Ismael Sanchez Morales

Ismael Sanchez Morales

PhD Candidate

About Ismael Sánchez-Morales

I am a doctoral candidate with a major focus in archaeology and a minor in geosciences. My research focuses on the study of land-use and mobility strategies of archaeological hunter-gatherer societies through the study of the organization of stone tool technologies. My dissertation investigates the variability of land-use patterns among the Middle Stone Age Aterian groups of Morocco through lithic analysis of the stone tool assemblages from the Moroccan cave sites of Bizmoune, Rhafas, El Aliya, and Dar es Soltan I. 
My other research intersts and projects include the study of the land-use patterns of the Clovis groups of northern Mexico and the American Southwest. I have worked as field director of the excavations at El Fin del Mundo Clovis site in Sonora, Mexico, since 2007.    


Selected Publications

2018  Sánchez-Morales, Ismael. The Clovis Lithic Assemblage from El Fin del Mundo, Sonora, Mexico: Evidence of Upland Campsite Localities. PaleoAmerica 4(1): 76-81.

2018  Carpenter, J., G. Sánchez, and I. Sánchez-Morales. The Archaic Period in Sonora. In The Archaic Southwest: Foragers in an Arid Land. B. Vierra (ed.): 98-118. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press.

2017  Vance T. Holliday, Natalia Martinez-Tagueña, D. Shane Miller, Ismael Sánchez-Morales, Christopher W. Merriman, Allison Harvey, Rafael Cruz, Alberto Peña, and John Seebach. Plainview/Belen in the Rio Grande basin of New Mexico, Trans-Pecos Texas, and Chihuahua. In Plainview: The Enigmatic Artifact Style of the Great Plains. Vance Holliday, Ruthann Knudson, and Eileen Johnson (eds.): 189-207. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

2016 Carpenter, John, Guadalupe Sánchez and Ismael Sánchez-Morales. Archaic Sonora. Archaeology Southwest 30(3): 8-9.

2016 Carpenter, John, Guadalupe Sánchez and Ismael Sánchez-Morales. Adaptaciones Post-Pleistocénicas en Sonora. Los Grupos Arcaicos y su Interacción en El Desierto de Sonora. In El Poblamiento Temprano en América 7. Memorias del VII Simposio Internacional El Hombre Temprano en América. Museo del Desierto, p: 81-95.

2014  Sánchez, G., V. T. Holliday, E. Gaines, J. Arroyo-Cabrales, N. Martínez-Tagüeña, A. Kowler, T. Lange, G. W. L. Hodgins, S. Mentzer, I. Sánchez-Morales. El Fin del Mundo: Human (Clovis)-gomphothere (Cuvieronius sp.) association ~13,390 calibrated yBP in Sonora, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, published online July 14, 2014; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1404546111 

2012  Sánchez, Guadalupe, Vance Holliday, Natalia Martínez and Ismael Sánchez. Fin del Mundo… Señales de Humo 9(28): 2-3

Areas of Study

  • Paleoindian and Archaic North America
  • Middle Stone Age North Africa
  • Aterian technology


2016-present    Assessing Variability in Aterian Lithic Technology: Implications for Late MSA Land-Use Patterns in Morocco. Dissertation Research Project. The objective of this research is to test if there is significant variability in particular aspects of Aterian Middle Stone Age lithic technology thought to reflect variability in mobility and lithic raw material exploitation patterns. Lithic analyses aimed at documenting mobility-conditioned aspects of technology will be conducted on assemblages from the Moroccan cave sites of Mugharet el’Aliya, Dar es-Soltan I, Rhafas, and Bizmoune. Through the investigation of the variability of Aterian land-use patterns, this research will progress our understanding of the nature and ubiquity of behavioral flexibility and adaptability among early Homo sapiens, considered to be a defining characteristic of our species.

2007-present    Geoarqueología y Tecnología Lítica de los Sitios Paleoindios de Sonora (Geoarchaeology and Lithic Technology of the Paleoindian Sites of Sonora). Co-directed by Dr. Vance T. Holliday (UofA) and Dr. Guadalupe Sánchez Miranda (UNAM). The project is focused on the study of the mobility and land-use patterns of the early paleoindian settlers of Sonora, Mexico. The most recent work is being conducted at the Fin del Mundo Clovis site in north-central Sonora. I've participated as a field archaeologist since the first field season in Fin del Mundo (2007), as lab manager since 2010, and as field director for the 2015 field season. The analysis of the Archaic lithic assemblage from Fin del Mundo was the main topic of my BA thesis, and currently I'm working on the analysis of the Clovis lithic component for my MA thesis. 

2011-2013  Proyecto Arqueológico Sierra Alta de Sonora (The High Sierra of Sonora Archaeological Project). Archaeological Project directed by Júpíter Martínez Ramírez (INAH). I participated as assistant archaeologist during the survey and excavation at the Casas Grandes period Bavispe site, and conducted the analysis of the Zea mays remains recovered from the Cueva de Ochoa cave site, in northeastern Sonora. 

2009-2011  Proyecto Arqueológico Norte de Sinaloa: Las Rutas de Intercambio (Northern Sinaloa Archaeological Project: The Trade Routes). Archaeological project directed by Dr. John P. Carpenter (INAH). I was field director during the survey and excavation at the Borboa de Mochicahui, Leyva de Mochicahui and Buyubampo proto-historic sites, and conducted the analysis of the lithic assemblages.

2009  Proyecto Poblamiento Clovis en la Región de Metztitlán, Hidalgo (Clovis Peopling of the Metztitlán Region, Hidalgo). Archaeological project co-directed by Ana María Álvarez, MA, (INAH) and Gianfranco Cassiano, MA, (INAH). I participated as assistant archaeologist during the survey and excavation at the Oyapa and La Calzada Paleoindian sites in central Mexico.

2008  Interacciones Southwest/Noroeste y Mesoamerica. Proyecto Arqueológico Sur de Sonora (Interactions between the Southwest/Northwest and Mesoamerica. Southern Sonora Archaeological Project). Archaeological project directed by Cristina García Moreno, MA, (INAH-ASU). I participated as assistant archaeologist during the survey of the Yaqui and Mayo valleys, southern Sonora.

2006-2008  Proyecto Arqueológico Cazadores-Recolectores del Cuaternario en México (Quaternary Hunter-Gatherers of Mexico Archaeological Project). Archaeological project co-directed by Dr. Joaquín Arroyo (INAH) and Dr. Ramón Viñas (IPHES). I participated as assistant archaeologist during the survey and excavation of mammoth skeletal remains at the Barranca del Muerto site, Oaxaca, southwestern Mexico. 

2005-2007  Proyecto Arqueológico Cerro de Chapultepec (Cerro de Chapultepec Archaeological Project). Archaeological project directed by Dr. Guadalupe Espinoza (INAH). I participated as assistant archaeologist during the excavation of a Teotihuacan period structure and a colonial cemetery in the Cerro de Chapultepec, Mexico City.

Research Interests

Middle Stone Age of North Africa; Lithic technology; Paleoindian archaeology; Hunther-gatherer societies; Human Behavioral Ecology; Paleolithic archaeology; Stone tool sourcing methods