Lucas is a Principal Investigator and Senior Laboratory Scientist with a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. While still working in Mesoamerica on flaked and ground stone research at the site of Aventura, Belize and Palenque, Mexico, his work is primarily focused on Western North American pre-contact anthropological archaeology. His daily work consists of managing cultural objects, cataloging, archaeometric lithic analysis, and geochemical analysis with X-ray fluorescence (XRF). His other skills include technical illustration and drafting and co-managing field survey and excavations. This work contributes to Lucas’s goal of more broadly understanding how lithic crafting technology and exchange was an active part of everyday life for Amerindian identity formation and therefore an essential component of heritage management. His work crosscuts from the eastern Great Basin to the Pacific Coast.
Most recently, Lucas has developed a team within the laboratory department to apply XRF geochemical techniques to non-obsidian objects (e.g., ground stone and pigments) to add nuance to trade and exchange research of a variety of materials. Advocating and executing this research, which can be done remotely, broadens Far Western’s work and outreach to include understanding the needs of Native American and indigenous Tribal members as well as working with university geologists, anthropologists, and curation staff. This includes conducting on-site analyses of potentially toxic elements on culturally sensitive objects being prepared for repatriation.
Working beyond the day-to-day lithic analysis, Lucas serves as a Member-at-Large for the Archaeological Division of the American Anthropological Association (AD AAA), is Treasurer and Secretary of the International Association for Obsidian Studies (IAOS), and was a co-organizer of the International Obsidian Conference (IOC) with Kyle Freund (Far Western) and Nicholas Tripcevich (UC Berkeley Archaeological Research Facility). He has also presented two Society of American Archaeology (SAA) webinars on XRF applications. These webinars are certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA).
Lucas’ Key Projects
- Camp Pendleton Survey Project
- The Buttes Project
- Gray’s Crossing
Lucas’ Featured Publications
2023 Regional Trade and Exchange Networks as Reflected from Sunol Valley. In Vocalizing the Voices of the Ancestors: Sunol Valley Archaeological Investigations, Southeastern San Francisco Bay Area, Research Synthesis of the Sunol Valley Archaeological Investigations. Paper presented at the Society for California Archaeology. With Brian Byrd.
2021 The Archaeological Exploitation of Ferguson Wash Obsidian in Eastern Great Basin Prehistory. Poster presented at the 2021 Great Basin Anthropological Conference, Las Vegas. With Kyle P. Freund, Daron Duke, and D. Craig Young.
2021 Portable XRF Analysis of Owens Valley Pottery. Poster presented at the 2021 Great Basin Anthropological Conference, Las Vegas. With Alexxandria Martinez, Jefferey R. Ferguson, and Jelmer Eerkens.
2021 Manufacturing Costs of Long Pestles in Late Holocene Bay Area: Results from Replicative Experiments. Poster presented at the 2021 SAA. With Peiqi Zhang, Caleb Chen, Christopher Beckman, Daniel Goring, Meredith Carlson, and Tammy Buonasera.
2018 Examining Portable Tracer Laboratory ED-XRF Inter-Instrument Variation: A Collaborative Project Using a Large Assemblage from the Great Basin. With Daron Duke, Bruce Kaiser, Jennifer DeGraffenried, and Nate Nelson. Poster presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting Society for American Archaeology, Washington, D.C.
2023 Preliminary Analysis of Flaked and Ground Stone from Aventura, Belize. Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology. Invited session.
2023 Household Diversity in a Palenque Neighborhood: Preliminary Consideration. Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology. With Lisa Johnson, Arianna Campiani, Rodrigo Liendo Stuardo, and Rosemary Joyce.
2022 Economic Engines of pre-Columbian Urbanism. Invited presentation. Comprender el Urbanismo Antiquo: Forma Urbana, Planeaceion de Sito y Vida Cotidiana en la Cuidad Maya del Periodo Clasico. Sapienza University of Roma.
2021 Examining Flaked Stone from Caracol, Belize at the Urban Scale. Invited paper presentation within the SAA session The Urban Question: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Investigating the Ancient Mesoamerican City. With Adrian Z. Chase.
2019 An Interpretive Framework and Description of Ritualized Obsidian from Caracol, Belize. With Diane and Arlen Chase. Paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM.
2013 Standardized Lithic Technology and Crafting at the ‘Gateway Group’ from Caracol, Belize: Implications for Maya Household Archaeology. Paper presented at Research Reports for Belizean Archaeology, Belize Archaeological Symposium in San Ignacio, Belize.
2023 Imports and Outcrops: Characterizing the Baantu Obsidian Source and Artifacts from Mochena Borago Rochshelter, Wolaita, Ethiopia, Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence. Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology. With Benjamin Smith and Steven Brandt.
2022 What is an Obsidian Source? Implications for Provenience Studies. Paper presented at the 2022 SAA in Chicago with Kyle P. Freund, D. Craig Young, and Daron Duke
2022 Very Small Rocks: Exploring Artifact Size Limits in Trace-Element Analysis of Obsidian Flaked Stone with Portable XRF. Paper presented at the 2022 SAA in Chicago with M. Kathy Davis, Daron Duke, and Kyle P. Freund.
2013 A Comparative Study of Multiple Bruker Tracer III Portable XRF Calibrated Instruments using Identical Analytical and Operational Procedures: Implications for Past, Present and Future Obsidian Studies. With Steven A. Brandt and Arlen F. Chase. Paper presented at 78th Annual Meeting Society for American Archaeology, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Special Projects, Awards, Appointments, and Certificates:
Sunol Video: Time has Many Voices (Time Has Many Voices)
2021-present Member at Large, Archaeological Division of the American Anthropological Association
2021 California BLM, Field Director (Cultural Resource Use Permit CA-21-18; Far Western; Statewide, 2021-2024)
2021 Co-Organizer of the International Obsidian Conference with Kyle P. Freund and Nicholas Tripcevich. A Virtual Event.
2020-present Secretary-Treasurer for International Association for Obsidian Studies (IAOS).
2017 Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for Salvaging the Past: A Case Study in Archaeological Inquiry.
2013-2015 Visiting Student Scholar, University of California, Berkeley Archaeological Research Facility, Berkeley, California