Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Jacob L. Fisher, PhD

Title: 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: Thursdays 1-4pm, or by appointment

Where to find me : Students enrolled in my courses and graduate students should visit the Canvas page for instructions on making an appointment to meet on Zoom. All others should contact me by email to arrange a meeting over Zoom.

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
  • ANTH 119: Analysis of Faunal Remains
  • ANTH 138: Peopling of North America
  • 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
  • Jenna Farrell (2020), Postcranial Metrics of Two Sylvilagus Species and their Occurrence at Kathy's Rockshelter, Northern California
  • Gissel Ruiz (2020), The Prehistoric Biogeography of Grebes in Owens Valley
  • Jennifer Mak (2021), Taxonomic Identification of Acorns from Archaeological Contexts
  • Rachel Davies (advanced), The Sacramento City Garbage Crematory (CA-SAC-1252H) Faunal Assemblage: Addressing Communal Consumer Patterns of Early Twentieth Century Sacramento
  • Will Norton (advanced), Differential Fragmentation as an Indicator for Resource Intensifaction and Culinary Processing
  • Jon Schwedler (junior graduate student, archaeology)
  • Patience Ellis (junior graduate student, archaeology)
 Committee Member

Selected Publications

Fisher, Jacob L. and Emily Lena Jones (editors), forthcoming. Questioning Rebound: People and Environmental Change in Protohistoric and Early Historic Americas. University of Utah Press.

Fisher, Jacob L. and Emily Lena Jones, forthcoming. Questioning Rebound: Placing the Protohistoric in the Context of Anthropogenic Environmental Change. In, Questioning Rebound: People and Environmental Change in Protohistoric and Early Historic Americas, edited by Jacob L. Fisher and Emily Lena Jones. University of Utah Press.

Fisher, Jacob L., forthcoming. The Evidence for Wildlife Irruptions in Protohistoric California. In, Questioning Rebound: People and Environmental Change in Protohistoric and Early Historic Americas, edited by Jacob L. Fisher and Emily Lena Jones. University of Utah Press.

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