Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria
About The Lab
The Historical Ecology and Coastal Archaeology Lab at the University of Victoria is a multi-disciplinary group of students and collaborators working with Dr. Iain McKechnie and coastal First Nations on zooarchaeological and coastal archaeological research topics that have relevance for contemporary conservation and environmental management. We use a variety of geospatial, geochemical, ecological, and osteological methods to highlight the contributions that hundreds of human generations of Indigenous settlement have had on coastal environments in British Columbia. Please explore this site click on the links and tabs above.
The lab is always looking for future graduate students and post doctoral scholars (currently for Fall 2021). For potential inquiries, please be in touch by email. In addition to making contact electronically, it helps if you can share your background in a specific document such as a CV, a writing sample, and to consider how your interests intersect with the kinds of work that the lab and its partners are engaged in.
The 2018 field school received CHEK Television news coverage including an interview with students Jen Hogan and Larissa Dixon, and co-director of the project and Tseshaht representative Denis St. Claire. Below are some atmospheric photos from this field season. More news to come.
PhD Student at SFU Antonia Rodrigues and I co-led a study of ancient rockfish from archaeological sites just inside and out of marine protected area and national park reserve on western Vancouver Island with the support of Dongya Yang. This archipelago is a phenomenal fishing ground and heavily targeted by commercial and recreational fishing efforts. Archaeological sites throughout the islands provide a comparison to modern fishing efforts and extend perspective on conservation area management.
Student trip to present to the Pacific Ecology & Evolution Conference in Bamfield
On a sort of snowy afternoon in February, four UVic students I am proud to be working with travelled to Bamfield to present on their archaeological research in Barkley Sound and elsewhere at PEEC. Very exciting to see this work come together.
Santa Fe trip
In November, was fortunate to attend a very cool Santa Fe Institute workshop in on tracking human uses of animal and plant species via archaeological and ethnographic sources. This was organized by Jennifer Dunne and Spencer Wood and included several cool folk including ASBC President Jacob Earnshaw. Along the way, I got to visit Taos Pueblo where I took this photo of the dyes used in traditional weaving practices.
In September, I was fortunate to get an invite to attend a special UVic event where Canada’s Minister of Science was announcing new Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) funding. I am very grateful to have been among several faculty at UVic to receive NSERC ‘Discovery Grant’ funding for 5 years to support my Marine Historical Ecology research program. It was swiftly pointed out to me on twitter that the term ‘discovery’ is highly awkward in Indigenous contexts and a worthy reminder of the care and respect that needs to be taken in archaeological research.
Field School Promo Video
The UVic archaeology field school has been featured in the a new video produced by the university with footage from the Hakai Institute.
Halibut Derby for Archaeology
UVic anthropology graduate student Jacob Salmen-Hartley has successfully sampled his way through the Halibut Derby on southern Vancouver Island with the help of field assistant Johnny. Jacob is building a reference collection of a range of halibut of different sizes.
Historical Ecology Paper in PLoS One
Chelsey Armstrong from SFU and Anna Shoemaker from Uppsala co-led an international effort to consolidate research questions on Historical Ecology. This paper is available for free at this: link and this also generated some news coverage
Indigenous Fisheries Paper online and open access
Hakai Blogged about my recent publication on the archaeology of Indigenous fishing practices with Madonna Moss here. Here is a link to the open access paper and a wonderful infographic put together by Josh Silberg below.
I study the archaeology of the human use of coastal animals, with a particular concentration on fish, shellfish, and marine mammals along the Pacific Northwest Coast. My research examines how these ancient archaeological records broaden our contemporary perspective on human-animal relationships, present day resource management challenges and the under-recognized legacy of Indigenous settlement, use, and care for these coastal environments.
My research at the University of Victoria is investigating large-scale and long-term patterns in Indigenous resource use on the Pacific Northwest Coast. I am involved in several collaborative research projects on the Coast of British Columbia with Coastal First Nations through the Hakai Institute, and university researchers at Simon Fraser University, UBC, and the University of Oregon.
If you have a few minutes, feel free to watch this UAV Footage from 2016 near Bamfield produced by Hakai Magazine.
Chelsey G. Armstrong, Anna C. Shoemaker, Iain McKechnie, Anneli Ekblom, Péter Szabó, Paul J. Lane, Alex C. McAlvay, Oliver J. Boles, Sarah Walshaw, Nik Petek, Kevin S. Gibbons, Erendira Quintana Morales, Eugene N. Anderson, Aleksandra Ibragimow, Grzegorz Podruczny, Jana C. Vamosi, Tony Marks-Block, Joyce K. LeCompte, Sākihitowin Awasis, Carly Nabess, Paul Sinclair, Carole L. Crumley 2017 Anthropological contributions to historical ecology: 50 questions, infinite prospects. PLoS One 12(2): e0171883
Iain McKechnie, Gerald G. Singh, Todd J. Braje, and Breana Campbell
2015 Measuring Mytilus californianus: An Addendum to Campbell and Braje (2015) and Singh and McKechnie (2015) including commentary and an integration of data. Journal of Archaeological Science, 58(6):184–186. McKechnie et al. 2015 Mytilus californianus
The Department of Anthropology at UVic has a fantastic comparative osteology collection of over 2,500 mammals, birds, and fish from throughout the North Pacific. The lab is designed to be used for zooarchaeological identification and skeletal specimens are available on trays. The collection has been curated and managed for decades by the extremely knowledgeable Becky Wigen and her career at UVic is rightfully celebrated here. Dr. Stephanie Calce is the new lab instructor whose responsibility includes booking space in the lab and managing the preparation lab and beetle colony.
The ins and outs of this collection is featured in this recent film produced by visual anthropology student Holly Cecil entitled : The Bare Bones