• Director of the Turkana Basin Institute and Research Associate, SAS
  • Annual Lecturer in Anthropology
  • Specialization: hominin evolution and ecology, Old World prehistory, zooarcheology; Africa, Europe
  • Degree and University: PhD, Stanford University, 2011


Fax: 732-932-1564


Ph. D., Anthropology, Stanford University, 2011
Thesis entitled: “Taphonomy and Zooarchaeology of the Middle Pleistocene Site of Orgnac 3 (Ardèche Valley, Southeastern France)”
Advisor: Dr. Richard Klein

M.S., Anthropology (Phys Anth/Human Evolution Specialization), University of Pennsylvania, 2004
Thesis entitled: “Estimating Endocranial Capacity from 3-D CT: Methodological Issues”. Advisor: Dr. P. Thomas Schoenemann.

B.A., Anthropology (Honors) & Environ Studies (Honors), University of Pennsylvania 2004
Thesis entitled: “The Effect of Regional Environment on Global Cranial Variation”. Advisor: Dr. Janet Monge.

Teaching Interests

Topics: paleoanthropology, taphonomy, zooarchaeology

Research Interests

The goal of my scientific career is to contribute to paleoanthropology by supplying new data and analyses in three areas of the science:
1) developing, standardizing, and utilizing better methodology for recording and analyzing fossil and modern human morphological variation and zooarchaeological data;
2) engaging in rigorous field work, using detailed and advanced methods to find more fossil specimens and archaeological sites, in order to fill in the main gaps in the hominid record;
3) with the information gained from areas 1 & 2, testing hypotheses about the evolution, ecology, and behavior of fossil hominids.

Current Projects

Over the last three years, my research program has expanded to include taphonomic and zooarchaeological studies of Middle and Late Pleistocene sites in France and Plio-Pleistocene sites in Africa, in order to test hypotheses about the evolution, ecology, and behavior of fossil hominins.  I have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Richard Klein and apply the methods he has developed over several decades to the fossil fauna from Orgnac 3, a Middle Pleistocene site that has provided important yet little-studied hominin remains and abundant lithic and faunal material.  My dissertation research has focused on building a taphonomic and paleoecological framework with which to analyze the fossil fauna in order to reconstruct hominin subsistence behavior during the “Muddle in the Middle”. I am working with Drs. Ludovic Slimak (CNRS), Christian Tryon (NYU) and others on a Leakey Foundation-funded project to revise and refine the chronology of the Orgnac 3 site using new methods such as micro-tephra fingerprinting and K/Ar dating. Co-director Ludovic Slimak and I are planning future excavations at Orgnac 3, in addition to our current work at the Late Pleistocene site of Le Grand Abri aux Puces, and at the Late Mousterian/Pre-Aurignacian site of l’Abri Rothchild (please see personal website for details and links to publications), for which I am the paleoanthropologist/zooarchaeologist.  Starting summer 2011, I have been integrated into the West Turkana Archaeological Project in Kenya (previously led by Dr. Hélène Roche, next year to be lead by Dr. Sonia Harmand) as paleontologist/zooarchaeologist (along with Jean-Phillipe Brugal) and paleoanthropologist (with Dr. Sandrine Prat).


Lewis, J.E. & Slimak, L. (in prep) Orgnac 3: New Perspectives on an Old Site and Directions for Future Research. Quaternary Science Reviews.

Crégut-Bonnoure, É., Lewis, J. E., Slimak, L., Brochier, J.-E. (in prep) New data on the Pleistocene localities with Ursus arctos in Vaucluse (Southern France). Quaternaire.

Lewis, J.E., DeGusta, D., Meyer, M.R., Monge, J.M., Mann, A.E., & Holloway, R.L. (2011) The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. PLoS Biology, 9:(6): e1001071. doi:10.1371/. [Full Text] [Comments]

Harmand, S. & Lewis, J.E. (2010). New Views on Old Stones: France-Stanford Conference on Early Stone Tools and Cognitive Evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology, 19: 121–122.

Slimak, L., Lewis, J.E., Crégut-Bonnoure, É., Metz, L., Ollivier, V., André, P., Chzrazvez, J., Giraud, Y., Jeannet, M., Magnin, F. (2010). Le Grand Abri aux Puces (Vaucluse, France), a Middle Paleolithic Site from the Last Interglacial: Paleogeography, Paleoenvironment, and New Excavation Results. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37: 2747-2761.

Harmand, S., DeGusta, D., Slimak, L., Lewis, J., Melillo, S., Dohmen, I., Omar, M. (2009). New sites from the Lower Paleolithic of the Republic of Djibouti: Initial results from a recent survey of the Gobaad Basin, Central Afar. Comptes-Rendus Palévol, 8: 481–492.

Lewis, J.E. (2008). Identifying Sword Marks on Bone: Criteria for Distinguishing Between Cut Marks Made by Different Classes of Bladed Weapons. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35: 2001-2008.

Schoenemann, P.T., Gee, J., Avants, B., Holloway, R.L., Monge, J., & Lewis, J.  (2007). Validation of Plaster Endocast Morphology Through 3D CT Image Analysis.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 132: 183–192.

Lewis, J.E. (2006).  Letters: The Problem Was the School Board. The Pennsylvania Gazette, 104 (5): 6.