I began in archaeology as a 15-year old high school student excavating at the Thunderbird Paleoindian site near Front Royal (VA), and have been at it ever since. My undergraduate education was in Anthropology (with a minor in soils) at the University of Maryland (B.A. 1977). I then crossed the country for graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle, doing coursework in archaeology and Quaternary sciences (the latter through the Quaternary Research Center), ultimately earning degrees in Anthropology/Archaeology (M.A. 1979 and Ph.D. 1984). Newly-minted Ph.D. in hand, I came to SMU as Assistant Professor in Anthropology in 1984, and haven't left. I am now the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory.
I have published the results of my research in over 150 publications, mostly of the scholarly sort, but a number of them were written for general audiences and have appeared in popular science journals. I have also written or edited half a dozen books, including
(2006), and Search for the First Americans (1993). The latter was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, which has since folded, and the book is now out of print. However, in 2009 I published an updated and thoroughly revised edition that, because it is twice as long, far wider-ranging, and more detailed than Search for the First Americans, appears under a new title:
At SMU, I teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including a couple of interdisciplinary courses, In Search of Ice Age Americans, and North American Great Plains.
My archaeological and historical research has been supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, The Potts and Sibley Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. In 1996, I received an extraordinarily generous research endowment from Joseph and Ruth Cramer to establish the Quest Archaeological Research Program, which will support in perpetuity at SMU research on the earliest occupations of North America.
2015 Meltzer, D.J. The Great Paleolithic War: how science forged an understanding of America's Ice Age past. University of Chicago Press, 2015.
2015 Meltzer, D.J. Kennewick Man: coming to closure. Antiquity (in press)
2015 Meltzer, D.J. Pleistocene overkill and North American mammalian extinctions. Annual Review of Anthropology 44:33-53. [pdf]
2015 Grayson, D.K. and D. J. Meltzer, Revisiting Paleoindian exploitation of extinct North American mammals. Journal of Archaeological Science 56:177-193. [pdf]
2015 Raghavan, M., M. Steinrücken, K. Haris, S. Schiffels, S. Rasmussen, A. Albrechtsen, C. Valdiosera, M.C. Ávila-Arcos, A-S. Malaspinas, M. DeGiorgio, A. Eriksson, I. Moltke, M. Metspalu, J.R. Homburger, J. Wall, O.E. Cornejo, J.V. Moreno-Mayar, T.S. Korneliussen, T. Pierre, M. Rasmussen, P.F. Campos, P. de Barros Damgaard, M.E. Allentoft, J. Lindo, E. Metspalu, R. Rodriguez-Varela, J. Mansilla, C. Henrickson, A. Seguin-Orlando, H. Malmström, T. W. Stafford, S. Shringarpure, A. Moreno-Estrada, M. Karmin, K. Tambets, A. Bergström, Y. Xue, V. Warmuth, A. Friend, J. Singarayer, P. Valdes, F. Balloux, I. Leboreiro, J.L. Vera, H. Rangel-Villalobos, D. Pettener, D. Luiselli, L.G. Davis, E. Heyer, CP.E. Zollikofer, M.S. Ponce de León, C.I. Smith, V. Grimes, K. Pike, M. Deal, B.T. Fuller, B. Arriaza, V. Standen, M.F. Luz, L. Osipova, M.I. Voevoda, O. Balanovsky, M. Lavryashina, Y. Bogunov, E. Khusnutdinova, M. Gubina, E. Balanovska, S. Fedorova, A. Litvinov, B. Malyarchuk, M. Derenko, M.J. Mosher, D. Archer, J. Cybulski, B. Petzelt, J. Mitchell, R. Worl, P.J. Norman, P. Parham, B. Kemp, T. Kivisild, C. Tyler-Smith, M.S. Sandhu, M. Crawford, R. Villems, D.G. Smith, M.R. Waters, T. Goebel, J.R. Johnson, R.S. Malhi, M. Jakobsson, D.J. Meltzer, A. Manica, R. Durbin, C.D. Bustamante, Y.S. Song, R. Nielsen & E. Willerslev, Genomic evidence for the Pleistocene and Recent population history of Native Americans. Science. [pdf]
2015 Ramussen, M., M. Sikora, A. Albrechtsen, T.S. Korneliussen, J.V. Moreno-Mayar, G.D. Poznik, C.P.E. Zollikofer, M. Ponce de León, M.E. Allentoft, I. Moltke, H. Jónsson, C. Valdiosera, R.S. Malhi, L. Orlando, C.D. Bustamante, T.W. Stafford, D.J. Meltzer, R. Nielsen & E. Willerslev, The ancestry and affiliations of Kennewick man. Nature 523:455-458. [pdf]\
2015 Reynard, L., D.J. Meltzer, S.D. Emslie and N. Tuross, Stable isotopes in yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) fossils reveal environmental stability in the Late Quaternary of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Quaternary Research 83:345-354. [pdf]
2014 Eren, M.I., R.J. Patten, M.J. O'Brien and D.J. Meltzer, More on the rumor of 'Intentional overshot flaking' and the purported Ice-Age Atlantic crossing. Lithic Technology 39:5-63. [pdf]
2014 Holliday, V.T., T. Surovell, D.J. Meltzer, D.K. Grayson and M. Boslough, The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis: a cosmic catastrophe. Journal of Quaternary Science 29:515-530. [pdf]
2014 Meltzer, D.J., Clovis at the end of the world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(34): 12276-12277. [pdf]
2014 Meltzer, D.J., V.T. Holliday, M.D. Cannon and D.S. Miller, Chronological evidence fails to support claim of an isochronous widespread layer of cosmic impact indicators dated to 12,800 years ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences E2162-E2171 (doi:10.1073/pnas.1401150111). [pdf]
2014 Rasmussen, M., S. Anzick, M. Waters, P. Skoglund, M. DeGiorgio, T.W. Stafford, S. Rasmussen, I. Moltke, A. Albrechtsen, S. Doyle, G.D. Poznik, V. Gudmundsdottir, R. Yadav, A. Malaspinas, S. White, M.E. Allentoft, O.E. Cornejo, K. Tambets, A. Eriksson, P.D. Heintzman, M. Karmin, T. Korneliussen, D.J. Meltzer, T.L. Pierre, J. Stenderup, L. Saag, V. Warmuth, M. Cabrita Lopes, S. Brunak, T. Sicheritz-Ponten, I. Barnes, M. Collins, L. Orlando, F. Balloux, A. Manica, M. Metspalu, C.D. Bustamante, M. Jakobsson, R. Gupta, R. Nielsen and E. Willerslev, The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana. Nature 506:225-229. [pdf]
2013 Eren, M.I., R.J. Patten, M.J. O’Brien and D.J. Meltzer, Refuting the technological cornerstone of the Ice-Age Atlantic crossing hypothesis. Journal of Archaeological Science 40:2934-2941. [pdf]
2013 Meltzer, D.J., The human colonization of the Americas, archaeology. Encyclopedia of Global Human Migrations, Volume 1:Prehistory. P. Bellwood, ed., pp. 61-69. Wiley Publishing. [pdf
2012 Boslough, M., K. Nicoll, V. Holliday, T. Daulton, D. Meltzer, N. Pinter, A. Scott, T. Surovell, P. Claeys, J. Gill, F. Paquay, J. Marlon, P. Bartlein, C. Whitlock, D. Grayson and T. Jull, Arguments and evidence against a Younger Dryas impact event. In Climates, Landscapes and Civilizations, P. Clift, ed., pp. 13-26. Geophysical Monograph Series 198, American Geophysical Union. [pdf
2012 Briles, C., C. Whitlock, and D.J. Meltzer. Last glacial-interglacial environments in the southern Rocky Mountains, USA and implications for Younger Dryas-age human occupation. Quaternary Research
77: 96-103. [pdf
2012 Meltzer, D.J. and O. Bar-Yosef, Looking for the Younger Dryas. In Hunter-gatherer behavior: human response during the Younger Dryas, M.I. Eren, editor, pp. 249-267. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California. [pdf
2011 Eren, M., D.J. Meltzer & R. Colwell. The Platte Canyon Bypass: a multi-component locality in central Colorado. Southwestern Lore 77: 22-24.
2011 Holliday, V.T., D.J. Meltzer, and R. Mandel, Stratigraphy of the Younger Dryas Chronozone and paleoenvironmental implications: Central and Southern Great Plains. Quaternary International
242: 520-533. [pdf
2011 Meltzer, D.J., La chasse au bison à Folsom: nouveau regard sur un site de référence. In Peuplements et préhistoire en Amériques, D. Vialou, ed., pp. 85-96. Éditions du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques (CTHS), Paris.
2011 Sellet, F., D.J. Meltzer, A.V. Vialou & D. Vialou, An American (projective point) in Paris. Current Research in the Pleistocene 28: 152-154.
2011 Strauss, L.G., L.A. Borrero, R. Hunter-Anderson, W.A. Longacre, D.J. Meltzer, D. Read, J.A. Sabloff & F. Wendorf, Lew Binford deserves more than the usual obituary. Journal of Anthropological Research 67: 321-331.
2010 Holliday, V.T. and D.J. Meltzer, The 12.9ka ET impact hypothesis and North American Paleoindians. Current Anthropology 51: 575-607. (Named Archaeology Magazine's 2010 'Undiscovery of the Year') [pdf
2010 Meltzer, D.J., When destiny takes a turn for the worse: William Henry Holmes and, incidentally, Franz Boas in Chicago, 1892-1897. Histories of Anthropology Annual
6: 171-224. [pdf
2010 Meltzer, D.J. and V.T. Holliday, Would North American Paleoindians have noticed Younger Dryas age climate changes? Journal of World Prehistory
23: 1-41. [pdf
2009 Cooper, J.R. and D.J. Meltzer, Investigations at 5GN149, a lithic workshop in the Upper Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Colorado Archaeology
2: 3-29. [pdf
2009 Meltzer, D.J. and B.B. Huckell, Flake tools from the Folsom type site: removing a case of mistaken identity. Current Research in the Pleistocene
26: 99-100. [pdf
2008 Cannon, M.D. and D.J. Meltzer, Explaining variability in early Paleoindian foraging. Quaternary International
191: 5-17. [pdf
For a complete listing of Dr. Meltzer's publications, please click here.