article Casting the Net Wide: Papers in Honor of Glynn Isaac and His Approach to Human Origins Research Sorting Out the Muddle in the Middle East: Glynn Isaac’s Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses Applied to Theories of Human Evolution in the Late Pleistocene Levant American School of Prehistoric Research/Peabody Museum Press, Cambridge, MA 2011 213-231
  7. Author Article American Scientist Refuting a Myth About Human Origins 2011 99 2 128
  8. Out of Africa 1: The First Hominin Colonization of Eurasia Springer 2010
  9. Author Article Journal of Field Archaeology The Middle Stone Age of West Turkana, Kenya 2010 35 4 355 - 364
  10. Transitions in Prehistory: Essays in Honor of Ofer Bar-Yosef Oxbow Published 2009
  11. Co-Author Book - Co-Author Reconstructing Late Pleistocene Human Behavior in the Jordan Valley: The Middle Paleolithic Stone Tool Assemblage from Ar Rasfa Archaeopress Published 2009
  12. Author Article Journal of Archaeological Science Experimental use and quantitative performance analysis of triangular flakes (Levallois points) used as arrowheads 2009 36 9 2039 - 2047
  13. Author Article Journal of Human Evolution Intrasite spatial variation of the Omo Kibish Middle Stone Age assemblages: Artifact refitting and distribution patterns 2008 55 3 486 - 500
  14. Author Article Journal of Human Evolution The Middle Stone Age archaeology of the Lower Omo Valley Kibish Formation: Excavations, lithic assemblages, and inferred patterns of early Homo sapiens behavior 2008 55 3 448 - 485
  15. Author Article Journal of Human Evolution Paleoanthropology of the Kibish Formation, southern Ethiopia: Introduction 2008 55 3 360 - 365
  16. Author Article Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Lithic Use-Wear Evidence for Hunting by Neandertals and Early Modern Humans from the Levantine Mousterian 2008 4 1 189 - 197
  17. Author Article Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews The Lower and Middle Paleolithic in the Middle East and neighboring regions 2008 17 5 205 - 207
  18. Author Article Quaternary Science Reviews Transitions or turnovers? Climatically-forced extinctions of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals in the east Mediterranean Levant 2008 27 23 2253 - 2270
  19. Author Article Journal of Human Evolution The endurance running hypothesis and hunting and scavenging in savanna-woodlands 2007 53 4 434 - 438
  20. Author Article Journal of Field Archaeology Reconnaissance of Prehistoric Sites on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea, NE Africa 2007 32 1 1 - 16
  21. Author Article Journal of Human Evolution The evolution of endurance running and the tyranny of ethnography: A reply to Pickering and Bunn (2007) 2007 53 4 439 - 442
  22. Author Article Journal of Archaeological Science Mobility patterns and core technologies in the Middle Paleolithic of the Levant 2006 33 9 1293 - 1309
  23. Author Article Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews Child's play: Reflections on the invisibility of children in the paleolithic record 2006 15 6 212 - 216
  24. Author Article Journal of Archaeological Science The origins of lithic projectile point technology: evidence from Africa, the Levant, and Europe 2006 33 6 823 - 846
  25. Author Article Evolutionary Anthropology Lithic microwear analysis in archeology 2005 1 4 143 - 150
  26. Author Article Evolutionary Anthropology Annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society 2004 13 6 203 - 204

Courses

Term Role Course ID Description
Spring 2017 Primary Instructor ANT 418 Lithic Technology
Spring 2017 Primary Instructor DPA 699 Dissertation Resrch on Campus
Spring 2017 Primary Instructor DPA 701 Dissertation off Campus Intern
Fall 2017 Primary Instructor ANT 104 Intro to Archaeology
Fall 2017 Primary Instructor ANT 417 Primitive Technology
Fall 2017 Primary Instructor ANT 476 Undergrad Teachng Practicum II
Fall 2017 Primary Instructor DPA 517 Primitive Technology
Fall 2017 Primary Instructor DPA 700 Dissertation off Campus Domest
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor ANT 268 Archaeology of Human Origins
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor ANT 373 Archaeology of Human Dispersal
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor ANT 487 Independent Research in Anthro
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor DPA 573 Archaeology of Human Dispersal
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor DPA 699 Dissertation Resrch on Campus
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor DPA 700 Dissertation off Campus Domest
Spring 2016 Primary Instructor DPA 701 Dissertation off Campus Intern
Fall 2016 Primary Instructor ANT 104 Intro to Archaeology
Fall 2016 Primary Instructor ANT 268 Archaeology of Human Origins
Fall 2016 Primary Instructor DPA 699 Dissertation Resrch on Campus
Fall 2016 Primary Instructor DPA 700 Dissertation off Campus Domest
Spring 2015 Primary Instructor ANT 268 Archaeology of Human Origins
Spring 2015 Primary Instructor ANT 418 Lithic Technology
Spring 2015 Primary Instructor ANT 475 Undergrad Teachng Practicum I
Spring 2015 Primary Instructor DPA 610 Individual Research
Spring 2015 Primary Instructor DPA 699 Dissertation Resrch on Campus
Fall 2015 Primary Instructor ANT 104 Intro to Archaeology
Fall 2015 Primary Instructor ANT 417 Primitive Technology
Fall 2015 Primary Instructor ANT 475 Undergrad Teachng Practicum I
Fall 2015 Primary Instructor DPA 699 Dissertation Resrch on Campus
Fall 2015 Primary Instructor DPA 701 Dissertation off Campus Intern
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor ANT 104 Intro to Archaeology
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor ANT 373 Archaeology of Human Dispersal
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor ANT 487 Independent Research in Anthro
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor ANT 573 Archaeology of Human Dispersal
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor ANT 599 M.A. Thesis Research
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor DPA 610 Individual Research
Fall 2014 Primary Instructor DPA 610 Individual Research
Fall 2013 Primary Instructor ANT 104 Intro to Archaeology
Fall 2013 Primary Instructor ANT 417 Primitive Technology
Fall 2013 Primary Instructor ANT 475 Undergrad Teachng Practicum I

Honors

Type Description Year
Honors Sigma Xi Distinguished Lectureship 2012

Scholarly Activities

Activity Title Date
Presentation/Paper at a conference John J. Shea, The Origins and Antiquity of Complex Projectile Technology: A Global Perspective. Presented at Complex Projectile Technology: New Insights from Ethnoarchaeology, Experimentation, and Archaeology. Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, April 19, 2012, Memphis, TN. Organizers: John Shea and Russell Greaves. 2012
Festival Participation John J. Shea (2011) Flint: Sharpening Stones at the Dawn of Technology. Chicago Humanities Festival, November 14, Chicago IL. 2011-12-14
Performance 2010 “The Human Spark" for PBS, Graham Chedd, Alan Alda, Directors. Featured Commentator, Credited Scientific Consultant. 2010
Presentation/Paper at a conference Origins of Human Uniqueness and Behavioral Modernity. Symposium and workshop held at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, February 20-22, 2010. Presented: Complex Projectile Technology: Uniquely Human? 2010
Presentation/Paper at a conference The Roots of the Middle Paleolithic An Uniquely Eurasian Evolutionary Experiment. Symposium held at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, St. Louis, MO, April 15, 2010. Presented: Why Didn't Neandertals Make Complex Projectile Weapons? 2010
Performance 2009 “Becoming Human," PBS/WGBH (Nova Series), Boston, Graham Townsley, Director. Featured Commentator, Credited Scientific Consultant. 2009
Presentation/Paper at a conference Calpe 2009, Human Evolution 150 Years After Darwin. Symposium held at the Gibraltar Museum, Gibraltar, UK, September 11, 2009. Presented: Why did it take so long for Homo sapiens to disperse out of Africa? A Tale of Two Dispersals. 2009
Lecture John J. Shea (2011) Archaeology of Human Origins, Part of Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2011 Holiday Lecture Series, Stones, Bones, and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans. October 6, 2011, Chevy Chase, MD.
Performance 2011 "The History of the Earth in Two Hours", by Flight 33 Productions, Ltd., for the History Channel, Sam Dolan, Producer. Featured Commentator, Credited Scientific Consultant.
Performance 2011 "The History of the Earth", by Flight 33 Productions, Ltd., for the History Channel, Sam Dolan, Producer. Featured Commentator.
Performance 2011 “Planet of the Apemen: Battle for Earth” for BBC Northern Ireland, Directed by Dave Stewart. Featured Commentator, Credited Scientific Consultant.
Performance 2012 "Human" for NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Directed by Taro Ohtsubo. Featured Commentator, Credited Scientific Consultant.
Presentation/Paper at a conference Lithic Technology and the Status of Rocks in Archaeology: A Tribute to George Odell. Symposium held at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Sacramento, CA, March 31-April 3, 2011. Presented: What Difference Does 1.3 Million Years Make: Behavioral Variability in the Jordan Valley.
Presentation/Paper at another Univ. John J. Shea (2010) Omo Kibish, Ethiopia: The Archaeology of the Oldest “Modern” Humans. Archaeological Institute of America, Long Island Society, Hofstra University, NY, November 14, 2010.

Professional Service

Service Title Date
Review Boards - Agency, Institute, Gov. National Science Foundation 2011 - 2013
Service on Editorial Boards Journal of Human Evolution 2011 - 2013
Service on Editorial Boards Evolutionary Anthropology 2009 - 2013
Service on Editorial Boards Journal of Ethnoarchaeology and Experimental Archaeology 2009 - 2013

University Service

Service Title Date
College/University Committee CAS Senate Academic Judiciary 2011 - 2012
College/University Committee IDPAS (Graduate Program) Executive Committee 2011 - 2012
Departmental Committee 2012 Job Search Committees 2011 - 2012
College/University Committee CAS Senate Academic Judiciary 2011 - 2012
College/University Committee CAS Senate Academic Judiciary 2010 - 2011
Departmental Committee Executive Committee, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences 2010 - 2011
College/University Committee College of Arts and Sciences Senate Academic Judiciary Committee, Member 2009 - 2010
College/University Committee Scientific Advisory Board, Turkana Basin Institute 2009 - 2010
Departmental Committee Executive Committee, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences 2009 - 2010

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