Brian Jones replaces Nicholas Bellantoni as state archeologist

Dr. Brian D. Jones has been named the new Connecticut State Archaeologist effective July 18. He replaces retiring State Archaeologist Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni, who held the position since 1987.

The Connecticut State Archaeologist heads the Connecticut Office of State Archaeology (OSA) as mandated in Connecticut state statutes. Dr. Jones’s responsibilities include cultural resource preservation and reviews of economic development proposals to assist municipal governments, responding to land manager and general public inquiries, state-wide site visits and field reviews, and more.

When Bellantoni was state archeologist, he was in Milford a number of times. For example, he was involved when residents and officials were researching the burial location of a group of Revolutionary soldiers buried here.

“We are very excited to have Brian Jones come onboard as the next state archaeologist,” Bellantoni said. “He has a true understanding of the many roles a state archaeologist must perform and has the background experience in Connecticut archaeology and preservation that he can apply to the position. We have every confidence he will do a marvelous job.”

Jones has been working in the archaeology field for over 24 years, most recently as Senior Archaeologist with Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc. in Storrs. He received his undergraduate degree in anthropology at Oberlin College in 1986. After living and traveling in Southeast Asia, he studied European prehistory at the University of Cologne, Germany. He returned to the U.S. in 1992 to complete his Ph.D. at UConn, Storrs.

Jones was the Supervisor of Field Archaeology at the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation between 1998 and 2004, after which he worked at Archaeological and Historical Services. In 2008, he took the position of Associate Director of UMass Archaeological Services in Amherst. He has also taught as an adjunct in the Anthropology Department at UConn since 2004. His primary research focus is the archaeology of northeastern Native American cultures. His dissertation explored human adaptation to the changing climate at the end of the last Ice Age. He is also experienced in geoarchaeology (the relationship of archaeology to landscape and soil formation processes) and stone tool analysis.

“I’m really looking forward to being Connecticut’s next State Archaeologist. It’s a job I feel I’ve been preparing for since I started graduate school at UConn back in 1992,” Jones said. “While the position has many interesting responsibilities, what I look forward to most is working closely with the public and continuing to raise awareness about the importance of Connecticut’s ancient and historic past. The traces of people’s lives are abundant beneath our feet, but they are fragile, and the only way to guarantee their preservation is through sincere public interest.”

Bellantoni will continue with the Office of State Archeology through August to assist the State Archaeologist transition. “It has been a true honor and privilege to serve the museum, university and the people of Connecticut during my tenure as State Archaeologist,” Bellantoni said. “The experience has enriched my life more than I can possibly relate, and the many friendships we have cultivated will never be forgotten.”