Sunrise Session

Bonnie Pitblado

The REAL 10,000 B.C.: Utah’s and Idaho’s First Inhabitants

Dr. Bonnie Pitblado presented highlights of her Rocky Mountain Paleoindian Research Program, an ongoing, multidisciplinary effort to unravel the mysteries surrounding the earliest residents of northern Utah and southeastern Idaho, 12,000 to 8,000 years ago. Dr. Pitblado explained how she has built her research program with the help of local farmers and ranchers, what she has learned about the indigenous people who colonized our region, how she expects her research to develop in coming decades, and why such a seemingly esoteric subject is both important and relevant. Dr. Pitblado also touched on elements of archaeology rarely included in popular media like the Indiana Jones films, including the many job opportunities the discipline offers for USU graduate and undergraduate students who work in the field and laboratory—even (perhaps especially) in today’s difficult economy.

Bonnie Pitblado

Associate Professor,
Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
Utah State University

(435) 797-1496

Dr. Bonnie Pitblado is an associate professor of anthropology who serves as director of USU’s Anthropology Program and Museum of Anthropology. She began conducting field research on the prehistoric colonization of the southern and central Rocky Mountains fifteen years ago, launching a research focus on what had been something of an archaeological void. Until recently, her research has focused on the earliest human occupants of the Colorado Rockies, a subject that has spawned two books and numerous articles and book chapters. Now, however, Dr. Pitblado has become intrigued with the archaeology of the Rocky Mountains closer to Utah, which caused her to shift to explorations of our own region’s most ancient people.

Dr. Pitblado earned a bachelor’s degree and Phi Beta Kappa honors at Carleton College in 1990 and a Ph.D. in anthropology (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Arizona in 1999. She is the 2009 USU College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences “Undergraduate Mentor of the Year.” In July 2009, she helped launch the USU College of HASS’s first spin-off business, USU Archaeological Services, and she serves on the firm’s board of directors.