For more than ten thousand years, Native Americans from Alaska to southern California relied on aquatic animals such as seals, sea lions, and sea otters for food and raw materials. Archaeological research on the interactions between people and these marine mammals has made great advances recently and provides a unique lens for understanding the human and ecological past. Archaeological research is also emerging as a crucial source of information on contemporary environmental issues as we improve our understanding of the ancient abundance, ecology, and natural history of these species. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary volume brings together archaeologists, biologists, and other scientists to consider how archaeology can inform the conservation and management of pinnipeds and other marine mammals along the Pacific Coast.
Todd J. Braje, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Humboldt State University, is author of Modern Oceans, Ancient Sites: Archaeology and Marine Conservation on San Miguel Island, California. Torben C. Rick is Curator and Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of National History. He is the coeditor, with Jon M. Erlanson, of Human Impacts on Ancient Marine Ecosystems: A Global Perspective (UC Press).
“The bones recovered from the middens of the northeastern Pacific shorelines have important stories to tell biologists, marine mammalogists, and those concerned with marine conservation. This volume unearths a wealth of information about the historical ecology of seals, sea lions, and sea otters in the North Pacific that spans thousands of years. It provides fascinating insights into how the world once looked, and how it may one day look again as seals, sea lions, and sea otters reclaim and recolonize their former haunts.”—Andrew Trites, Director, Marine Mammal Research Unit, University of British Columbia
“Braje and Rick have assembled a compelling set of case studies on the long-term and complex interactions between people, marine mammals, and environments in the Northeast Pacific. The promise of zooarchaeology as historical science is on full display, as researchers use geochemistry, aDNA, morphometrics, and traditional analytic methods to address questions of utmost importance to the long-term health of coastal ecosystems. If this book doesn't convince conservation biology about the need to take the long view of animal histories and ecosystems into account in developing conservation management plans, I'm not sure what will.”—Virginia L. Butler, Department of Anthropology, Portland State University
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