Skip to Main content
Historic photo of Ponce Hall circa 1960s

Lee A. Newsom

Graphic with text reading

Lee A. Newsom (Ph.D. 1993, University of Florida) served on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology and as a member scientist of the Institutes of Energy and Environment at The Pennsylvania State University for 15 years and is now emerita with that institution. She was also Professor of Anthropology at Flagler College in St. Augustine from 2016-2021, and currently holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Anthropology and the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. Newsom is an environmental archaeologist, specializing in paleoethnobotany, paleoecology, and wood anatomy. The primary physical and intellectual foci of her research are the Caribbean islands and Florida, including St. Augustine (Fort Matanzas, Fountain of Youth, Mission Nombre de Dios/La Leche Shrine, Riberia Gardens, several shipwrecks), although her work has extended also to other island systems, including Bermuda, Iceland, and the Pribilofs. Her research emphasizes human-plant interactions, domestication process, forest management and agrobiodiversity, human niche construction, behavioral ecology, and island biogeographic theory. Her (2004) co-authored book with Elizabeth Wing (University of Florida, emerita) concerns Environmental Archaeology in the Caribbean region. A new book, Wood in Archaeology, with Cambridge University Press, will appear in 2022. In 2002 Newsom was named a MacArthur Fellow and she has since used that award to foster and promote research initiatives involving archaeological work and biodiversity preservation.