Britton Leif Shepardson, PhD

Britton Leif Shepardson Lecturer
Northern Arizona University
Blg 65 Rm #234 Personal Page


  • Emergent complexity
  • Monumental architecture
  • Pacific Islands and Pacific Rim
  • Education
  • Evolutionary theory
  • GIS
  • Agent-based simulation
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Sustainable heritage management


Dr. Shepardson received his BA in Mathematics from Claremont McKenna College in 2000 and his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in 2006. His research has earned him multiple National Science Foundation grants, and his teaching experience has included mathematics, Spanish, and GIS courses in public secondary schools; experiential education programs for students in developing nations; and anthropology/archaeology courses at the undergraduate and graduate university levels.

Dr. Shepardson's research has applied quantitative analysis and non-invasive methods to address a number of research topics on Easter Island and other Polynesian islands. His publications in academic journals, as well as mainstream media in a variety of different countries around the world, have addressed the megalithic statuary of Rapa Nui, prehistoric territoriality, and estimating prehistoric colonization dates for Pacific islands.  Shepardson is the Founder and Director of Terevaka Archaeological Outreach (TAO), an international volunteer program dedicated to educating and empowering local youths on Easter Island.  TAO now integrates cutting-edge archaeological research with educational outreach and sustainable economic development.  With the help of local high school students, his work is now helping to change the face of tourism on the island, and at the same time rewrite much of what we thought we knew about the island’s catastrophic cultural collapse.