Craig M. Lee

Craig M. Lee

Research Associate


  • PhD: University of Colorado, 2007
  • MA: University of Wyoming, 2001
  • BS: Montana State University, 1996

Contact Information

(Office) 303 735-7807


Environmental archaeology (landscapes, icescapes, seascapes); human responses to climate change; archaeometry (isotopic analyses); historical ecology.

Research Interests

Dr. Lee researches the human ecology and landscape archaeology of alpine and high latitude environments with an emphasis on sharing the process and results with numerous audiences, including the professional scientific community, Native American communities, and the interested public.


In addition to his work at INSTAAR, Dr. Lee has worked for federal and state agencies and entities, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as well as a private consultant. He has directed field projects in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming and published articles in several respected journals, including Antiquity, American Antiquity, Arctic, and The Holocene as well as numerous reports, proceedings and book reviews. He advocates for the nascent field of ice patch archaeology through dozens of professional papers at international, national and regional conferences. He is a member of the Glacier National Park Cultural Resources Management Group (GCRMG) with the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and the Blackfeet Nation as well as University of Wyoming and University of Arizona. Dr. Lee is on the Board of Directors of the Lamb Spring Archaeological Preserve in Colorado as well as the Board of Directors for the Montana Archaeological Society.

He is featured in Visionlearning Profiles in Science.


  • Camp Monaco Prize, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 2016


Research Statement

Ice patch archaeology

The Glacier National Park Ice Patch Archeology and Paleoecology Project is a collaborative research effort between Glacier National Park, CU-Boulder, University of Wyoming, University of Arizona, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, the Blackfeet Nation, and units of the National Park Service. Melting ice poses a risk to previously preserved cultural and natural resources. The project partnership conducted cutting-edge, culturally informed fieldwork to survey, map, and sample stable ice patches in the park in 2010 and 2011. The research will be used to establish a National Park Service-wide protocol for the collection, documentation, analysis and curation of artifacts recovered from melting ice patches.

The project won a Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award in 2012 and the prestigious Camp Monaco Award in 2016.

See a video about this research, "Ice Patch Archaeology."



Taylor, W., Hart, I., Pan, C., Bayarsaikhan, J., Murdoch, J., Caspari, G., Klinge, M., Pearson, K., Bikhumar, U., Shnaider, S., Abdykanova, A., Bittner, P., Zahir, M., Jarman, N., Williams, M., Pettigrew, D., Petraglia, M., Craig M. Lee, Dixon, E. J., Boivin, N. 2021: High altitude hunting, climate change, and pastoral resilience in eastern Eurasia. Scientific Reports, 11: 14287. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-93765-w

Craig M. Lee, Puseman, K. 2017: Ice patch hunting in the Greater Yellowstone area, Rocky Mountains, USA: Wood shafts, chipped stone projectile points, and bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). American Antiquity, 82(2): 223-243. DOI: 10.1017/aaq.2016.32

Craig M. Lee, Neeley, M., Mitchell, M. D., Kornfeld, M., O'Connor, C. 2016: Microcores and microliths in Northwestern Plains and Rocky Mountain front lithic assemblages. Plains Anthropologist, 61(238): 136-158. DOI: 10.1080/00320447.2015.1112677

Craig M. Lee, Kelly, R. L., Reckin, R., Matt, I. L., Yu, P.-L. 2014: Ice patch archaeology in western North America. SAA Archaeological Record, 14(2).

Craig M. Lee 2012: Withering snow and ice in the mid-latitudes: A new archaeological and paleobiological record for the Rocky Mountain region. Arctic, 65(1): 165-177.

Craig M. Lee 2011: Ice patch archaeology in Yellowstone s Northern Ranges. In MacDonald, D. H. and Hale, E. S. (eds.) Yellowstone Archaeology: A Synthesis of Archaeological Papers on the Prehistory and History of Yellowstone National Park: Volume 1, Northern Yellowstone. 132 143.

Craig M. Lee, Lee, J. B., Turnbull, J. 2011: Refining the chronology of the Agate Basin Cultural Complex: Radiocarbon dating the Frazier Site (5WL268). Plains Anthropologist, 56(219): 121 141.

Craig M. Lee 2011: University of Colorado INSTAAR Contribution to Glacier National Park s 2010 Letter Report. Report prepared for National Park Service, West Glacier, Montana.

All publications by Craig M. Lee >

Theses & Dissertations



Past Courses

  • ANTH 101D: Anthropology and the Human Experience Montana State University
  • ANTH 351: North American Archaeology Montana State University
  • ANTH 4020/5020: Paleoindian Archaeology