Christopher Jazwa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director
Chris Jazwa


Christopher Jazwa is broadly interested in how patterns of human settlement, subsistence and mobility are influenced by the changing environment and cultural factors that mediate human-environmental dynamics. In particular, much of his work focuses on how the distribution and availability of environmental resources, along with cultural factors that affect how people use those resources, influence the distribution of human settlement. Jazwa has three active research projects on California’s Channel Islands; Cabo Pulmo, Mexico; and the Loukkos Valley, Morocco.

His work on California's Channel Islands has been ongoing since 2004. There, he uses ecological models to understand the establishment, expansion and contraction of human settlement on the islands through time. Jazwa's current work involves the use of stable isotopic signatures to reconstruct environmental change on both long-term (climate change) and short-term (ENSO, inter-annual variation, seasonality) scales and the effects on patterns of human mobility.

His work in Cabo Pulmo began in 2018 and is focused on understanding human interactions with the coastal environment in a relatively understudied area. He is working on determining the distribution of archaeological sites and understanding the chronology of human occupation in the region.

Jazwa also is interested in applying human behavioral ecology models to the classical world. Since 2016, he has been a part of the Gardens of the Hesperides project in the Loukkos River Valley, Morocco, under the direction of Stephen Collins-Elliot of the University of Tennessee. In this project, he is using the Ideal Free Distribution model to trace changes in settlement patterns outside of the primary site of Lixus.

He is co-director (with Christopher Morgan) of the Human Paleoecology and Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno. He encourages students interested in similar theoretical or methodological research questions to contact him.


  • Human-environmental dynamics
  • Human behavioral ecology
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Isotope ecology
  • Hunter-gatherers

Courses taught

  • Anth 101 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Anth 202 - Archaeology
  • Anth 440a/640a - Archaeology of North America
  • Anth 445/645 - Zooarchaeology
  • Anth 449C/649C - Lab Methods in Archaeology
  • ANTH 455/655 - Archaeological Theory
  • Anth 706 - Scientific Grant Writing in Anthropology
  • Anth 708 - Advanced Seminar in Quaternary Studies

Recent publications

  • Jazwa, C.S. and K.A. Jazwa. 2022. Resource Competition and Settlement Distribution in Bronze Age Greece. Human Ecology 50:399-418.
  • Kwiecien, O. T. Braun, C.F. Brunello, P. Faulkner, N. Hausmann, G. Helle, J.A. Hoggarth, M. Ionita, C.S. Jazwa, S. Kelmelis, N. Marwan, C. Nava-Fernandez, C. Nehme, T. Opel, J.L. Oster, A. Persoiu, C. Petrie, K. Prufer, S.M. Saarni, A. Wolf, and S.F.M. Breitenbach. 2022. What We Talk About When We Talk About Seasonality – A Transdisciplinary Review. Earth-Science Reviews 225:103843.
  • Jazwa, C.S. and S.A. Collins-Elliott. 2021. An Ecological Model of Settlement Expansion in Northwestern Morocco. Quaternary International doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2020.12.037.
  • Jazwa, C.S., G.M. Smith, R.L. Rosencrance, D.G. Duke, and D. Stueber. 2021. Reassessing the Radiocarbon Date from the Buhl Burial from South-Central Idaho and Its Relevance to the Western Stemmed Tradition-Clovis Debate in the Intermountain West. American Antiquity 86(1):173-182.
  • Robinson, D.W., K. Brown, M. McMenemy, L. Dennany, M.J. Baker, P. Allan, C. Cartwright, J. Bernard, F. Sturt, E. Kotoula, C. Jazwa, K.M. Gill, P. Randolph-Quinney, T. Ash, C. Bedford, D. Gandy, M. Armstrong, J. Miles, and D. Haviland. 2020. Datura Quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, Provide Unambiguous Confirmation of the Ingestion of Hallucinogens at a Rock Art Site. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi:10.1073/pnas.2014529117.
  • Jazwa, K.A. and C.S. Jazwa. 2020. Architecture and Storage in Mediterranean Environments: Case Studies from the Aegean and Southern California. Quaternary International doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2020.09.007.
  • Jazwa, C.S., C.A. Wolfe, E.Y. Chu, and K.E. Stull. 2020. The Effects of Vertical Position in the Intertidal Zone on the d18O and d13C Composition of Mytilus californianus Shell Carbonate. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 34:102587.
  • Collins-Elliott, S.A. and C.S. Jazwa. 2020. Dynamic Modeling of the Effects of Site Placement on Environmental Suitability: A Theoretical Example from Northwest Morocco. Environmental Archaeology doi:10.1080/14614103.2020.1763020.
  • Jazwa, C.S., T.L. Joslin, and D.J. Kennett. 2020. Fishing, Subsistence Change, and Foraging Strategies on Western Santa Rosa Island, California. American Antiquity 85(3):591-608.
  • Jazwa, C.S. and S. Jantz. 2019. The Effects of Heating on d18O and d13C in Mytilus californianus Shell Carbonate: Implications for Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Season of Harvest. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 39(2):163-177.
  • Jazwa, C.S., D.J. Kennett, B. Winterhalder, and T.L. Joslin. 2019. Territoriality and the Rise of Despotic Social Organization on Western Santa Rosa Island, California. Quaternary International 518:41-56.
  • Jazwa, C.S. and R.L. Rosencrance. 2019. Technological Change and Interior Settlement on Western Santa Rosa Island, California. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 54:235-253.
  • Smith, G.M., C.S. Jazwa, R.L. Rosencrance, and T.C. Bottman. 2018. A Late Prehistoric Marine-Shell Bead from Oregon’s Hawksy Walksy Valley. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 38(2):288-300.
  • Jazwa, C.S. and K.N. Johnson. 2018. Erosion of Coastal Archaeological Sites on Santa Rosa Island, California. Western North American Naturalist, 78(3):302-327.

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2015