Vance Holliday
Professor, School of Anthropology
Professor, Department of Geosciences
Professor, School of Geography & Development
Executive Director, Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund
(520) 621-4734
PhD, Geoscience, University of Colorado, 1982

Vance Holliday attended The University of Texas to study archaeology (BA), Texas Tech for an MA in Museum Science where his training and interests expanded to soils, landscapes, and geology, and the earliest (Paleoindian or First American) human groups on the Great Plains. The result of these interests was a PhD in Geology from the University of Colorado and a career largely devoted to reconstructing and interpreting the landscapes and environments in which the First Americans lived, and how these conditions evolved. After serving on the faculty Texas A&M (2 years) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (18 years) his teaching and research interests culminated in his joining (in 2002) the University of Arizona faculty to direct the Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund (AARF). AARF is devoted to research on the geoarchaeology of the Paleoindian people of the Southwest. Honors include the "Rip" Rapp Archaeological Geology Award of the Geological Society of America, and the Kirk Bryan Award in Geomorphology of the G.S.A.

Selected Citations: 


Vance T. Holliday, 1995. "Stratigraphy and Paleoenvironments of Late Quaternary Valley Fills on the Southern High Plains.” Geological Society of America Memoir 186, 136 p. Winner of the 1998 Kirk Bryan Award of the Geological Society of America.

Vance T. Holliday, 1997. Paleoindian Geoarchaeology of the Southern High Plains, University of Texas Press, 297 p.

Paul Goldberg, Vance T. Holliday, and C. Reid Ferring (Editors), 2001. Earth Science in Archaeology, Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers, 513 p.

Vance T. Holliday, 2004. Soils and Archaeological Research. Oxford University Press, 448 p.

Alan Gilbert, Vance T. Holliday, Rolfe Mandel, Robert Sternberg, co-editors, 2016. Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology. Springer, 1046 pp.


Vance T. Holliday, Todd Surovell, Eileen Johnson, 2016. A Blind Test of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, PLoS ONE 11(7): e0155470. doi:10.1371/journal. Pone. 0155470

Vance T. Holliday, 2016. Soils and Stratigraphy of the Lindenmeier Site. In Stones, Bones and Profiles: Exploring Archaeological Context, Early American Hunter-Gatherers, and Bison, edited by Marcel Kornfeld and Bruce B. Huckell, pp 209-234. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Vance T. Holliday, 2015. Clovis Landscapes in the Greater Southwest of North America. In Clovis: On the Edge of a New Understanding, edited by Ashley M. Smallwood and Thomas A. Jennings, pp. 205-241. Texas A&M University Press.

Sanchez, Guadalupe, Vance T. Holliday, Edmund P. Gaines, Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales, Natalia Martínez-Tagüeña, Andrew Kowler, Todd Lange, Gregory W. L. Hodgins, Susan M. Mentzer, and Ismael Sanchez-Morales, 2014. Human (Clovis)gomphothere (Cuvieronius sp.) association ~13,390 calibrated yr BP in Sonora, Mexico Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 10972-10977.

Vance T. Holliday, Todd Surovell, David J. Meltzer, Donald K. Grayson, Mark Boslough, 2014. The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis: A Cosmic Catastrophe. Journal of Quaternary Sciences, 29:525-530.

David J. Meltzer, Vance T. Holliday, Michael D. Cannon and D. Shane Miller, 2014. 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).

Vance T. Holliday and D. Shane Miller, 2013. The Clovis Landscape. In Paleoamerican Odyssey, K. E. Graf, C. V. Ketron, and M.R. Waters, eds., p. 221-245. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.

Vance T. Holliday and Nan A. Rothschild, 2012. “Archaeological research and the academic process.” In: Archaeology in Society: Its Relevance in the Modern World, edited by M. Rockman & J. Flatman, pp. 77-88. Springer, New York.

David J. Meltzer and Vance T. Holliday, 2010. “Would North American Paleoindians have noticed Younger Dryas age climate changes?” Journal of World Prehistory, v. 23, p 1-41.

Vance T. Holliday and David J. Meltzer, 2010. “The 12.9ka Impact Hypothesis and North American Paleoindians” Current Anthropology. v. 51, p. 575-585

Vance T. Holliday, 2009. “Geoarchaeology and the Search for the First Americans” Catena v. 78, p. 310-322.

Hoffecker, John F.,Vance T. Holliday, M.V. Anikovich, A.A. Sinitsyn, V.V. Popov,S.N., Lisitsyn,G.M. Levkovskaya, G.A. Pospelova, Steven L. Forman and Biagio Giaccio, 2008. From the Bay of Naples to the River Don: the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption and the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Eastern Europe. Journal of Human Evolution v. 55, p. 858-870

Vance T. Holliday and W. G. Gartner, 2007. Soil Phosphorus and Archaeology: A Review and Comparison of Methods. Journal of Archaeological Science, 34:301-333.

M. V. Anikovich, A. A. Sinitsyn, J. F. Hoffecker, Vance T. Holliday, V. V. Popov, S. N. Lisitsyn, S. L. Forman, G. M. Levkovskaya, G. A. Pospelova, I. E. Kuz’mina, N. D. Burova, P. Goldberg, R. I. Macphail, B. Giaccio & N. D. Praslov, 2007. “Early Upper Palaeolithic in eastern Europe and implications for the dispersal of modern humans” Science, 315: 223-226.

Vance T. Holliday, J. F. Hoffecker, P. Goldberg, R. I. Macphail, S. L. Forman, M. Anikovich, and A. Sinitsyn, 2007. Geoarchaeology of the Kostenki-Borshchevo Sites, Don River, Russia. Geoarchaeology, 22: 181-228.

Vance T. Holliday, 2007. A History of Soil-Geomorphology in the United States. 2006. in Footprints in the Soil: People and Ideas in Soil History edited by B.P. Warkenton, Elsevier Press, p. 187-254.

Vance T. Holliday, Stratigraphy and geochronology of upper Quaternary eolian sand on the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico, U.S.A. 2001. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 113:88-108.

Vance T. Holliday, 2000. Folsom drought and episodic drying on the Southern High Plains from 10,900-10,200 14C yr B.P. Quaternary Research, 53:1-12.

Vance T. Holliday, 2000. The Evolution of Paleoindian Geochronology and Typology on the Great Plains. Geoarchaeology, 15:227-290.

Vance T. Holliday, Origin and evolution of lunettes on the High Plains of Texas and New Mexico, 1997. Quaternary Research 47:54-69.

Daniel R. Muhs and Vance T. Holliday, 1995. Active dune sand on the Great Plains in the 19th century: Evidence from accounts of early explorers. Quaternary Research, 43:198-208.

Vance T. Holliday, 1990. Soils and landscape evolution of eolian plains: the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico. In: P.L.K. Knuepfer and L.D. McFadden (eds.), "Soils and Landscape Evolution", Geomorphology, 3:489-515

Vance T. Holliday, 1989. Middle Holocene drought on the Southern High Plains. Quaternary Research, 31:74-82. Vance T. Holliday, 1995. Archaeological Geology of the Lubbock Lake Site, Southern High Plains of Texas. Geological Society of America

Research Themes: 
Arid lands
Climate change
Geological processes
Arid lands
Geological processes
Grasslands and savannas
Soil science

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