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Judson Finley


Assistant Professor, Anthropology-Archaeology
Utah State University

USU Logan Campus, OM 245F
0730 Old Main Hill
Logan UT 84322-0730
Phone: (435) 797-9621


  • 2008, Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington State University
  • 2001, M.A. in Anthropology from Washington State University
  • 1996, B.A. in Anthropology from University of Wyoming


Dr. Finley's research focuses on the Central Rocky Mountains and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems in northwestern Wyoming and southern Montana where he studies rockshelter formation processes, human response to environmental change, and the effects of culture contact and colonialism on the Native Tribes of Wyoming and Montana. Dr. Finley’s rockshelter studies are in the Bighorn and Pryor Mountains where he is characterizing variability in Late Quaternary formation processes. He is also working with Marcel Kornfeld and Bob Kelly (University of Wyoming), to understand the role of rockshelters in Early Paleoindian (i.e., Clovis and Folsom) settlement strategies.

Dr. Finley is interested in Late Paleoindian (i.e., the Foothills-Mountain Tradition) and Archaic lifeways, particularly the effects of climate change on human foraging patterns. He examines the relationships between rockshelter formation processes, Late Quaternary environmental change, and human foraging behavior expressed in the archaeofaunal record. Dr. Finley’s rockshelter studies use geochronology techniques, such as AMS and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence), macrostratigraphy, and geomorphic processes to link rockshelter formation to environmental change. He plans to add micromorphology to many of the rockshelters he has already characterized and will use stable isotope geochemistry as an additional line of evidence for Late Quaternary environmental change.

Currently, Dr. Finley is conducting a multi-year archaeological training program in Bighorn Canyon National recreation Area in collaboration with Dr. Kelly Branam (St. Cloud State University), Matt Rowe (Indiana University), and the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes of southern Montana. Dr. Finley plans to develop a source analysis program in collaboration with Geology faculty at Utah State University that focuses on obsidian and ceramic artifacts in the Central Rocky Mountains, eastern Great Basin, and northern Colorado Plateau.

                        Photo courtesy of: Dan Baney, Northwest College, Powell, Wyoming


Geoarchaeology; Archaeometry; Paleoecology; Environmental Change; Human-Environmental Interactions; Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology; Cultural Resources Management; High Plains and Rocky Mountains


Finley, Judson Byrd , Kelly Branam, Laura Scheiber, Chris Finley, and Burdick Two Leggins (2012). The Two Eagles Site (24CB2069): A Tipi Encampment in Bighorn Canyon Montana. Archaeology in Montana. In Review.

Finley, Judson Byrd (2012). Southsider Rockshelter (48BH364) as a Case Study of Formation Processes in Sandstone Rockshelters. In Medicine Lodge Creek: Holocene Archaeology of the Eastern Big Horn Basin, Wyoming, vol. 2, edited by G.C. Frison and D.N. Walker. Clovis Press, Avondale, Colorado. In Review.

Scheiber, Laura L., and Judson Byrd Finley (2011). Obsidian Source Use in the Greater Yellowstone Area, Wyoming Basin, and Central Rocky Mountains. American Antiquity 76:372-394.

Scheiber, Laura L., Kelly M. Branam, Judson Byrd Finley, Rebecca A. Nathan, Katherine L. Burnett, Maureen P. Boyle, Dawn M. Rutecki, Aaron E. Erickson, Chris Finley, and Alda Good Luck (2011). "Crow Rediscover a Piece of Their Homeland.”  Archaeological Practice: A Journal of the Society for American Archaeology 1:29-34.

Scheiber, Laura L., and Judson Byrd Finley (2011). Mobility as Resistance: Colonialism Among Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers In The American West. In Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology as Historical Process, edited by Kenneth E. Sassaman and Donald H. Jr. Holly pp. 167-186. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Eckerle, William, Eric Ingbar, Sasha Taddie, Judson Byrd Finley, Michael Drews, and Mary Hopkins (2011). Forecasting Landscape Settings Conducive to Site Burial. I n Archaeology in 3D: Deciphering Buried Sites in the Western U.S., edited by M. Seddon, H. Roberts, and R.V.N. Ahlstrom, pp. 99-113. The SAA Press, Washington DC.

Eckerle, William, Judson Byrd Finley, and Rebecca Hanna (2011). Data Collection Strategies for Assessing Artifact Zone Spatial and Associational Integrity in Sand Occupational Substrates.  In Archaeology in 3D: Deciphering Buried Sites in the Western U.S., edited by M. Seddon, H. Roberts, and R.V.N. Ahlstrom, pp. 167-182. The SAA Press, Washington DC.

Scheiber, Laura L., and Judson Byrd Finley (2010). Mountain Shoshone Technological Transitions Across the Great Divide. In Across the Great Divide: Culture Contact and Culture Change in North America at AD 1500, edited by L.L, Scheiber and M. Mitchell, pp. 128-148. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Scheiber, Laura L., and Judson Byrd Finley (2010). Cyber Landscapes and Domestic Landscapes in the Rocky Mountains. Antiquity 84:114-130.

Surovell, Todd A, Judson Byrd Finley, Geoff Smith, Robert Kelly, and P. Jeffrey Brantingham (2009). Correcting Temporal Frequency Distributions for Taphonomic Bias. Journal of Archaeological Science 36:1715-1724.

Scheiber, Laura L., Judson Byrd Finley, and Maureen P. Boyle (2008). Bad Pass Archaeology.   The American Surveyor April/May:12-22.

Finley, Judson Byrd (2007). Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, and Geomorphology. In Medicine Lodge Creek: Holocene Archaeology of the Eastern Big Horn Basin, Wyoming, edited by G.C. Frison and D.N. Walker, pp. 133-153. Clovis Press, Avondale, Colorado.

Finley, Judson Byrd (2007). The Geologic and Geomorphic Context of Rockshelters in the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming. In On the Shelter’s Ledge: Histories, Theories, and Methods of Rockshelter Research, edited by M. Kornfeld, L. Miotti, and S. Vasil’ev, pp. 173-180. Proceedings of the XV World Congress UISPP, Lisbon, Portugal. British Archaeological Reports S1655. Archaeopress, Oxford, England.

Finley, Judson Byrd , Marcel Kornfeld, Chris C. Finley, Brian Andrews, George C. Frison, and Michael T. Bies (2005). Rockshelter Archaeology and Geoarchaeology in the Bighorn Mountains. Plains Anthropologist 50:227-248.


ANTH 3300 Archaeology of North America, ANTH 5300/6300 Archaeology Field School, ANTH 5330/6330 Geoarchaeology, ANTH 6390 Cultural Resource Management Policy, ANTH 6420 Lithic Analysis



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