Matthew Hill

Associate Professor – Archeologist

Dr. Hill’s interests fall into several, overlapping realms, with multiple, active projects in various stages of development and completion. The first revolves around the study of hunter-gatherer diet and subsistence behavior, mobility strategies, and site structure using archaeological data and methods. He (often in collaboration with colleagues and students) has gathered new primary evidence via work in the field and on extant museum collections to address questions about the late Pleistocene/early Holocene (Paleoindian) and middle Holocene (early and middle Archaic) occupation of the Midcontinent and Great Plains.


Vertebrate taphonomy and site formation processes in ancient and recent contexts is another research interest. Among other activities, Dr. Hill has analyzed a modern, large animal (cow and horse) bone accumulation in Nebraska, a paleontological collection from the Missouri River, and conducted an exhaustive, experimental study on breakage of bison, elk, and deer long bones, all with an eye on developing a better understanding the formation of the archaeological record.


Dr. Hill is also known for his work on bison ecology and biogeography, as it relates to prehistoric human exploitation of the animal and regional paleoecology. For example, he has used osteometrics and stable isotopes to monitor changes in bison body size, dietary preferences, social behaviors, and patterns of movement through time and across space. These efforts dovetail nicely with his new research on elk-moose (Cervalces sp.) paleoecology.


Other on-going projects include analysis of the extant faunal remains from Trinil, Java, which produced the produced the original “missing link” (i.e., “Java Man” = Homo erectus) fossils in 1891, in collaboration with John Kappelman and Frank Huffman (University of Texas) and Larry Todd (Colorado State University). Dr. Hill, Tom Loebel (Illinois State Archaeological Survey), and John Lambert (UC-Davis) are also deeply involved in a project aimed at understanding the significance of suspected Late Paleoindian ritual sites in the western Great Lakes; to this end, the team has reanalyzed the collections from Deadman Slough and Renier in Wisconsin and Gorto on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as conducted field investigations at DeWulf in northwestern Illinois.

  • Hill, M.G., T.J. Loebel, and D.W. May. 2014  The Carlisle Clovis Cache from Central Iowa. In Clovis Caches: New Discoveries and New Research, edited by B.B. Huckell and J.D. Kilby, pp. 79-105. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
  • Hill, M.G. 2014    Prologue to the Percheron Press Edition. The Agate Basin Site: A Record of the Paleoindian Occupation of the Northwestern High Plains, edited by G.C. Frison and D.J. Stanford, pp. vii-xiv. Academic Press, New York.
  • Hill, M.G., C.C. Widga, M.F. Hawley. 2014    A Cautionary Notes on the Discovery of “Old Bones” in Walworth County. The Wisconsin Archeologist 95(1).
  • Hill, M.G. (guest editor) 2014    Archaeology, Biogeography, and Zooarchaeology: A Tribute to the Legacy and Career of James L. Theler. The Wisconsin Archeologist 95(2).
  • Hill, M.G., M.F. Hawley, C.C. Widga, L.A.H. Monahan, and A.D. Wanamaker. 2014    The Nye Bison Site, Polk County, Wisconsin: Paleozoology, Investigative Incursions, and the Search for Early Man in the Upper Midwest. The Wisconsin Archeologist 95(2).
  • May, D.W., D.J. Rapson, and M.G. Hill. 2014    Falsifying “Lake Diffendahl”: Alluvial Stratigraphy of an Unnamed Tributary of the North Platte River, Ash Hollow State Park, Nebraska. The Wisconsin Archeologist 95(2).
  • Hawley, M.F., M.G. Hill, C.C. Widga. 2013    Down Among the Bones: New Deal-Era Discovery and Investigation of Middle Holocene Bonebeds in the Upper Midwest. The SAA Archaeological Record13(4):29-35.
  • Loebel, T.J., and M.G. Hill. 2012    The DeWulf Site: A Unique Late Paleoindian Site in Northwest Illinois. Illinois Antiquity 47(1):3-7.
  • Hill, M.G., D.J. Rapson, T.J. Loebel, and D.W. May. 2011    Site Structure and Activity Organization at a Late Paleoindian Base Camp in Western Nebraska. American Antiquity 76(4):752-772.
  • Sellet, F., J. Donohue, and M.G. Hill. 2009    The Jim Pitts Site: A Stratified Paleoindian Site in the Black Hills of South Dakota. American Antiquity 74(4):735-758.
  • Knell, E.J., M.G. Hill, and A. Izeta. 2009    The Locality V Cody Complex Component. In Hell Gap: A Stratified Paleoindian Campsite at the Edge of the Rockies, edited by M. Kornfeld, M. L. Larson, and G. C. Frison, pp. 157-179. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
  • Hill, M.E., M.G. Hill, and C.C. Widga. 2008    Late Quaternary Bison Diminution on the Great Plains of North America: Evaluating the Role of Human Hunting versus Climate Change. Quaternary Science Reviews27(17-18):1752-1771.
  • Hill, M.G., D.W. May, D.J. Rapson, A.R. Boehm, and E. Castillo. 2008    Faunal Exploitation by Early Holocene Hunter/Gatherers on the Great Plains of North America: Evidence from the Clary Ranch sites.Quaternary International 191(1):115-130.
  • May, D.W., M.G. Hill, A.C. Holven, T.J. Loebel, D.J. Rapson, H.A. Semken, Jr., and J.L. Theler. 2008    Geoarchaeology of the Clary Ranch Paleoindian Sites, Western Nebraska. In Roaming the Rocky Mountains and Environs, edited by R.G. Raynolds, pp. 265-293. Geological Society of America Field Guide 10. GSA, Boulder.
  • Hill M.G. 2008    Paleoindian Subsistence Dynamics on the Northwestern Great Plains: Zooarchaeology of the Clary Ranch and Agate Basin Sites. BAR International Series 1756, Archaeopress, Oxford.
  • Rapson, D.J., M.G. Hill, and G.W. Beran. 2007    Archaeology of an Early 20th Century Carcass Disposal Pit, Division of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State College. Plains Anthropologist Memoir 39.
  • Hill, M.G. 2005    Late Paleoindian (Allen/Frederick Complex) Subsistence Activities at the Clary Ranch Site, Ash Hollow, Garden County, Nebraska. Plains Anthropologist 50:249-263.
  • Niven, L.B., and M.G. Hill. 1998    Season of Bison Mortality at Three Plains Archaic Kills in Wyoming. Plains Anthropologist 43(163):5-26.
  • Todd, L.C., M.G. Hill, D.J. Rapson, and G.C. Frison. 1997    Cutmarks, Impacts, and Carnivores at the Casper Site Bison Bonebed. InProceedings of the 1993 Bone Modification Conference, Hot Springs, South Dakota, edited by L.A. Hannus et al., pp. 136-157. Archeology Laboratory, Occasional Paper No. 1, Augustana College, Sioux Falls.
  • Hill, M.G. 1996    Size Comparison of the Mill Iron Site Bison Calcanea. In The Mill Iron Site, edited by G.C. Frison, pp. 231-237. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
  • Hill, M.G., V.T. Holliday, and D.J. Stanford. 1995    A Further Evaluation of the San Jon Site, New Mexico. Plains Anthropologist 40(154):369-390.
  • Hill, M.G. 1994    Paleoindian Projectile Points from the Vicinity of Silver Mound (47JA21), Jackson County, Wisconsin. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 19(2):223-259.


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