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Department of Anthropology

 Dennis Stanford
Dr Stanford in front of poster


Dennis Stanford, Ph.D.


Division: Archaeology

Area of Specialization:
Paleoindian archaeology

Fax:  202-357-2208
E-mail Address:

Department of Anthropology Mailing Address


MA and PhD from the University of New Mexico
BA from the University of Wyoming

Professional Activities:

Curator of North and South American Paleolithic, Asian Paleolithic and Western United States archaeological collections
Director of the Smithsonian’s Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program
Head of the Division of Archaeology
Chairman of the Department of Anthropology (1992-2000)

Research Interests/Profile:

My research interests include origins and development of New World Paleo-Indian cultures in relation to changing climate and ecosystems during the terminal Pleistocene, interdisciplinary Quaternary studies, stone tool technology, experimental and public archaeology.  I have conducted field work in Siberia, China, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, Plains and Southeastern States; I have also worked in Central and South America as well as Southwestern Europe.

I conduct fieldwork and research on Paleoindian archaeology throughout the Americas with special attention to human-environmental interactions and material culture; produce exhibitions and public programs; prepare scholarly and popular publications, and films; serve as advisor for graduate and PhD students and instructs undergraduates, interns, and volunteers in field and laboratory work.

Selected Publications:

1975 Stanford, D.  Walakpa Site Alaska: It’s Place in the Birnirk and Thule Cultures.  Smithsonian  Contributions to Anthropology Number  20. 226 pp.
1980 R. L. Humphrey and D. Stanford, editors, Pre-Llano Cultures of the Americas: Paradoxes and Possibilities. The Anthropological Society of Washington. 
1982 Frison, G., and D. Stanford, editors. The Agate Basin Site A Record of the Paleoindian Occupation of the Northwestern High Plains.  Academic Press.
1992 Stanford, D., and J. Day editors.  Ice Age Hunters of the Rockies.  Denver Museum of Natural History and University Press of Colorado, Boulder.
2000 Stanford, D., and B. Bradley.  The Solutrean Solution.  Scientific American Discovering Archaeology 2:54 – 55.
2002 Stanford, D, and B. Bradley.  Ocean Trails and Prairie Paths?  Thoughts about Clovis Origins.  In Nina Jublansky, ed.  The First Americans, pp 255-271.  Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 27.
2003 Stanford, D.  Mammoth Renderings.  Mammoth Trumpet 18:10-12
2003 Stanford, D. and M. Jodry.  Key Points from Paleo Notes and Collections. In Elizabeth Morris and Barbara Breternitz eds., David Breternitz: Retrospective of a Southwestern Archaeologist, pp. 79-89. Southwestern Lore, 70:3.
2004 Bradley, B., and D. Stanford. The North Atlantic ice-edge Corridor: A possible Paleolithic route to the New World.  World Archaeology, 36:459-478.
2005 Stanford, D., R. Bonnichsen, D. Meggers, D. and D. Gentry. Steele.  Paleoamerican origins: Models, Evidence, and Future Directions.  In R. Bonnichsen, B. Lepper, D. Stanford and M. Waters eds. Paleo-American Origins: Beyond Clovis. Pp. 313-355. Texas A & M University, College Station.
2005 Bonnichsen, R., M. B. Lepper, D. Stanford and M. Waters, editors.    
Paleo-American Origins: Beyond Clovis.  Texas A & M Press, College Station.
2006 Ubelaker, D.,  B. Smith, D. Stanford, and E. Szathmary, editors.  Environment, Origins, and Population.  Volume 3 of the Handbook of North American Indians. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
2006 Stanford, D., Introduction: Origins of North American Aborigines.  In Environment, Origins, and Population, pp.16-22 Volume 3 of the Handbook of North American  Indians, edited by D. Ubelaker, B. Smith, D. Stanford, and E. Szathmary.  Smithsonian Institution. Washington DC.


1988 The Search for Ancient Americans. The Infinite Voyage. WQED - National Academy of Sciences.
1997 Ancient Peoples of Colorado. Margaret Jodry and Ted Timreck, Spofford Films for the Colorado Historical Society.
2000 Mystery of the First Americans. NOVA.
2001 Who Discovered America?  Planet Science.
2002 They were here: Ice Age Humans in South Carolina. South Carolina Educational Television.
2004 America BC. Naked Science-National Geographic Society.
2004 First Americans. Wall-to-Wall for BBC.
2004 America’s Stone Age Explorers. NOVA.
2004 Coming into America. Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers.
2005 Ice Age Columbus: Who were the First Americans? Discovery Channel.
2008 America 10,000 BC. History Channel.

Awards, Honors, Appointments

2008 NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, Research Proposal Review Panel.
2007 Lamb Springs Archaeological Preserve, Colorado, Board of Directors.
2006 Hudson-Meng Archaeological Park, Nebraska (USDA_NFS),
Board of Directors.
2005 Visiting Professor, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
2003 Scientific Advisory Board, Center for the Study of the First             Americans, Texas A&M
1999 Scientific Advisory Board, George C. Frison  Institute of             Archaeology and Anthropology,  University of Wyoming.
1999 Distinguished Service Award, Kokopelli Foundation Board, Museum of the Rockies
1998 Honorary Founding Member of the World Atlatl Association.
1997-2001 Editorial Advisory Board, American Archeology
1992 C. T. Hurst Award for Outstanding Contributions to Colorado Archaeology, Colorado Archeological Society
1992-1999 Member Kokopelli Board of Trustees, Museum of the Rockies.
Distinguished Alumnus, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Wyoming.
1989-2000 Research Associate, Denver Museum of Natural History
1989 Visiting Distinguished Professor, Alaskan Quaternary Center,
University of Alaska.
1986 Distinguished Alumnus, University of Wyoming.
1984-2003 Scientific Advisory Board, Center for the Study of the First Americans, O.S.U.
1981-1984 Advisory Board Institute for Quaternary Sciences, University of Maine.
1976-1978 Advisory Panel for Anthropology, National Science Foundation.


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