Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Jacob L. Fisher, PhD

Title: Associate Professor; Director of the Archaeological Curation Facility; Graduate Coordinator

Office Location: Mendocino Hall 4018

Email: jlfisher@csus.edu

Office Phone: (916) 278-4555

Mailing Address: Department of Anthropology, California State University, Sacramento, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6106

Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:30pm - 4:30pm, or by appointment

Where to find me : MND 4018 (office) or MND 1012 (Archaeological Curation Facility)

Research Interests

My interests as a zooarchaeologist primarily lie in the understanding of the role faunal resources played in prehistoric foraging societies by using theory and models developed in human behavioral ecology. In addition to understanding the underlying decisions made during hunting forays, much of my research attempts to understand the subsequent transportation and culinary processing decisions after the successful capture of prey. Further, I am interested in prehistoric biogeography as inferred from archaeofaunal data. My region of interest is western North America, primarily the California and Great Basin regions.

I serve as the Director for the Archaeological Curation Facility (ACF). I also run the Sacramento State Zooarchaeology Lab, where students and I analyze faunal remains using a wide range of resources for personal and thesis-based research. As the NAGPRA Director for Sacramento State, much of my work also involves implementation of this important federal law and collaboration with descendent communities.

I am currently accepting graduate students who are interested in pursuing research in zooarchaeology, human behavioral ecology, and the prehistory of California and Great Basin. Please contact me for more information.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Washington, 2010
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Washington, 2004
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2000

Recent courses that I teach:

  • ANTH 3: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 109: Ecological and Evolutionary Approaches to Anthropology
  • ANTH 114: North American Prehistory
  • ANTH 118: The Anthropocene (coming soon)
  • ANTH 119: Analysis of Faunal Remains
  • ANTH 138: Peopling of North America (coming soon)
  • ANTH 203: Graduate Seminar in Archaeology
  • ANTH 204: Current Problems in Archaeological Method and Theory (topic varying)
  • Internships and Independant studies at the Archaeological Curation Facility

Current and Past Graduate Students

Committee Chair
  • Laurel Zickler Martin (2015), Considering the Canine Surrogacy Approach in California: Morphometrics and Variable Contexts
  • Rachel Davies (junior graduate student, archaeology)
  • Jenna Farrell (advanced), Methodology for Identification of Two Species of Sylvilagus: Late Holocene Biogeography of S. bachmani and S. audubonii in Northern California.
  • Jennifer Mak (advanced), Taxonomic Identification of Acorns from Archaeological Contexts
  • Will Norton (junior graduate student), Bone Fragmentation Rates and Resource Intensification at Kathy's Rockshelter, Butte County, California
  • Gissel Ruiz (advanced), The Prehistoric Biogeography of Grebes in Owens Valley
  • Jon Schwedler (junior graduate student, archaeology)
 Committee Member
  • Shannon Goshen (2013), Late Holocene Trends in Prehistoric Waterfowl Exploitation: Evidence from the Lower Sacramento Valley, California.
  • Kristin Macak (2013), Anemia, Stress, and Mortality in an Historic Portuguese Skeletal Sample.
  • Meagan O'Deegan (2013), Prevalence of Osteoarthritis in the Pre-Contact and Post-Contact Arikara.
  • Emilie Zelazo (2013), Resource Intensification in Central California: Evidence from the Lower Sacramento Valley.
  • Justin Cairns (2016), Prehistoric Foraging Patterns at CA-SAC-47, Sacramento, California.
  • Gloria Howat Brown (advanced), A Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Starch Residues of Handstones from Camp Roberts, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, California.
  • Erik Allen (advanced), Obsidian Diversity in the Southern Sierra Nevada as a Measure of Population Density and Development of Trade.
  • Katherine Holst (junior graduate student, archaeology), Sexual Division of Labor in the Late Prehistoric: An Exploration of Female Flaked Stone Tool Manufacture and Use in the Central Sierra Nevada
  • Sarah Hawks (junior graduate student, bioanthropology), Stature and Enamel Hypoplasia in a Medieval London population

Selected Publications

Fisher, Jacob L. and Shannon Goshen, 2018. Alpine Hunting and Selective Transportation of Bighorn Sheep in the White Mountains, California. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 38(1):87-99.

Fisher, Jacob L., 2018. Protohistoric artiodactyl rebound and resource deintensification in Northern California. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 19(420-429).

Fisher, Jacob L., 2018. Archaeology and Biogeography of the Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata) in the Puget Sound Region. Ethnobiology Letters 9(2):180-188.

Fisher, Jacob L., 2018. Influence of Bone Survivorship on Taxonomic Abundance Measures. In, Zooarchaeology in Practice: Case Studies in Methodology and Interpretation in Archaeofaunal Analysis, ed. By C.M. Giovas and A.S. Poteate, pp. 127-149. Springer Publications

Fisher, Jacob L., 2015. Faunal Quantification and the Ascendance of Hunting Debate: Reevaluation of the Data from Southeastern California. American Antiquity 80(4):767-775

Fisher, Jacob L. and Keith L. Johnson, 2014. Culinary Processing of Jackrabbits at Antelope Cave, Arizona. Kiva 79(3):307-333.

Fisher, Jacob L. Joel C. Janetski, and Keith L. Johnson, 2013. Variability in Far Western Puebloans Subsistence Strategies: The View from the Uinkaret Plateau, Northwest Arizona. Journal of Arizona Archaeology 2(2):140-162.

Fisher, Jacob L. and Benjamin Valentine, 2013. Resource Depression, Climate Change, and Mountain Sheep in the Eastern Great Basin of Western North America. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 5(2):145-157.

Morgan, Christopher, Monique Pomerleau, and Jacob L. Fisher, 2012, High-Altitude Intensification and Settlement in Utah’s Pahvant Range. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 31(1): 27-45

Fisher, Jacob L., 2012, Shifting Prehistoric Abundances of Leporids at Five Finger Ridge, a Central Utah Archaeological Site. Western North American Naturalist 72(1): 60-68.

Grayson, Donald K. and Jacob L. Fisher, 2009, Holocene Elk (Cervus elaphus) in the Great Basin. In, Past, Present, and Future Issues in Great Basin Archaeology, Cultural Resource Series 20, edited by B.S. Hockett. Bureau of Land Management.


Sacramento State Zooarchaeology Lab (logo)

Bottle glass projectile point from Kathy's Rockshelter (CA-BUT-301)Bottle glass projectile point from Kathy's Rockshelter (CA-BUT-301).


Illustration of jackrabbit skeleton with images of articulated specimens from Antelope Cave, ArizonaJackrabbit butchering at Antelope Cave, Arizona. (image by J. Fisher)


Highly fragmented tooth specimens from Coldwater, White Mountains, CaliforniaHighly fragmented tooth specimens from the Coldwater site, White Mountains, California. (photo by S. Goshen)

Mountain Sheep (Ovis canadensis) tooth with serial sampling for stable isotope analysis
Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) molars showing serial sampling for stable isotope analysis. From Five Finger Ridge, Utah. (photo by J. Fisher