Terry L. Jones

Terry Jones

Professor of Anthropology


  • Archeology
  • North American prehistory
  • Hunter-gatherer Ecology
  • Maritime Adaptations
  • Areas: California

Contact Information


About Terry L. Jones

Dr. Jones joined the Cal Poly faculty in 1998. His research interests include North American prehistory, hunter-gatherer ecology, and maritime adaptations. His area of geographic expertise is the central California coast, where he has conducted field research for the last 35 years. He is actively involved in research on a number of issues related to the archaeology and ecology of prehistoric California including: the impacts of late Holocene droughts on indigenous populations, the effects of human-caused extinction of the flightless duck (Chendytes lawi) on nearshore ecology during the Holocene, violence and its consequences in Native California, the prehistory of fishing on the central California coast, and possible pre-Columbian Polynesian contact with the New World. His most recently published books focus on the archaeology and prehistory of the Pecho Coast and Morro Bay. His research on the former is conducted as part of Cal Poly archaeological field classes taught each spring.



  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Davis (1995)
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Davis (1989)
  • M.A., Cultural Resources Management, Sonoma State University (1982)
  • B.A., Anthropology and Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Cruz (1978)


Courses Taught

  • ANT 201: Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 202: World Prehistory
  • ANT 309: Elements of Archaeology
  • ANT 310: Archaeological Field Methods
  • ANT 311: Archaeological Laboratory Methods
  • ANT 312: Introduction to Cultural Resources Management
  • ANT 320: California's Native Past



  • 2019 Certificate of Appreciation for Leadership of the Department of Social Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo
  • 2018 State of California, Governor’s Historic Preservation Award, Research and Collaboration for the Restoration of Tstyiwi on the Pecho Coast  
  • 2016 Society for California Archaeology, David A. Fredrickson Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2009 Certificate of Appreciation, Division of Student Affairs, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • 2008 Society for California Archaeology Martin A. Baumhoff Award for Special Achievement
  • 2008 College of Liberal Arts, Richard K. Simons Award for Distinguished Scholarship
  • 2008 California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Distinguished Scholarship Award


Recent Publications

Jones, Terry L. and Kenneth W. Gobalet. 2020 Ecological Determinants Revisited: Food, Fish, and Demography in Central California. In Cowboy Ecologist: Papers in Honor of Robert L. Bettinger, Edited by Roshanne Bakhtiary, Michael Delacorte, and Terry L. Jones, pp. 311-351.  Center for Archaeological Research at Davis, Publication No. 19. University of California Davis, California.

Luci M. Simpson & Terry L. Jones (2020) Sedentism and Settlement in Native California: Research Progress and Prospects, California Archaeology, 12:1, 59-92, DOI: 10.1080/1947461X.2020.1755188

Jones, Terry L., and Brian F. Codding 2019 Foragers on America's Western Edge: The Archaeology of California’s Pecho Coast. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Jones, Terry L., Deborah A., Jones, William R. Hildebrandt, Kacey Hadick, Patricia Mikkelsen 2019 The Prehistory of Morro Bay, Central California’s Overlooked Estuary. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. In press.

Codding, Brian F., Ashley K. Parker, Terry L. Jones 2019 Territorial Behavior among Western North American Foragers: Allee Effects, Within Group Cooperation, and Between Group Conflict. Quaternary International 518:31-40.

Jones, Terry L., and Brian F. Codding 2019 The Native California Commons: Ethnographic and Archaeological Perspectives on Land Control, Resource Use, and Management. In Global Perspectives in Long Term Community Resource Management, edited by Ludomir R. Lozny, and Thomas H. McGovern, pp. 255-280. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Jones, Terry L. 2019 Review of Ancient Ocean Crossings: Reconsidering the Case for Contacts with Pre-Columbian Americas. By Stephen C. Jett. American Antiquity 84:377-378.

Buckner, Janet C., Ryan Ellingson, David A. Gold, Terry L. Jones, and David K. Jacobs 2018 A Novel Taxonomic Relationship for the Extinct Diving Duck Chendytes lawi Documented with Mitogenomics. Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution 122:102-109.

Gobalet, Kenneth W., and Terry L. Jones 2018 Revisiting the Fish Remains from CA-SLO-2, Diablo Canyon, San Luis Obispo County, California: Searching for the Elusive Wolf-eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. 38:101–118.

Webb, Jack, and Terry L. Jones 2018 Experimental Confirmation of the Function of Pitted Stones on the Central California Coast Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. 38:131-136.

Jones, Terry L. 2018 Review of First People: A Revised Chronology for San Diego County, by Dennis R. Gallegos. California Archaeology 10:265-268.

Jones, Terry L. 2018 Review of Traveling Prehistoric Seas: Critical Thinking on Ancient Transoceanic Voyages, by Alice Beck Kehoe. California Archaeology 10:257-260.

Jones, Terry L. Deborah A. Jones, Kacey Hadick, Kenneth W. Gobalet, Judith Porcasi, and William R. Hildebrandt 2017 The Morro Bay Fauna: Evidence for a Medieval Droughts Refugium on the Central California Coast. American Antiquity 82:203-222.

Jones Terry L., David Knight, and Judith Porcasi 2017 The Clemmer Collection Revisited: Re-evaluation of Findings from the 1961 Excavation of CA-SLO-239, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, California. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 37:23–37.

Cook, Emma, Terry L. Jones, and Brian F. Codding 2017 The Function of Pitted Stones: An Experimental Evaluation. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 37:220-231.

Jones, Terry L. 2017 Review of Shellfish for the Celestial Empire: The Rise and Fall of Commercial Abalone Fishing in California. by Todd J. Braje. American Antiquity 82:818-820.

Codding, Brian F. and Terry L. Jones 2016 External Impacts on Internal Dynamics: Effects of Paleoclimatic and Demographic Variability on Acorn Exploitation along the Central California Coast. In The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions, edited by Daniel Contreras, pp. 195-210. Routledge, Oxford.

Jones, Terry L. , Kenneth W. Gobalet, and Brian F. Codding 2016 The Archaeology of Fish and Fishing on the Central Coast of California: The Case for an Under-Exploited Resource. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 41:88-108.

Jones, Terry L. , Kenneth W. Gobalet, Patricia Mikkelsen, Kacey Hadick, William R. Hildebrandt, and Deborah A. Jones 2016 Prehistoric Fisheries of Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, California. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 36:119-146.

Allen, Mark W., Robert Lawrence Bettinger, Brian F. Codding, Terry L. Jones, and Al W. Schwitalla 2016 Resource Scarcity drives Lethal Aggression among Hunter-gatherers: Evidence from Prehistoric Central California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, pnas.1607996113.

Jones, Terry L., and Clayton G. Lebow 2015 Rethinking the Antiquity of Bedrock Mortars on the Central California Coast. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 35:305-312.

Jones, T. L.
2015  Review of After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California by Peter S. Alagona. International Journal of Environmental Studies. In press. 

Allen, Mark W., and Terry L. Jones (editors)
2014  Re-examining a Pacified Past: Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA. 

Schwitalla, Al W., Terry L. Jones, Marin A. Pilloud, Brian F. Codding, and Randy S. Wiberg
2014 Violence among Foragers: The Bioarchaeological Record from central California. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 33:66-83.

Jones, Terry L.
2014 The Pacific Coast of North America. In The Cambridge World Prehistory, edited by Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn. Cambridge University Press, England. In press.

Codding, Brian F., and Terry L. Jones 
2013  Environmental Productivity predicts Colonization, Migration, and Demographic Patterns in Prehistoric California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 110: 14569-14573. 

Jones, Terry L.
2013 Archaeological Perspectives on Prehistoric Conservation in western North America. International Journal of Environmental Studies 70:350-357.

Jones, Terry L., and Jennifer Perry (editors)
2012 Contemporary Issues in California Archaeology. Left Coast Press. Walnut Creek, CA.

Rick, R.C., R. L. DeLong, J.M. Erlandson, T. J. Braje, T.L. Jones, J.E. Arnold, M. Des Lauriers, W. R. Hildebrandt, D. J. Kennett, R. L. Vellanoweth, and T. A. Wake.
2012 Where were the Northern Elephant Seals? Holocene Archaeology and Biogeography of Mirounga angustirostrisThe Holocene 21: 1159-1166.

Jones, T. L., A. A. Storey, E. A. Matisso-Smith, and J.M. Ramírez-Aliaga (editors) 
2011 . AltaMira Press, New York.

Jones, Terry L., and Brian F. Codding
2011    Sampling Issues in Evaluations of Diet and Diversity: Lessons from Diablo Canyon.  In Exploring Methods of Faunal Analysis: Perspectives from California Archaeology, edited by Michael A. Glassow and Terry L. Joslin, pp. 187-198. Cotsen Institute Press. University of California, Los Angeles. 

Jones, Terry L. Jones, Brendan J. Culleton, Shawn Larson, Sarah Mellinger, and Judith F. Porcasi,
2011    Toward a Prehistory of the Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis. In Human and Marine Ecosystems: Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Northeastern Pacific Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters. Edited by T. Rick, and T. Braje. Pp. 243-272. University of California Press, Berkeley.            

Jones, T.L.
2011 California Archaeological Record Consistent with Younger Dryas Disruptive Event. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(50): 109.

Jones, Terry L., and Brian F. Codding
2010  Historical Contingencies, Issues of Scale, and Flightless Hypotheses: A Response to Hildebrandt et al. American Antiquity 75: 689-699.

Codding, Brian F., and Terry L. Jones
2010 Levels of Explanation in Behavioral Ecology: Understanding Seeming Paradoxical Behavior along the Central California Coast. California Archaeology 2:77-91.

Codding, Brian F., Terry L. Jones, and Judith F. Porcasi
2010 Explaining Prehistoric Variation in the Abundance of Large Prey: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Deer and Rabbit Hunting along the Pecho Coast of Central California. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29:47-61. 

Jones, Terry L. 
2009 Archaeological Perspectives on the ExtraTerrestrial Impact Hypothesis, 12,900 B.P.: A View from Western North America. Journal of Cosmology 22:299-300. 

Culleton, Brendan J., Douglas J. Kennett, and Terry L Jones 
2009 Oxygen Isotope Seasonality in a Temperate Estuarine Shell Midden: A Case Study from CA-ALA-17 on the San Francisco Bay, CaliforniaJournal of Archaeological Science 36:1354-1363.

Jones, Terry L., Sebastian C. Garza, Judith F. Porcasi, and Jereme W. Gaeta
2009 Another Trans-Holocene Sequence from Diablo Canyon: New Faunal and Radiocarbon Findings from CA-SLO-585, San Luis Obispo County, CaliforniaJournal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 29:19-31. 

Jones, Terry L., and Kathryn A. Klar 
2009 On Linguistics and Cascading Inventions: A Comment on Arnold 's Dismissal of a Polynesian Contact Event in Southern California American Antiquity 74:173-182.

Rick, Torben, Robert DeLong, Jon Erlandson, Todd Braje, Terry L. Jones, Douglas Kennett, Thomas Wake, and Phillip Walker
2009 A Trans-Holocene Archaeological Record of Guadalupe Fur Seals (Arctocephalus townsendi) on the California CoastMarine Mammal Science 25:487-502.

Jones, T. L., R. T. Fitzgerald, and J. F. Porcasi
2009 The Cross Creek-Diablo Canyon Complex of South Central California: Mid-latitude Pacific Foragers at the Pleistocene-Holocene Boundary. In Maritime Adaptation and Seaside Settlement along the Pacific Coast of North America during the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition Edited by Jim Cassidy, Robert Ackerman, and Irina Ponkratova Journal of North Pacific Prehistory 2:169-202. 

Jones, Terry L.
2008 California Archaeological Record consistent with Younger Dryas Disruptive Event. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105(50): E109. 

Kennett, D. J., Kennett, J. P., West, G. J., Erlandson, J. M, Johnson, J. R., Hendy, I. L.,West, A, Culleton, B. J., Jones, T. L., and T. W. Stafford, Jr.
2008 Wildfire and Abrupt Ecosystem Disruption on California 's Northern Channel Islands at the Ållerød-Younger Dryas Boundary (13.0-12.9 ka). Quaternary Science Review 27:2528-2543. 

Jones, T.L., J. F. Porcasi , J. M. Erlandson, H. Dallas Jr., T. A. Wake, R. Schwaderer
2008 The Protracted Holocene Extinction of California 's Flightless Sea Duck ( Chendytes lawi ) and its Implications for the Pleistocene Overkill Hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105:4105-4108.
Commentary by Donald K. Grayson

Jones, Terry L., Douglas J. Kennett, James A. Kennett, and Brian F. Codding
2008 Seasonal Stability in Late Holocene Shellfish Harvesting on the Central California Coast. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2286-2294.

Jones, Terry L. and Al Schwitalla
2008 Archaeological Perspectives on the Effects of Medieval Drought in Prehistoric California. Proceedings of the 22nd Pacific Climate Workshop . Quaternary International 188:41-58. 

Jones, Terry L., Judith F. Porcasi, Jereme Gaeta, and Brian F. Codding
2008 The Diablo Canyon Fauna: A Coarse-grained Record of Trans-Holocene Foraging from the Central California Mainland Coast. American Antiquity 73:289-316. 

Jones, T. L., and K. A. Klar (editors)
2007 California Prehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity. AltaMira Press, New York. 

Codding, Brian F., and Terry L. Jones
2007 History and Behavioral Ecology during the Middle-Late Transition on the Central California Coast: Findings from the Coon Creek Site (CA-SLO-9), San Luis Obispo County. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 27:23-49. 

Codding, B. F., and T. L. Jones
2007 Man the Showoff? Or the Ascendance of a Just-So Story: A Comment on Recent Applications of Costly Signaling in American Archaeology. American Antiquity 72:349-357. 

Jones, T. L., and K. A. Klar
2006 On Open Minds and Missed Marks: Response to Atholl Anderson. American Antiquity 71:765-770. 

Klar, K . A., and T. L. Jones
2005 Linguistic Evidence for a Prehistoric Polynesia-Southern California Contact Event. Anthropological Linguistics 47:369-400. 

Jones, T. L., and K.Klar
2005 Diffusionism Reconsidered: Linguistic and Archaeological Evidence for Prehistoric Polynesian Contact with Southern California. American Antiquity 70: 457-484. 

Fitzgerald, R. T., T. L. Jones, and A. Schroth
2005 Ancient Long Distance Trade in Western North America: New AMS Radiocarbon Dates from Southern California. Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 423-434. 

Mills, W., M. F. Rondeau, and T. L. Jones
2005 A Fluted Point from Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County, California.  Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 25: 68-74.

Jones, T. L., W. R. Hildebrandt, Douglas J. Kennett, and Judith F. Porcasi
2004 Prehistoric Marine Mammal Overkill in the Northeastern Pacific: A Review of New Evidence. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 24: 69-80. 

Raab, L. M., and T. L. Jones
2004 Prehistoric California: Archaeology and the Myth of Paradise. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 

Jones, T. L.
2003 Prehistoric Human Ecology of the Big Sur Coast, California. Contributions of the University of California
Archaeological Research Facility.  University of California, Berkeley. No. 61. 

Fitzgerald, R. T., and T. L. Jones
2003 On the Weight of the Evidence from Cross Creek: A Reply to Turner. American Antiquity 68:396-399.

Andrews A. H., K. W. Gobalet, and T. L. Jones
2003 Reliability Assessment of Season-of-Capture Determination from Archaeological Otoliths Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 100(2):66-78.

Jones T. L.
2002 Archaeology and Prehistory. In Changes in a California Estuary: A Profile of Elkhorn Slough. Edited by Jane Caffrey, Martha Brown, W. Breck Tyler, and Mark Silberstein. pp. 53-91. Elkhorn Slough Foundation, Moss Landing, CA. 

Jones, T. L., R. T. Fitzgerald, D. J. Kennett, C. H. Miksicek, J. L. Fagan, J. Sharp, and J. M. Erlandson
2002 The Cross Creek Site (CA-SLO-1797) and its Implications for New World Colonization. American Antiquity. 67:213-230. 

Erlandson, J. M., and T. L. Jones (editors)
2002 Catalysts to Complexity: Late Holocene Societies of the California Coast. Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. 

Jones, T. L.
2002 Late Holocene Cultural Complexity along the California Coast. In Catalysts to Complexity: Late Holocene Societies of the California Coast. pp. 1-12. Edited by J. M. Erlandson and T. L. Jones. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. 

Jones, T. L., and J. Ferneau
2002 De-intensification along the central Coast. In Catalysts to Complexity: Late Holocene Societies of the California Coast. pp. 204-231. Edited by J. M. Erlandson and T. L. Jones. Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. 

Jones, T. L., R. Weaver, and L. Flaherty
2002 Archaeology and Prehistory of Cal Poly Lands: 8300 B.C. - A.D. 1587. In Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide, pp.128-136edited by Steven Marx., Cal Poly Press. 

Walker, P. L, D. J. Kennett, T. L. Jones, and R. DeLong
2002 Archaeological Investigations at the Point Bennett Pinniped Rookery on San Miguel Island, California. Proceedings of the Fifth California Islands Symposium, edited by David Browne, Kathryn Mitchell, and Henry Chaney, pp. 628-632. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara. 

Hildebrandt, W. R., and T. L. Jones
2002 Depletion of Prehistoric Pinniped Populations Along the California and Oregon Coasts: Were Humans the Cause? In Wilderness and Political Ecology: Aboriginal Influences and the Original State of Nature, edited by Charles E. Kay and Randy T. Simmons. pp. 72-110. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 

Jones, T. L.
2001 The Prehistory of Big Creek. In Views of a Coastal Wilderness: 20 Years of Research at Big Creek Reserve, edited by J. Smiley, R. Mayer, and E. Engles, pp. 1-18, University of California Natural Reserve System, University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Porcasi, J F., T. L. Jones, and L. M. Raab
2000 Trans-Holocene Marine Mammal Exploitation on San Clemente Island, California: A Tragedy of the Commons Revisted. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19:200-222.

Jones, T. L., B. Rivers, T. L. Joslin, A. Maliarik, D. Alger
2000 An Addendum to Harrington's northern Salinan Place Names. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. 22:1-11.

Jones, T. L., and D. J. Kennett
1999 Late Holocene Sea Temperatures along the central California Coast. Quaternary Research 51: 74-82.

Jones, T. L., G. Brown, L. M. Raab, J. McVicar, G. Spaulding, D. J. Kennett, A. York, and P. L. Walker
1999 Environmental Imperatives Reconsidered: Demographic Crises in western North America during the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. Current Anthropology 40: 137-156.

Jones, T. L., and G. M. Brown
1999 Reply to Comments on: Environmental Imperatives Reconsidered: Demographic Crises in western North America during the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. Current Anthropology 40: 162- 165. 

Fitzgerald, R. T., and T. L. Jones
1999 The Milling Stone Horizon Revisited: New Perspectives from northern and central California. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 21:67-93.

Jones, T. L., and G. Waugh
1997 Climatic Consequences or Population Pragmatism?: A Mid-Holocene Prehistory of the Central California Coast. In Mid Holocene Hunter-Gatherers of the California Coast. edited by M. Glassow and J. M. Erlandson, pp. 111-128. Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles.

Jones, Terry L. 
1996 Mortars, Pestles, and Division of Labor in Prehistoric California: A View From Big Sur. American Antiquity 61: 243-264.

Gobalet K., and T. L. Jones. 
1995 Prehistoric Native American Fisheries of the Central California Coast. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 124:813-823.

Rivers, B., and T. L. Jones. 
1993 Walking on Deer Trails: A Contribution to Salinan Ethnogeography based on the Field Notes of John Peabody Harrington. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 15:146-175.

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