David S. Whitley, Ph.D., RPA

Office: Tehachapi, California



  • 1982 Ph.D., Anthropology/University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1979 M.A., Geography/University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1976 B.A., Anthropology and Geography/University of California, Los Angeles


Dr. David S. Whitley has 39 years of experience specializing in the prehistoric archaeology and ethnography of far western North America, with particular interests in sacred sites, rock art, chronometrics and cultural heritage management. He has also worked in southern Africa, the European Upper Paleolithic and Guatemala. His professional publications include 17 books, monographs and approximately 100 articles and chapters. Included among his recent books are The Rock Art of California (University of Utah Press, 2000), the edited volume Handbook of Rock Art Research (AltaMira Press, 2001), and Introduction to Rock Art Research (Left Coast Press, 2005), which received a Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award for 2006. His latest book is Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit: The Origin of Creativity and Belief (Prometheus Books, 2009). Dr. Whitley has written the nominations for almost 400 sites that are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For a decade he served on the Council of Directors of the ICOMOS International Rock Art Committee (CAR). In 2001 he received the Thomas King Award from the Society for California Archaeology for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management.

Dr. Whitley’s Publications

Dr. Whitley at the TEDx Talks