Michael Glassow

Professor Emeritus
Research Professor

Office Location

HSSB 1025


Archaeology, cultural ecology; western North America


PhD, University of California, Los Angeles



Professor Glassow’s research concerns the prehistory of the Santa Barbara Channel region, particularly the period between 7,000 and 5,000 years ago.  He is interested in how populations adapted to changing environmental conditions, particularly with regard to their subsistence practices and settlement patterns.  Much of his fieldwork has taken place on Santa Cruz Island, but he also has investigated both coastal and inland sites on the mainland and recently participated in a project on Santa Barbara Island.


Analysis of archaeological collections from Santa Cruz Island and the mainland, with the help of students enrolled in laboratory practicum courses.
Editing a volume of papers by my colleagues and me concerned with the archaeology and prehistory of the area surrounding the ancient estuary of which the Goleta Slough is a remnant.


Selected Recent Publications

  • 2013  “Settlement Systems on Santa Cruz Island between 6300 and 5300 BP.”  pp. 60-74 (Chapter 4) in California’s Channel Islands, the Archaeology of Human-Environment interactions, edited by C. Jazwa and J. Perry. University of Utah Press.
  • 2015  “Chronology of Red Abalone Middens on Santa Cruz Island, California, and Evidence for Subsistence and Settlement Change.”  American Antiquity 80(4):745-759.
  • 2016  “Proxy Measurements of California Mussel Valve Length.”  Advances in Archaeological Practice 4(1):31-40.  (first author with Elizabeth A. Sutton, Carola Florest Fernandez, and Heather B. Thakar)
  • 2016  “Eventful Times: SCA’s History Between 1987 and 1996.”  California Archaeology 8(2):221-234.  (first author with John R. Johnson, Julia G. Costello, and Mary L. Maniery)
  • 2017  “Issues in the Identification of Umbones in California Mussel Shell Assemblages.”  Quaternary International 427:31-35.
  • 2018     “Prehistoric Shellfish Utilization and Settlement Systems on Western Santa Cruz Island.”  Western North American Naturalist 78(3):271-284  (issue devoted to the proceedings of the Ninth California Islands Symposium).