Location: Smith Center, Room 296/8
Event is Free and Open to the Public
Dr. Virginia Butler (Anthropology, PSU), Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer
Where Have all the Native Fish Gone? The Fate of Lewis and Clark's Fishes of the Lower Columbia River
The journals the explorers kept on the lower Columbia River provide the first written descriptions of several fishes, indicate how much the group relied on fish for sustenance, and show their importance to Native American life ways. Archaeological records of fish remains from villages that date to the time of the expedition provide additional information on the kinds and abundance of fishes living in the river and adjacent wetlands on the floodplain. When these ~200 yr old fish records are compared to contemporary records from the lower Columbia, the differences seen are profound and highlight the magnitude of change that has occurred in a relatively short period.
Virginia Butler's primary interest is zooarchaeology, the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. She draws on evolutionary ecology to study predator-prey interactions, and considers human demography, technological change and independent changes in paleoenvironments that affect prey abundance. Her work shows ways ancient animal records contribute to conservation biology, which often operates with limited knowledge of long-term biotic history. Her geographic focus is western North America and Oceania and she has published papers in American Antiquity, Antiquity, Journal of Archaeological Science, Ancient Biomolecules, and Quaternary Research.
For questions, contact Virginia Butler, 5-3303 or see