William A. Lovis

  • Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology
  • Curator Emeritus of Anthropology, MSU Museum
  • Senior Research Associate, Lithic Microwear Research Laboratory, Microwear Associates, Ltd.


E-31 McDonel Hall, inside E-37 McDonel Hall

Curriculum vitae

Research Interests

    Hunter Gatherer Archaeology and Ethnography
    The Transition to Horticulture
    Applied Theory, Analytic Methods and Research Design
    Human-Environment Interactions and Regional Taphonomy
    Paleoenvironmental Change
    Public Policy including Forensic Archaeology, Law Enforcement Training, and Repatriation
    Great Lakes/Midwest and Europe

Biographical Info

Professor and Curator Emeritus Lovis continues his long-standing relationship with the Department of Anthropology. Lovis’ research explores the relationship between human economic adaptation and mobility, and changing Holocene environments in the Great Lakes region, northern England and Europe, primarily among hunter-gatherers and transitional horticulturalists. He brings a fundamentally interdisciplinary approach to this inquiry, primarily in concert with the biological and earth sciences, and is a strong proponent of ethnographic analogy to refine archaeological interpretation of early hunter-gatherers. Analytically, this multidisciplinary perspective includes collaborative experiments on carbonized food residue formation and interpretation of resultant isotope signatures to track the transition from hunting and gathering to horticulture in the Great Lakes, and with colleagues explores the taphonomy of Freshwater Reservoir Offsets and their effect on carbonized residue ages. He harbors an abiding interest in applied theory and method, especially as it relates to research design. Dr. Lovis has substantial experience in public policy, particularly surrounding repatriation nationally and internationally, as well as forensic applications including human remains investigations and law enforcement training.

Dr. Lovis continues his multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research into the formation and preservation of stratified archaeological sites within the dynamic coastal dune settings of Lake Michigan. He and colleagues recently published (2019) a National Park Service Technical Report (No 145) on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and collaborates on development of a tree ringed based regional climate model. He continues to engage in research from a decade of fieldwork on Mesolithic sites in Yorkshire with colleagues at The Lithic Microwear Research Laboratory, Leeds, UK, with which he is affiliated. Dr. Lovis has held numerous elected and appointed offices in professional organizations and currently sits on the Anthropology Steering Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Career Award from the Midwest Archaeological Conference, and the 2022 Merit Award from the Michigan Archaeological Society. He was Inaugural Editor (2017-2020) for the Midwest Archaeological Perspectives monograph series, co-sponsored by the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Inc. and the University Press of Notre Dame. He continues to lead research and publication efforts on a pre-Columbian mummy repatriated to the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Professor and Curator Emeritus Lovis continues to work with students, and assists student research in the Archaeological Science and Experimental Archaeology laboratory.

Current Research Projects

I am research active (2021) as project lead, co-investigator, or collaborator. I am PI on the Hipwater Parkhill Paleoindian Locale Project. I coordinate the interdisciplinary, inter-institutional analysis of a 15th c CE Andean mummy, including an article submitted to Textos Antropologicos, collaboration on maize genetics, and funerary beads. I am lead on National Park Service Technical Report No 145 (2019) on federally managed sites at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and co-investigator on research exploring northern hemispheric climate drivers for dune activation. I am coauthor on dendrochronological and climate research for northern Lake Michigan including an article in Climate Research, a recent comment in American Antiquity, and am coauthor on a Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology article documenting Cucurbita pepo ssp. pepo from the Detroit River. I am also conducting analysis on a pair of modified wolf jaws from the Saginaw drainage. I continue my carbonized ceramic residue/FRO, and collaborative Mesolithic research, the latter including a recent coauthored book chapter. My independent interests involve detailed analysis of E. Leacock’s field notes from her 1950s work with the Montagnais/Naskapi of Labrador.


Books, Monographs, Edited Journal Issues

  • Lovis, W. A., G. W. Monaghan , and A. F. Arbogast (Coauthors). 2019.  Site 20LU115, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Synthesis of Archeological and Environmental Data Recovery. Technical Report, No. 145.  National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, Lincoln, Nebraska. Limited Distribution. (vi+94 pp, figures, references, appendices)
  • Lovis, W.A. and R. Whallon (Co-Editor and Contributor) 2016. Marking the Land: Hunter-Gatherer Creation of Meaning in their Environment. Routledge, New York and London. (xiv+297 pp.,figures, references) (hbk ISBN 978-1-138-95099-3; ebk ISBN 978-1-315-66845-1)
  • Brouwer Burg, M., J.H.M. Peeters, and W.A. Lovis (Co-Editor and Contributor) 2016. Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis in Archaeological Computational Modeling. Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology. Springer International Publishing, New York. (xxv+267 pp, figures, references) (hbk ISBN 978-3-319-27831-5; ebk ISBN 978-3-319-27833-9)
  • Raviele, M.E. and W.A. Lovis (Co-Editor and Contributor). 2014. Reassessing the Timing, Rate and Adoption Trajectories of Domesticate Use in th Midwest and Great Lakes.  Occasional Papers, Volume 1.  Midwest Archaeological Conference, Inc. (iv+174 pp, figures, references) (ISSN 23729899)
  • Brashler, J. G. and W. A. Lovis  (Guest Co-Editor and Contributor). 2008 (published 2013).  The Tie that Binds: Essays in Honor of Margaret B. Holman. Special issue of The Michigan Archaeologist 54(1-4):1-224.  
  • Lovis, W. A., A. F. Arbogast and G. W. Monaghan.  2012.   The Geoarchaeology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes.  Environmental Research Series No. 2.  Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing.  (xvi+194 pp, figures, references, appendices) (hbk. ISBN 978-1-61186-051-1; ebook ISBN 978-1-60917-348-7)
  • Whallon, R., W. A. Lovis and R. K. Hitchcock (Co-Editor and Contributor).  2011.  Information and Its Role in Hunter-Gatherer Bands. Ideas, Debates and Perspectives 5.  Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, University of California – Los Angeles, Los Angeles.  (xvi+368 pp., 55 Figures and Plates, References)  (Paper ISBN 978-1-931745-64-2; hbk.  ISBN 978-1-931745-63-5)
  • Lovis, W. A., R. Whallon and R. E. Donahue (Guest Co-Editor and Contributor).  2006. Mesolithic Mobility, Exchange, and Interaction.  Special Issue of Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 25(2):175-274.  (i+99 pp., figures, tables, references) (ISSN 0278-4165)
  • Monaghan, G.W. and W. A. Lovis. 2005.  Modeling Archaeological Site Burial in Southern Michigan: A Geoarchaeological Synthesis. Environmental Research Series No. 1, Michigan Department of Transportation. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing. (v+278pp, CD-ROM)  (ISBN 0-87013-738-7)
  • Lovis, W.A. (Editor). 2004. An Upper Great Lakes Archaeological Odyssey: Essays in Honor of Charles E. Cleland. Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, MI. (xiv+247 pp) (ISBN 0-87737-045-1)
  • Selected Articles and Book Chapters Since 2017.
  • Kooiman, S. M., L. G. Goldstein, W. A. Lovis, and A. F. Arbogast.  2022. The Precontact Archaeology of the Michigan State University Campus and the Campus Archaeology Program (CAP).  Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 47(2).(Refereed ISSN 0146-1109)
  • Lovis, W. A., A. F. Arbogast, D. H. Carr., R. E. Donahue, K. Rademaker and K. McKeehan. 2022. The Parkhill Phase Middle Paleoindian Hipwater Site, Great Lakes, U.S.A. PaleoAmerica: A journal of early human migration and dispersal 8(4):315-321+supplements. (Refereed ISSN 2055-5563; Online ISSN 2055-5571) (doi 10.1080/20555563.2022.2135478)
  • Lovis, W. A., G. W. Monaghan, D. R. Hayes, K. C. Egan-Bruhy. 2021. Floodplain Dispersal of Domestic Cucurbit (C. pepo ssp. pepo) ca. 1000 BP: A Case Study from the Detroit River/Fox Creek, Michigan (or) Bill’s Seed. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 46(1):1-16. (Refereed ISSN 0146-1109)
  • Lovis, W. A. and R. E. Donahue. 2021. Transient Campsites, Logistic Campsites, and the Cumulative Taphonomy of Malham Tarn Site A: A Persistent Place in the Northern Pennines. Chapter 22 In Foraging Assemblages, Volume 1 (Papers Presented at the Ninth International Conference on the Mesolithic in Europe MESO 2015, Belgrade, Serbia), edited by D. Boric, D. Antonovic, B. Mihailovic, pp 148-154. Serbian Archaeological Society and The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Belgrade and New York. (Refereed, ISBN 978-86-80094-14-4/16-8)
  • Hart, J. P., W. A. Lovis and M. A. Katzenberg. 2021. Early Maize in Northeastern North America: A Comment on Emerson et al. (2020).  American Antiquity 86(2):425-427+Supplementary Data.  (Refereed ISSN 0002-7316)
  •  Warner, S. M., S. J. Jefferies, W. A. Lovis, A. F. Arbogast, and F. W. Telewski. 2021. Tree-Ring-Reconstructed Late-Summer Moisture Conditions, 1546 to Present, Northern Lake Michigan, USA. Climate Research 83:43-56. (Refereed ISSN 0936-577x)
  • Lovis, W. A., G. W. Monaghan, and A. F. Arbogast. 2020. Reconstructing the Precontact Late Woodland Archaeology of Site 20LU115 and the Landscape History of Sleeping Bear Point (SBP), Great Lakes, USA. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 15(1):1-21. (Refereed ISSN 1556-4894) https://doi.org/10.1080/15564894.2019.165988
  • Frederick, K. C., R. K. Albert, and W. A. Lovis. 2019. The Green Site Acorn Parching Feature: Analysis and Actualistic Replication of an Early Late Woodland Acorn Processing Pit. In Papers in Honor of James Skibo, edited by F. Neubauer and M. Schaefer. The Wisconsin Archeologist 100(1-2):48-56. (Refereed ISSN 0043-6364)
  • Lovis, W. A. and R. E. Donahue. 2019. Teasing Spatial Structure from Malham Tarn Site A: Preliminary Analysis of a Bioturbated Mesolithic Site in West Yorkshire. Mesolithic Miscellany 27(1):27-38. (Refereed and Editor Review ISSN 0259-3548) https://sites.google.com/site/mesolithicmiscellany/welcome
  • Lovis, W. A. and D. H. Carr.  2018.  The Kennedy Paleoindian Biface: Late Paleoindian in the Northwestern Lake Michigan Basin.  The Wisconsin Archeologist 99(2):47-54. (ISSN 0043-6364)
  • Lovis, W. A..  2018. Preserving Michigan’s Archaeological Heritage: A Cooperative Endeavor.  In Working with Responsible Private Collectors and Collections, edited by M. Shott, M. Seeman, and K. Nolan, pp. 21-28.  Occasional Papers, Volume 3.  Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, Midwest Archaeological Conference, Inc. (Digital Open Access Publication, Invited and Refereed ISSN 0146-1109)
  • Hart, J. P., K. Taché, and W. A. Lovis.  2018. Freshwater Reservoir Offsets and Food Crusts: Isotope, AMS, and Lipid Analyses of Experimental Cooking Residues.  PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196407 (eISSN 1932-6203, Digital Open Access Publication).
  • Albert, R. K, S. A. Kooiman, C. A. Clark, W. A. Lovis.  2018.  Earliest Microbotanical Evidence for Maize in the Northern Lake Michigan Basin.  American Antiquity.  83(2):345–355. (ISSN 0002-7316)
  • Arbogast, A. F., M.  Luehmann, G. W. Monaghan, W.A. Lovis, H. Wang. 2017.  Paleoenvironmental and geomorphic significance of bluff-top dunes along the Au Sable River in Northeastern Lower Michigan, USA. Geomorphology 297:112-121. (ISSN: 0169-555X, eISSN: 1872-695X)
  • Dept. of Anthropology