Swallow Hall, a 19th Century Gothic Building,
home of the Department of Anthropology

Lee Lyman

Lee Lyman
Office Address: 
115 Business Loop 70, room 322
Office Hours: 
7:15 to 7:45 am Monday - Friday or by appointment

Student Opportunities
There are many opportunities for students (undergraduate, MA, and PhD) to work with me. I have supervised students working on faunal remains, human remains, lithic artifacts, and rock art, and several have done research on the history of archaeology. More recently, graduate students are doing projects involving ancient DNA and trace elements in faunal remains. In the past, students have brought a project, collection, or idea for a project to me for guidance; several had only a vague notion of what they wanted to do. All of my students have produced professional quality results, most of which have been published in professional journals.


A primary research interest concerns the mammalian faunal history of Washington state and adjacent areas (Oregon, Idaho). Generally I seek to discern the biogeographic history of individual taxa, the morphological (chronoclinal) history of individual taxa, and the paleoclimatic implications of biogeographic and size change of species. My research demands knowledge of taphonomic and quantitative issues as well as a diverse set of analytical techniques and biological and ecological principles and concepts. These are topics that my students learn if they have an interest in zooarchaeology.

Nearly as important as the first, since the late 1980s I have explored the implications of zooarchaeological research in particular and paleozoological research in general for conservation biology and wildlife management. I have published widely on this topic, including several case studies in biological conservation journals, as well as two books (one authored, one co-edited). Students under my direction are beginning to apply analytical tools developed in paleozoology such as analysis of ancient DNA and trace-element analysis to paleo-mammalian remains with conservation implications driving their research. I suspect this will become a common-place research tactic as long-curated collections are revisited with new analytical techniques in hand.

A third research interest concerns the epistemology and history of Americanist archaeology. As of 2008, this aspect of my research is winding down, though I continue to teach the history of archaeology and of biological anthropology as part of the required graduate curricula. Other research interests include the modification and application of Darwinian evolutionary theory to cultural, particularly archaeological, phenomena.


Teaching Philosophy
I regularly teach Anth. 2020/2021 (Fundamentals of Archaeology), Anth. 4820/7820 (Zooarchaeology), and Anth. 8020 (History of Anthropology II- Biological/Physical Anthropology and Archaeology). In all of my classes I use my own research, whether accomplished 20 years ago, yesterday, or on-going, to help illustrate various concepts, methods of research, or theories.

My job as a teacher involves two inter-related goals: (a) ensuring that students learn the subject matter, and (b) prompting students to develop and perfect their reasoning skills. I expect more from students than an ability to regurgitate definitions or discussions of concepts; I expect them to produce well-reasoned arguments concerning how and why one concept, method, or theory (paradigm or approach) is to be preferred over an alternative.


Selected Publications: 

Lyman, R. L. 2015. The history of "laundry lists" in North American Zooarchaeology. In Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 39, pp. 42-50. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2015. On the variable relationship between NISP and NTAXA in bird remains and in mammal remains. In Journal of Archaeological Science 53, pp. 291-296. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2015. North American Paleoindian Eyed Bone Needles: Morphometrics, Sewing and Site Structure. In American Antiquity 80(1), ppl 146-160.[pdf]

Lyman, R. L., Boulanger, M. T. and Schmitt, D. N. 2014. Stone Rings in the Umatilla National Forest, Southeastern Washington. In Journal of Northwest Anthropology 48(2): 159-187. [pdf]

Ramsay, H. L. and Lyman, R. L. 2014. Development of a metric technique for identification of rib number (position) in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus): an initial attempt. In Journal of Archaeological Science 52, pp. 250-255. Elsevier [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2014. Terminal Pleistocene change in mammal communities in sourtheastern Washington Stat, USA. In Quaternary Research, edited by Derek B. Booth and Alan R. Gillesple, pp. 295-303. Elsevier [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2014. Paleoenvironmental implications of two relative indicator rodent taxa during the Pleistocene to Holocene transition in south-eastern Washington state, USA. In Journal of Quaternary Science 29(7) 691-697. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2014. Bone Density and Bone Attrition. In Manual of Forensic Taphonomy, edited by James T. Pokines and Steven A. Symes, pp. 51–72. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.  [labeled as: 2014 human bone density]

Lyman, R. L. 2013. Taxonomic Composition and Body-Mass Distribution in the Terminal Pleistocene Mammalian Fauna from the Marmes Site, Southeastern Washington state, USA. Paleobiology 39:345–359.  [labeled as: 2013 Paleobiology]

Lyman, R. L. 2013. Paleoindian Exploitation of Mammals in Eastern Washington State. American Antiquity 78:227–247.  [labeled as: 2013 Amer. Antiq.]

Lyman, R. L. 2013. A Three-Decade History of the Duration of Peer Review. Journal of Scholarly Publishing 44:211–220.  [labeled as: 2013 J. Scholarly Publishing]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. Applied Zooarchaeology: History, Value, and Use. In Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology, edited by S. Wolverton and R. L. Lyman, pp. 208–232. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.  [labeled as: 2012 Chptr 10]

Wolverton, S., R. L. Lyman, and C. R. Randklev. 2012. Introduction to Applied Zooarchaeology. In Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology, edited by S. Wolverton and R. L. Lyman, pp. 1–22. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.  [labeled as: 2012 Chptr 1]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. Lewis R. Binford’s Impact on Zooarchaeology: A Consideration of Three Volumes (and assorted other things) that Altered the Way We Think about the Bones of Human Prey. Ethnoarchaeology 4:55–78.  [labeled as: 2012 Binford & zooarchy]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. A Warrant for Applied Paleozoology. Biological Reviews 87:513–525.  [labeled as:  2012 Warrant for applied paleozoo]

Lyman, R. L., C. N. Rosania, and M. T. Boulanger. 2012. Comparison of Fluoride and Direct AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Bone. Journal of Field Archaeology 37:226–237.  [labeled as:  2012 fluoride dating]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. The Influence of Screen-Mesh Size, and Size and Shape of Rodent Teeth on Recovery. Journal of Archaeological Science 39:1854–1861.  [labeled as:  2012 Screen mesh]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. Biodiversity, Paleozoology, and Conservation Biology. In Paleontology in Ecology and Conservation, edited by Julien Louys, pp. 147–169. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.  [labeled as: 2012 biodiversity & CB]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. A Historical Sketch on the Concepts of Archaeological Association, Context, and Provenience. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 19:207–240.  [labeled as: 2012 association, context, prov]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. Human-Behavioral and Paleoecological Implications of Terminal Pleistocene Fox Remains at the Marmes Site (45FR50), Eastern Washington State, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews 41:39–48.  [labeled as:  2012 Marmes fox]

Lyman, R. L. 2012. Rodent-Prey Content in Long-term Samples of Barn Owl (Tyto alba) Pellets from the Northwestern United States Reflects Local Agricultural Change. American Midland Naturalist 167:150–163.  [labeled as: 2012 Amer.Midl.Nat.]

Lyman, R. L. 2011. Paleoecological and Biogeographical Implications of Late Pleistocene Noble Marten (Martes americana nobilis) in Eastern Washington State, U.S.A. Quaternary Research 75:176-182. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2011. A History of Paleoecological Research on Sea Otters and Pinnipeds of the Eastern Pacific Rim. In Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions and Sea Otters: Integrating Archaeology and Ecology in the Northeast Pacific, edited by T. J. Braje and T. C. Rick, pp. 19-40. University of California Press, Berkeley. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2011. Paleozoological Data Suggest Euroamerican Settlement Did Not Displace Ursids and North American Elk from Lowlands to Highlands. Environmental Management 47:899-906. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2010. Taphonomy, Pathology and Paleoecology of the Terminal Pleistocene Marmes Rockshelter (45FR50) -Big Elk- (Cervus elaphus), Southeastern Washington State, USA. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 47:1367-1382. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2010. American Archaeology Textbooks as Reflections of the History of the Discipline. North American Archaeologist 31:1-25. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2010. Paleozoology's Dependence on Natural History Collections. Journal of Ethnobiology 30:126-136. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2010. Mandibular Hypodontia and Osteoarthritis in Prehistoric Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) in Eastern Washington State, USA. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 20:396-404. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2010. Prehistoric Anthropogenic Impacts to Local and Regional Faunas Are Not Ubiquitous. In The Archaeology of Anthropogenic Environments, edited by Rebecca M. Dean. Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional Paper No. 37, pp. 204-224. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2010. What Taphonomy Is, What It Isn't, and Why Taphonomists Should Care about the Difference. Journal of Taphonomy 8:1-16. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and T. L. VanPool. 2009. Metric Data in Archaeology: A Study of Intra-analyst and Inter-analyst Variation. American Antiquity 74:485-504. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., T. L. VanPool, and M. J. O'Brien. 2009. The Diversity of North American Projectile-Point Classes, Before and After the Bow and Arrow. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28:1-13. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2009. Graphing Evolutionary Pattern and Process: A History of Techniques in Archaeology and Paleobiology. Journal of Human Evolution 56:192-204. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2009. The Holocene History of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) in Eastern Washington State, Northwestern USA. The Holocene 19:143-150. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2008. Climatic Implications of Latest Pleistocene and Earliest Holocene Mammalian Sympatries in Eastern Washington State, USA. Quaternary Research 70:426-432. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., T. L. VanPool, and M. J. O'Brien. 2008. Variation in North American Dart Points and Arrow Points When One or Both Are Present. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2805-2812. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2008. Estimating the Magnitude of Data Asymmetry in Paleozoological Biogeography. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 18:85–94. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and K. M. Ames. 2007. On the Use of Species-Area Curves to Detect the Effects of Sample Size. Journal of Archaeological Science 34:1985–1990. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2007. The Holocene History of Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) in Eastern Washington State. Northwest Science 81:104–111. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2007. Archaeology’s Quest for a Seat at the High Table of Anthropology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26:133–149. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2007. What is the “Process” in Cultural Process and in Processual Archaeology? Anthropological Theory 7:217–250. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2006. Paleozoology in the Service of Conservation Biology. Evolutionary Anthropology 15:11–19. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2006. Identifying Bilateral Pairs of Deer (Odocoileus sp.) Bones: How Symmetrical is Symmetrical Enough? Journal of Archaeological Science 33:1237–1255. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2006. Archaeological Evidence of Anthropogenically Induced Twentieth-Century Diminution of North American Wapiti (Cervus elaphus). American Midland Naturalist 156:88–98. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2006. Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Abundance of Columbian White- Tailed Deer, Portland Basin, Washington and Oregon, U.S.A. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:278–282. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2006. Presentist History as a Means to Overturn Qualified Authority: A (False) Warrant for a New Archaeology in the 1960s and 1970s. Histories of Anthropology Annual Vol. 2, edited by R. Darnell and F. W. Gleach, pp. 103–122. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2005. Analyzing Cutmarks: Lessons from Artiodactyl Remains in the Northwestern United States. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:1722–1732. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2005. Within-Taxon Morphological Diversity as a Paleoenvironmental Indicator: Late-Quaternary Neotoma in the Bonneville Basin, Northwestern Utah. Quaternary Research 63:274–282. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2004. The Concept of Equifinality in Taphonomy. Journal of Taphonomy 2:15–26. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2004. Late-Quaternary Diminution and Abundance of Prehistoric Bison (Bison sp.) in Eastern Washington State, U.S.A. Quaternary Research 62:76–85. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and K. Bassett. 2004. Late-Pleistocene Female Bison antiquus from Central Missouri. Current Research in the Pleistocene 21:99–100. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2004. A History of Normative Theory in Americanist Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 11:369–396. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and K. P. Cannon. 2004. Applied Zooarchaeology, Because It Matters. In Zooarchaeology and Conservation Biology, edited by R. L. Lyman and K. P. Cannon, pp. 1–24. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2004. Identification and Paleoenvironmental Significance of Late Quaternary Ermine (Mustela erminea) in the Central Columbia Basin, Washington, Northwestern USA. The Holocene 14:553–562.

Lyman, R. L. 2004. Aboriginal Overkill in the Intermountain West of North America: Zooarchaeological Tests and Implications. Human Nature 15:169–208. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and K. M. Ames. 2004. Sampling to Redundancy in Zooarchaeology: Lessons from the Portland Basin, Northwestern Oregon and Southwestern Washington. Journal of Ethnobiology 24:329–346. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2004. Nomothetic Science and Idiographic History in Twentieth-Century Americanist Anthropology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 40:77–96. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2003. Pinniped Behavior, Foraging Theory, and the Depression of Metapopulations and Nondepression of a Local Population on the Southern Northwest Coast of North America. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22:376–388. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2003. Cultural Traits: Units of Analysis in Early Twentieth-Century Anthropology. Journal of Anthropological Research 59:225–250. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., E. Power, and R. J. Lyman. 2003. Quantification and Sampling of Faunal Remains in Owl Pellets. Journal of Taphonomy 1:3–14. [pdf]

Church, R. R., and R. L. Lyman. 2003. Small Fragments Make Small Differences in Efficiency When Rendering Grease from Fractured Artiodactyl Bones by Boiling. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:1077–1084. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and R. J. Lyman. 2003. Lessons from Temporal Variation in the Mammalian Faunas from Two Collections of Owl Pellets in Columbia County, Washington. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 13:150–156. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2003. The Influence of Time Averaging and Space Averaging on the Application of Foraging Theory in Zooarchaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:595–610. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and R. Wadley. 2003. Sustainable Yield and Conservation Goals. Science 301:309. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2002. Taxonomic Identification of Zooarchaeological Remains. The Review of Archaeology 23(2):13–20. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and J. L. Harpole. 2002. A. L. Kroeber and the Measurement of Time’s Arrow and Time’s Cycle. Journal of Anthropological Research 58:313–338. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and S. Wolverton. 2002. The Late Prehistoric–Early Historic Game Sink in the Northwestern United States. Conservation Biology 16:73–85. [see Nature 416:488– 489] [pdf]

Darwent, C., and R. L. Lyman. 2002. Detecting the Postburial Fragmentation of Carpals, Tarsals, and Phalanges. In Advances in Forensic Taphonomy, edited by W. D. Haglund and M. H. Sorg, pp. 355–377. CRC Press, Boca Raton. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2001. The Direct Historical Approach and Analogical Reasoning in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 8:303–342. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., E. Power, and R. J. Lyman. 2001. Ontogeny of Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and Montane Voles (Microtus montanus) as Owl Prey. American Midland Naturalist 146:72–79. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 2000. Building Cultural Chronology in Eastern Washington: The Influence of Geochronology, Index Fossils, and Radiocarbon Dating. Geoarchaeology 15:609–648. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2000. Chronometers and Units in Early Archaeology and Paleontology. American Antiquity 65:691–707. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 2000. Measuring and Explaining Change in Artifact Variation with Clade-Diversity Diagrams. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19:39–74. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., and M. J. O’Brien. 1999. Americanist Stratigraphic Excavation and the Measurement of Culture Change. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 6:55– 108. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L., M. J. O’Brien, and V. Hayes. 1998. A Mechanical and Functional Study of Bone Rods from the Richey–Roberts Clovis Cache, Washington, U.S.A. Journal of Archaeological Science 25:887–906. [pdf]

Wolverton, S., and R. L. Lyman. 1998. Measuring Late Quaternary Ursid Diminution in the Midwest. Quaternary Research 49:322–329. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 1995. A Study of Variation in the Prehistoric Butchery of Large Artiodactyls. In Ancient Peoples and Landscapes, edited by E. Johnson, pp. 233–253. Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 1989. Taphonomy of Cervids Killed by the 18 May 1980 Volcanic Eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington, U.S.A. In Bone Modification, edited by R. Bonnichsen and M. Sorg, pp. 149–167. University of Maine Center for the Study of Early Man, Orono. [pdf]

Lyman, R. L. 1986. On the Analysis and Interpretation of Species List Data in Zooarchaeology. Journal of Ethnobiology 6:67–81. [pdf]