Thomas Wake

Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology; Director of the Zooarchaeology Lab

Anthropology Home Page

Fowler Bldg A357

Phone: (310) 206-1782
Fax: (310) 206-4723

Personal Website
Class Websites

Zooarchaeology Lab


Ph.D., University of California Berkeley, 1995

Areas of Interest

Archaeological and zooarchaeological research along the eastern Pacific Rim; food and ethnicity; development of social complexity; Caribbean Panama; California; neotropical archaeology; historical archaeology; natural history; human paleoecology; paleoenvironmental reconstruction; comparative osteology


Skeleton Key


A.M. Mychajliw, E.R. Ellwood, P. Alagona, M. Balisi, D. Bevington, E. Biber, J. Brown, S. Campbell-Staton, N. Garrison, J. George, M. Gold, P. Gonzalez, A. Hendy, L.M. Higgins, A. Leger, G.B. Pauly, B.J. Putnam, M. Ordeñana, J.M. Randall, A. Schultz, M.A. Stegner, T.A. Wake and E.L. Lindsey. 2022.  Lessons for conservation from beneath the pavement. Conservation Biology 

Urbani, B., Antczak, A. T., Antczak, M. M., Cannarozzi, N. R., Colten, R. H., Emery, K. F., Dijkhoff, R.A.C.F., Wake, T. A., LeFebvre, M. J., Carlson, L. A., Keegan W. F. & Nieweg, D. C. 2022. Monkeys on the Islands and Coasts of Paradise: Pre-Hispanic Nonhuman Primates in the Circum-Caribbean Region (AD 300–1500). In: Urbani, B., Youlatos, D., Antczak, A. T. (Eds.), World Archeoprimatology: Interconnections of Humans and Nonhuman Primates in the Past, Pp. 63-107. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

T. Rick, L. Reeder-Myers, T. Braje and T.A. Wake. 2022. Human Ecology, Paleogeography, and Biodiversity on California’s Small Islands. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 17(3):356-374. Published on line 2020.

M. Yakal, M. Echávarri, E.J. Hernandez, A. Lauer, R. Meyer-Lorey, C-h. Liu, Q. Lapena, Fr. D. Federico, Fr. E. Bobis, F.A. Datar, J.M. Koller, T.A. Wake and S. Acabado. 2021. Results of the 2016-2019 Investigations of the Bicol Archaeological Project. Saysay: The Journal of Bikol History 1:1-37.

J.Q. Richmond, C.C. Swift, T.A. Wake, C.S. Brehme, K.L. Preston, B.E. Kus, E.L. Ervin, S. Tremor, and R.N. Fisher. 2021.  Impacts of a non-indigenous ecosystem engineer, the American Beaver (Castor canadensis), in a biodiversity hotspot. Frontiers in Conservation Science 2(752400). 

T.A. Wake, T.E. Mendizábal and L.S. Martin. 2021.  Sitio Drago, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro: Un Aldea y Centro de Intercambio en el Caribe Panameño. In Mucho Más que un Puente Terrestre: Avances de la arqueología en Panamá, edited by J.G. Martín, T.E. Mendizábal, pp. 69-143.  Editora Novo Art, Panamá. 

R.G. Cooke, M. Jimenez, T.A. Wake and J.G. Martín. 2021.  Impactos de los Primeros Inmigrantes Humanos en los Mamiferos Marinos y la Fauna Terrestre del Archipielago de Las Perlas, Panama.  In Mucho Más que un Puente Terrestre: Avances de la arqueologia en Panamá, edited by J.G. Martín, T.E. Mendizábal, pp. 213-237. Editora Novo Art, Panamá.

R.G. Lesure, G. Schachner, R. Sinensky, T.A. Wake. and K.J. Bishop. 2021. Spatiotemporal Structure of the Agricultural Demographic Transition in Mesoamerica and Southwestern North America.  American Antiquity 86(3):593-612. 

T.A. Wake, R.G. Lesure and K.M. Bishop. 2021.  The Faunal Remains of Paso de la Amada, Chiapas, Mexico.  In Excavations at Paso de la Amada, Mexico: Subsistence, Social Organization, and Inequality in an Initial Formative Community, edited by R.G. Lesure, Pp. 521-586. The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

T.A. Wake and R.G. Lesure. 2021.  Bone Artifacts.  In Excavations at Paso de la Amada, Mexico: Subsistence, Social Organization, and Inequality in an Initial Formative Community, edited by R.G. Lesure, Pp. 587-611. The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.  

R.G. Lesure, R.J. Sinensky, T.A. Wake, and K. Hoffmeister. 2021.  Subsistence Change at Paso de la Amada and the Development of Agrarian Societies in the Soconusco. In Excavations at Paso de la Amada, Mexico: Subsistence, Social Organization, and Inequality in an Initial Formative Community, edited by R.G. Lesure, Pp. 923-959.  The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

A.E. Sharpe, N. Smith-Guzmán, J. Curtis, I. Isaza-Aizpurua, G.D. Kamenov, T.A. Wake and R.G. Cooke. 2021.  A Preliminary Multi-Isotope Assessment of Pre-Columbian Humans from Panama. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 36:102876. 

A.P. Sullivan, S. Marciniak, A. O’Dea, T.A. Wake and G.H. Perry. 2021.  Modern, Archaeological and Paleontological DNA Analysis of a Human-harvested Gastropod (Strombus pugilis) from Caribbean Panama. Molecular Ecology Resources 21:1517-1528. 

R.G. Lesure, R.J. Sinensky, and T.A. Wake. 2021.  The End of the Archaic in the Soconusco Region of Mesoamerica: A Tipping Point in the Local Trajectory Towards Agricultural Village Life.  In Preceramic Mesoamerica, edited by A. Borejsza, A.A. Joyce and J. Lohse, Pp. 481-504. London: Routledge Press.

M.A. Glassow, A. Jaqua, T.A. Wake and T.L. Joslin. 2021. Occupation of Western Santa Cruz Island’s Interior Between 4700 and 3500 BC.  California Archaeology 13(1):37-67.

B. Voorhies, A.E. Gusick, T.A. Wake and D.J. Kennett. 2020. Meat Food Preferences During the Late Archaic Period at Puerto Marqués, Guerrero, Mexico. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology.

T. Rick, T. Braje, T. Wake, G. Sanchez, R. DeLong, and K Lightfoot.  2019.  Seventy Years of Archaeological Research on California’s Farallon Islands.  California Archaeology 11(2):1-21.

K.J. Bishop, T.A. Wake and M. Blake.  2018.  Early Formative Period Bird Exploitation and Ritual at Paso de la Amada, Mexico.  Latin American Antiquity. 29(2):311-330.

S.S. Parker, G.B. Pauly, J. Moore, N.S. Fraga, J.J. Knapp, Z. Principe, B.V. Brown, J.M. Randall, B.S. Cohen, and T.A. Wake.  2018.  Adapting the Bioblitz to Meet Conservation Needs.  Conservation Biology 32(5):1007-1019.

K.M. Marsaglia, J. Lawrence, S.M. Fitzpatrick and T.A. Wake.  2018.  New Archaeological Insights from Petrographic Analysis of Ceramics from the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama.  Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 17:449-461.

R.G. Cooke, T.A. Wake, M.F. Martinez-Polanco, M. Jimenez-Acosta, F. Bustamante, I. Holst, A. Lara-Kraudy, J-G. Martín.  2016.  Exploitation of Dolphins (Cetacea: Delphinidae) at a 6000 Year Old Preceramic Site in the Pearl Island Archipelago, Panama.  Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 6:733-756.

J.D. Daza, A.M. Bauer, C. Sand, I. Lilley, T.A. Wake and F. Valentin.  2015.  Reptile Remains from Tiga (Tokanod), Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia.  Pacific Science 69(4):531-557.

J.M. Broughton, E. Martin,, B. McEneaney, T.A. Wake and D.D. Simons.  2015.  Late Holocene Anthropogenic Depression of Sturgeon in San Francisco Bay, California.  Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 35(1):3-27.

G.B. Pauly, A. Wells, M.H. Espinoza, T.A. Wake and R.E. Espinoza.  2015.  Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean House Gecko).  Herpetological Review 46(1):59.  

A. O’Dea, M.L. Schafer, D.R. Doughty, T.A. Wake and F. Rodriguez.  2014.  Evidence of Size-selective Evolution in the Fighting Conch from Prehistoric Subsistence Harvesting.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281(1782):20140159.

T.A. Wake, D.R. Doughty and M. Kay. 2013. Archaeological Investigations Provide Late Holocene Baseline Ecological Data for Bocas del Toro, Panama. Bulletin of Marine Science 89(4):000-000. 

R.G. Lesure, T.A. Wake, A. Borejsza, J.S. Carballo, D.M. Carballo, I. Rodríguez L., and M. de Ángeles G. 2013. Swidden Agriculture, Village Longevity, and Social Relations in Formative Central Tlaxcala: Towards an Understanding of Macroregional Structure. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 32(2):224-241. 

D. Zori, J. Byock, E. Erlendsson, S. Martin, T.A. Wake, and K.J. Edwards. 2013. Feasting in Viking Age Iceland: Sustaining a Chiefly Political Economy in a Marginal Environment. Antiquity 87:150-165. 

R.G. Lesure and T.A. Wake. 2012. La Organización del Asentamiento y la Subsistencia en el Soconusco Durante el Periodo Formativo Temprano. In Arqueología Reciente de Chiapas: Contribuciones del Encuentro Celebrado en el 60to Aniversario de la Fundación Arqueológica Nuevo Mundo, edited by L.S. Lowe and M.E. Pye. Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation 72:195-206. 

T.A. Wake. 2012. Interpreting New Samples from Famous Old Sites: Mammal Remains from the 1999 Emeryville Shellmound Excavations (CA-ALA-309 and CA-ALA-310) with Comments on Fish and Birds. In Exploring Methods of Faunal Analysis: Insights from California Archaeology, edited by M.A. Glassow and T.L. Joslin, pp. 4-33. Perspectives in California Archaeology, Volume 9. The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA. 

T.A. Wake, A.O. Mojica, M.H Davis, C.J. Campbell, and T. Mendizabal. 2012. Electrical Resistivity Surveying and Pseudo Three-dimensional Tomoraphic Imaging at Sitio Drago, Bocas del Toro, Panama. Archaeological Prospection 9(1):49-58. 

R.G. Lesure and T.A. Wake. 2011. Archaic to Formative in Soconusco: The Adaptive and Organizational Transition. In Sociopolitical Transformation in Early Mesoamerica: From the Archaic to the Formative in the Soconusco Region, edited by R.G. Lesure, pp. 67 - 96. University of California Press, Berkeley. 

T.C. Rick, R.L. DeLong, J.M. Erlandson, T.L. Jones, T.D. Braje, J.E. Arnold, M. DesLauriers, D.J. Kennett, R.L. Vellanoweth, and T.A. Wake. 2011. Where Were the Northern Elephant Seals? Archaeology and Holocene Biogeography of Mirounga angustirostris. The Holocene 21(7):1159-1166. 

T.A. Wake and D.W. Steadman. 2009. Fishing in the Mangroves at Formative-Period El Varal. In Settlement and Subsistence in Early Formative Soconusco: El Varal and the Problem of Inter-Site Assemblage Variation, edited by R.G. Lesure, pp. 99-112. The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA. 

R.G. Lesure, T.A. Wake and D.W. Steadman. 2009. Subsistence in the Estuary. In Settlement and Subsistence in Early Formative Soconusco: El Varal and the Problem of Inter-Site Assemblage Variation, edited by R.G. Lesure, pp. 203-222. The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA. 

T.A. Wake and M.A. Roeder. 2009. A Diverse Rancholabrean Vertebrate Microfauna from Southern California Includes the First Fossil Record of Ensatina (Ensatina eschshcoltzii: Plethodontidae). Quaternary Research 72(3):364-370. 

T.C. Rick, R.L. DeLong, J.M. Erlandson, T.J. Braje, T.L. Jones, D.J. Kennett, T.A. Wake, and P.L. Walker. 2009. A Trans-Holocene Archaeological Record of Guadalupe Fur Seals (Arctocephalus townsendi) on the California Coast. Marine Mammal Science 25(2):487-502. 

T.L. Jones, J.F. Porcasi, J.M. Erlandson, H. Dallas Jr., T.A. Wake and R. Schwaderer. 2008. The Protracted Holocene Extinction of California’s Flightless Sea Duck (Chendytes lawi) and its Implications for the Pleistocene Overkill Hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(11):4105-4108.


National Science Foundation 
Secretaria Nacinal de Ciencia y Tecnologia-Panama 
American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant 
Ahmanson Field Research Grant


Skeleton Key