Talk on Archaeology and Sea Otters

November 9, 2021 - 5:30 PM
Cape Perpetua Collaborative

Sea otters at sea.\Photo courtesy of the Cape Perpetua Collaborative.

The Cape Perpetua Collaborative is offering a series of Young Scientist Webinars, featuring graduate students and postdoctoral researchers sharing the new research they are doing.  The series runs through April on the second Tuesday of each month.

Coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m., is a talk on “Marine Mammals Before Extirpation: Using Archaeology to Understand Native American Use of Sea Otters in Oregon Prior to European Contact.”

The speaker is Hannah Wellman, a recent PhD in anthropology from the University of Oregon.  Her research interests include past environments, human-animal and human-environment relationships, and ecological sovereignty. She is a rising Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.

When Euro-American explorers and traders made contact with Indigenous communities on the Northwest Coast in the 1700s, they encountered and over-exploited marine mammal resources. Some marine mammal populations rebounded under state and federal laws protecting them from further exploitation, while others, like the locally extinct Oregon sea otter, never recovered. Sea otters are the focus of recent conservation efforts led by diverse stakeholders, yet little systematic study of these taxa in precontact Oregon has occurred. Wellman’s work explores ancestral tribal use of sea otters and human-sea otter relationships in Oregon prior to European contact, and also addresses the historical ecology of the Oregon sea otter through ancient DNA analysis of archaeological sea otter remains.

To register, go here.