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Bonnie Pitblado

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Bonnie Pitblado

The Robert E. and Virginia Bell Endowed Professor in Anthropological Archaeology
Ph.D. University of Arizona, 1999

Office: Dale Hall Tower 521A

Research Interests

Archaeology, Paleoindian period, North America, Rocky Mountains.


I am an archaeologist with interests in the initial peopling of the New World more than 13,000 years ago, and particularly in the initial peopling of the Rocky Mountains. I have spent more than 25 years exploring when, why, and how First Nations people began using the high altitude environments of the Rockies, with most of my field work focused on the Gunnison Basin (Colorado). Contrary to most thinking when I began my research, I have learned that early people made something of a beeline for our nation’s backbone, and once in the Rockies, used them extensively (and sometimes intensively) and for a wide range of interesting reasons. Since joining the OU faculty in 2012, I have expanded my research interests to include Oklahoma’s upland areas, terminology that may strike some as an oxymoron but is anything but. Oklahoma has six mountainous regions—all quite different from one another (and certainly very different from the Rockies)—and yet all intriguing in terms of how prehistoric people may have used them. In addition to these research interests, I am passionate about and strongly committed to public archaeology and to finding ways to share what I do with members of the public. I therefore founded and direct the Oklahoma Public Archaeology Network (OKPAN), which sponsors a wide range of statewide programs, including our annual “archaeology month” each October, a biennial “Oklahoma Archaeology Conference,” curricula development for K – 12 classrooms, an archaeological skills workshop series, and more.  For details, visit

Recent Publications

2017    Pitblado, B.L. and K. Rademaker.  Introduction to the thematic issue, The Peopling of High-Altitude Landscapes of the Americas.  Quaternary International 461:1-3.

2016    Pitblado, B.L.  Paleoindian Occupation of the Upper Gunnison Basin, Colorado Rocky Mountains.  North American Archaeologist 37(1):20-60.

Pitblado, Bonnie L. 2014 How Archaeologist and Artifact Collectors Can—and Should—Collaborate to Comply with Legal and Ethical Antiquities CodesAdvances in Archaeological Practice 2(4):338- 352.

Pitblado, Bonnie L. 2014 An Argument for Ethical, Proactive, Archaeologist – Artifact Collector Collaboration. American Antiquity 79(3):385-400.

Recent Courses

  • Anth 1413, Great Discoveries in Archaeology
  • Anth 2113, Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anth 3980, Fieldwork in Archaeology
  • Anth 4763, Archaeological Analysis
  • Anth 4463/5463, Peopling of the New World
  • Anth 4813/5813, Archaeology of North America
  • Anth 5543, Research Design
  • Anth 5923, Lithic Technology and Analysis
  • Anth 5963, Writing for Anthropologists
  • Anth 6713, Archaeological Theory