Walter B. Jones (geologist)

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Walter B. Jones
Born 1895
Died 1977
Huntsville, Alabama
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Alabama, Johns Hopkins University
Known for Moundville Archaeological Site
Scientific career
Fields geologist, archaeologist
Institutions University of Alabama, Alabama Museum of Natural History

Walter Bryan Jones, Ph.D. (1895–1977) was an American geologist and archaeologist. Born in Alabama, Jones earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama and his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.

Jones and his three brothers, Howard, Edwin and Raymond, served in World War I and World War II. During World War II, he was stationed in New Guinea and sent anthropological collections back to the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Jones's oldest son, Nelson Bolling Jones, was killed in Germany, April 2, 1945, fighting the German Army[citation needed], but he lived to see another son, Douglas Epps Jones, become a professor of geology at the University of Alabama. His other son, Warren Phelps Jones, managed an electro-chemical manufacturing plant in Huntsville, until his retirement in 1994.

Jones excavated the Moundville Archaeological Site in Central Alabama, establishing an important Native American burial site and shedding light on its culture. Jones accepted the position of Assistant State Geologist under Eugene Allen Smith in 1924,[1] and served as State Geologist of Alabama and Director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History from 1927 to 1961.[2] He served as Secretary of Conservation, as well as Professor Emeritus, at the University of Alabama, till his death in 1977 in Huntsville, Alabama. Jones was an avid conservationist, hunter, explorer, collector, and photographer, especially of the state of Alabama and the Southeast.

As State Geologist of Alabama, Walter B. Jones directed research on many topics including economic minerals, surface and groundwater, petroleum, geologic mapping, fossils, caves, and archaeology. He was the first director of the State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama, putting wise regulations into place before the first large discoveries of petroleum were made. He was instrumental in passing the Alabama Antiquities Act, which protects archaeological artefacts from casual excavation. The collections of the Alabama Museum of Natural History (until 1961 an arm of the Geological Survey) were greatly increased under his direction. Walter B. Jones Hall still houses the Geological Survey of Alabama on the University of Alabama campus.


  1. ^ UA Museum to Host Symposium and Exhibit on the Life and Work of Walter B. Jones. University of Alabama News. August 16, 2006. Retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  2. ^ History of the University of Alabama Office of Archaeological Research Retrieved on 2 June 2007.


  • Garrison, Ellen (2001). "Walter B. Jones and Moundville". Alabama Heritage (61). 
  • Latham, Bethany (2014). "Walter B. Jones". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Alabama Humanities Foundation. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 

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