Shelby Saper

Graduate Student
Shelby Saper poses for a picture in front of a volcanic area with molten lava shooting from the ground.


Current status: Ph.D. student

Ph.D. dissertation title: Understanding the Relationship between Climate Change and Human Settlement Patterns during the Early-Middle Holocene Transition (9000-6000 cal BP) in the Northern Great Basin

Lab associations: Artemisia Archaeological Research Fund and Human Paleoecology and Archaeometry Lab

Shelby Saper is a second-year Ph.D. student and research assistant for the Artemisia Archaeological Research Fund. She received her B.A. in anthropology from the University of Oregon, where she analyzed early Holocene projectile points found in the northern Great Basin (NGB). After graduating in 2020, Shelby conducted two years of fieldwork in Washington and Oregon for a private CRM firm based in Portland, OR. Her dissertation research will model sub-regional climatic variability and settlement mobility patterns to refine our understanding of population response to climate change in the NGB during the Early-to-Middle Holocene transition. In addition to her dissertation work, Shelby leads pedestrian surveys on the northern Channel Islands as part of a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. Her work on Santa Cruz Island will assist NPS with their goals of inventorying their cultural resources, and also allows her to conduct additional research focused on island lithic technologies. Shelby is also employed as a supervisor at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History and UNR field school held at the Connley Caves, OR.

Academic interests

  • Lithic Technology
  • Peopling of the Americas
  • Great Basin
  • Paleoindian Archaeology
  • Channel Islands
  • Paleocoastal Archaeology


B.A., Anthropology, University of Oregon, 2020