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2010 James B. Castles Lecture, an illustrated presentation of Entangled in the Fur Trade: Or, The Archaeology of Contact on the Lower Columbia River
Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 5:30pm

The Center for Columbia River History Presents

"Entangled in the Fur Trade: Or, The Archaeology of Contact on the Lower Columbia River"

WHAT: 2010 James B. Castles Lecture, an illustrated presentation of Entangled in the Fur Trade: Or, The Archaeology of Contact on the Lower
Columbia River

WHO: Dr. Kenneth Ames, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Portland State University

WHEN: Thursday November 18, 2010, 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205

COST: Free


Until recently, understanding of the fur trade era on the Lower Columbia River came primarily through the written words of Euro-American explorers and traders. These journals and diaries often paint a romanticized picture of untamed wilderness and passive response by indigenous people to new modes of exchange and culture. Archaeological scholarship since 1987, however, provides significant evidence of entanglement between Native people of the Lower Columbia and the Euro-Americans who entered an ancient, well-established system of trade, exchange, and values on the Lower Columbia.

The word "entanglement" indicates complexity, intricacy, and inextricable linkages. Anthropologists use this term to describe the two-way contact in which Native people actively participated, and often directed, relations. Entanglement also describes relations between modern archaeologists and Native communities. No longer do archaeologists traverse a one-way scholarly street, running from archaeologists to descendant communities. Rather, their work has become collaborative and interactive.

This program is presented by the Center for Columbia River History in partnership with the Oregon Historical Society and with support from the
James B. Castles Endowment


The 2010 Castles Lecturer, Dr. Ken Ames, is chair of the Department of Anthropology at Portland State University. Dr. Ames received a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University in Washington D.C. in 1967, an MA in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1969 and a PhD from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington in 1976. He taught for two years in Minnesota (1973 - 1975) and then moved to Idaho, where he had a joint appointment with Idaho State Highway Archaeology (1975 - 1978) and at Boise State University. He remained in Idaho until going to Portland State University in 1984. Since then, he has concentrated his field research in the Portland Metropolitan area's rich archaeological record, focusing on Native people of the Northwest Coast and the Intermontane Plateau.

His research interests focus on the evolution of social complexity among complex hunter-gatherers, including the development of permanent social inequality, sedentism and the role of economic intensification in hunter-gatherer social change. He also has a life-long interest in Japanese archaeology, and in hominid evolution, particularly in the evolution of modern human cognition.


The Castles Programs are funded through a generous endowment from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, of which James B. Castles was a founding trustee and twenty-year board member. Born in Montana, Jim Castles spent his life pursuing and promoting the art, culture, and heritage of the Columbia and the American West. He valued public, informal education that stimulated discussion about the history of the region he loved. The Castles Endowment Lecture brings regional and national specialists in Columbia River Basin history, literature, art, or politics to speak in various locations around the Basin.

The Center for Columbia River History (CCRH) is a regional consortium that includes the Washington State Historical Society, Washington State
University Vancouver, and Portland State University.

CCRH offices are located on the Fort Vancouver National Site in Vancouver, Washington

and at Portland State University.