Francis E. Smiley, IV, PhD

Francis E.  Smiley, IV Professor
Northern Arizona University
Blg 52 Rm #101
Phone: 928-523-6923


  • Archaeology
  • Lithic analysis and lithic artifact casting
  • PaleoAmerican and Archaic hunter-gatherer societies
  • Early agricultural societies
  • Clovis archaeology
  • GIS: Archaeological applications
  • Archaeological chronometry


BA, University of Colorado, Boulder 1966
MA, University of Wyoming 1979 (Chair: George C. Frison, PhD)
PhD, University of Michigan 1985 (Chair: Richard I. Ford, PhD)


Dr. Francis E. Smiley is a Professor and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Smiley is senior editor of the forthcoming volume: The Archaeology of the Grand Canyon: Ancient Peoples, Ancient Places, expected in 2015.

Serving for over 15 years as head of the Applied Graduate Program at NAU, Smiley has a long-term interest in applied anthropology. Smiley is the producer, director, and editor of the applied anthropology documentary Applying Anthropology: Careers that Count (2005) and the American Anthropological Association video Anthropology: Real People, Real Careers (2006).

Dr. Smiley has developed and is Curator of the NAU Lithic Cast Teaching and Research Collection containing more than 900 epoxy resin lithic artifact casts. The growing cast collection contains diagnostic prehistoric and modern-day examples of lithic technology cast by Dr. Smiley and casts acquired from commercial lithic casting sources.

Dr. Smiley has experience and research interests in Grand Canyon archaeology, lithic analysis, computer simulation, Geographic Information Systems applications in archaeology, and faunal studies.

His primary research foci continue to be on lithic analysis involving small-scale societies: Clovis and other early PaleoAmerican societies, hunter-gatherer societies, early farming societies, and the agricultural transition in the American Southwest.

Dr. Smiley has worked extensively in the American Southwest – notably with the Black Mesa Archaeological Project. He is co-editor of the University of Arizona Press Black Mesa archaeology volume: Prehistoric Culture Change on the Colorado Plateau (2002) with Shirley L. Powell. He has worked across the Four-Corners region, in the Phoenix Basin, and in northern New Mexico. He has also worked on the American High Plains, in the American Southeast, and in northern Europe.

Current research projects

  • Investigations at Clovis localities on the southern Colorado Plateau.
  • The Colorado Plateau Agricultural Origins Project (CPAO) – The archaeology of the Basketmaker II peoples of the northern Southwest.
  • Lithic casting: The production of museum-quality epoxy resin casts of diagnostic lithic artifacts from the Colorado Plateau, North America, Mesoamerica, and Europe.
  • The Lithic Cast Teaching and Research Collection (LCTRC) at the NAU Department of Anthropology.
  • Preceramic-period archaeology of the Grand Canyon.