College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Dr. John G. Jones

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

Dr. Jones received his BA in Anthropology from Youngstown State University in 1983, and his MA (Anthropology 1988) and PhD (Anthropology 1991) degrees from Texas A&M University. His MA thesis was entitled Subsistence Patterns on the Central Coast of Peru: The Coprolite Evidence and his dissertation was Pollen Evidence of Prehistoric Forest Modification and Maya Cultivation in Belize. In 1991, Dr. Jones was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, where he stayed until he assumed the role of Associate Director of the Palynology Laboratory at Texas A&M University in 1994. He joined the WSU team in November 2003.

Although Dr. Jones has worked in a number of areas over the years, including Ireland, Turkey, China, and throughout the United States, his primary area of focus is Mesoamerica and the New World tropics. Currently, he is conducting research in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru. Dr. Jones has long had an interest in the origins of agriculture and his pollen research has documented some of the earliest evidence for Zea mays cultivation in the lowlands of Tabasco. During the past four years, Dr. Jones has directed NSF-funded research in the Lesser Antilles. This energetic program of sediment coring is aimed at documenting population movements, early settlement, deforestation, reforestation and agriculture through this region. As part of this project, research has been conducted on Trinidad, Grenada, Barbados, Martinique, Marie-Galante, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Croix and Puerto Rico. He is also directing and supervising research efforts in Kenya with graduate student Ryan Szymanski.

Dr. Jones is also working on several historical archaeology projects including landscape reconstruction at Montpelier, the home of James Madison and landscape and vegetation reconstruction at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. He has recently initiated research at Colonial Williamsburg.

Finally, Dr. Jones has been applying the tool of palynology towards the field of law enforcement, where he has used pollen to help solve crimes, to demonstrate the illegal importation of foreign goods, and to pinpoint the origin of archaeological artifacts smuggled into the United States from Latin America.

Undergraduate Courses Taught

General Anthropology, Anth 101
America before Columbus, Anth 331
Past Environments and Culture, Anth 370
Maya, Aztec and Inca Civilizations, Anth 340

At the graduate level, he teaches Anthropology 576, Palynology and Anth 544 Tropical Areas course.

Representative Publications


Jones, John G. (2007) Pollen Analysis. The Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Deborah Pearsall (ed), Vol 3., 1855-1859, Elsevier Press.

Pohl, Mary E. D., Dolores R. Piperno, Kevin O. Pope and John G. Jones (2007) Microfossil Evidence for Pre-Columbian Maize Dispersals in the Neotropics from San Andres,     Tabasco, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 104 (16):6870-6872.

Neff, Hector, D. Pearsall, J. G. Jones, B. Arroyo and D. Freidel (2006) Climate Change and Population in the Pacific Lowlands of Southern Mesoamerica. Quaternary Research 65: 390-400.

Siegel, P.E., J. G. Jones, D. M. Pearsall and D. P. Wagner ( 2005) Environmental and Cultural Correlates in the West Indies: A View from Puerto Rico. Chapter 3. In Ancient Borinquen: Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Native Puerto Rico.   Edited by Peter Siegel. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 88-121.

Jones, John G., and B Voorhies (2004)
Human and Plant Interactions. Chapter 6 In Coastal Collectors in the Holocene. University Press of Florida 300-343.

Piperno, D.R. and J.G. Jones (2003)
Paleoecological and Archaeological Implications of a Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Record of Vegetation and Climate from the Pacific Coastal Plain of Panama. Quaternary Research 59 (1): 79-87.

K. Pope, M. Pohl, J. Jones, D. Lentz, C von Nagy, F. Vega and I. Quitmyer (2001)
Origin and Environmental Setting of Ancient Agriculture in the Lowlands of Mesoamerica. Science 292 (5520): 1370.

J. Jones, V. Bryant and E. Weinstein (1998)
Pollen Analysis of Ceramic Containers from a Late Iron II or Persian Period Shipwreck Site near Haifa, Israel. In Bryant, V. and Wrenn J., eds., New Developments in Palynomorph Sampling, Extraction, and Analysis, Vol 33, Contribution Series, American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, Dallas, 61-74.

Pohl, M., K.Pope, J. Jones, J. Jacob, D. Piperno, S. DeFrance, D. Lentz, J. Gifford, M.Danforth and K. Josserand (1996)
Early Agriculture in the Maya Lowlands. Latin American Antiquity 7(4), 355-72.

J. Jones (1994)
Pollen Evidence for Early Settlement and Agriculture in Northern Belize. Palynology, Vol.18, 207-13.

J. Jones and V. Bryant (1992)
Phytolith Taxonomy in Selected Species of Texas Cacti. In Phytolith Systematics:Emerging Issues. Ed by George Rapp, Jr. and Susan C. Mulholland, Plenum Press, 215-238.

Dr. John G. Jones

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