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Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters

Integrating Archaeology and Ecology in the Northeast Pacific

Todd J. Braje

Publication Year: 2011

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.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Contributors

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pp. vii-viii

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1. People, Pinnipeds, and Sea Otters of the Northeast Pacific

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pp. 1-18

Marine mammals, such as polar bears, sea otters, seals, sea lions, and walruses, are an extraordinary group of organisms, many of which maintain a link to both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Often highly intelligent with sophisticated communication systems, marine mammals are a fundamental component of marine ecosystems ...

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2. A History of Paleoecological Research on Sea Otters and Pinnipeds of the Eastern Pacific Rim

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pp. 19-40

Today it is not unusual to pick up the latest issue of an archaeology journal such as American Antiquity, or Journal of Archaeological Science, or the like, and to find in the table of contents an article on a topic in zooarchaeology. It is more difficult to find a piece on the zooarchaeology of marine mammals. ...

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3. The Historical Ecology of Walrus Exploitation in the North Pacific

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pp. 41-64

The pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is a highly salient species of sea mammal and was a fundamental resource for prehistoric maritime peoples in the North Pacific. For at least 2000 years, inhabitants of the coasts of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, and the Chukchi Peninsula of Chukotka have relied upon walrus as either a primary or secondary resource. ...

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4. Neoglacial Sea Ice and Life History Flexibility in Ringed and Fur Seals

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pp. 65-92

Two interesting life history questions about North Pacific pinnipeds beg for zooarchaeological input. One is the observation that the ringed seal, Phoca hispida, an Arctic species that also inhabits the Bering Sea, appears to have two morphologically distinct ecotypes: ...

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5. A 4500-Year Time-Series of Otariid Abundance on Sanak Island, Western Gulf of Alaska

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pp. 93-110

Archaeological remains reveal that Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) were crucially important to the subsistence strategies of most prehistoric Aleut (e.g., Crockford et al. 2004; Tews 2005; Yesner 1981, 1988). ...

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6. An Analysis of Seal, Sea Lion, and Sea Otter Consumption Patterns on Sanak Island, Alaska: An 1800-Year Record on Aleut Consumer Behavior

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pp. 111-128

The sanak island biocomplexity project investigates the roles that humans played in North Pacific ecosystems during the Middle-to-Late Holocene. The underlying premise of the project is that prehistoric peoples, with traditional technology, were significant forces in marine ecosystems and, like all taxa, actively engineered environments ...

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7. Toward a Historical Ecology of Pinniped and Sea Otter Hunting Traditions on the Coast of Southern British Columbia

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pp. 129-166

Marine mammals (pinnipeds, cetaceans, and sea otters [Enhydra lutris]) have been important to First Nations people in coastal British Columbia for millennia, but their archaeological distribution is poorly known. While archaeological evidence of marine mammal hunting is known for numerous locations over the past 10,000 years of human occupation on the British Columbia Coast ...

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8. Native American use of Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters in Estuaries of Northern Oregon and Southern Washington

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pp. 167-196

Over the last 25 years, archaeologists have compiled a substantial zooarchaeological record of pinnipeds on the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts (Burton et al. 2001, 2002; Colten 2002; Etnier 2002a, 2002b; Gifford-Gonzalez et al. 2005; Hildebrandt 1984a, 1984b; Hildebrandt and Jones 1992, 2002, 2004; ...

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9. Why Were Northern Fur Seals Spared in Northern California? A Cultural and Archaeological Explanation

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pp. 197-220

Since the initiation of systematic archaeological research in northwestern California and southern Oregon 40 years ago, seals and sea lions have held a central place in archaeological analyses. The topic was brought to a broader audience in a series of papers by Hildebrandt and Jones, and Lyman, ...

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10. Holocene Monterey Bay Fur Seals: Distribution, Dates, and Ecological Implications

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pp. 221-242

Historical ecologists have recognized for some time the relevance of paleontological and archaeological data for understanding longer- term ecological dynamics than could be apprehended from relatively short-term historical records (Jackson et al. 2001). The research reported here has proceeded on the assumption that zooarchaeological, stable isotopic, ...

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11. Toward A Prehistory of The Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra Lutris Nereis)

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pp. 243-272

The southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) is one of the mostly widely recognized and highly cherished marine mammals on the coast of California. In seaside communities up and down the state, images of sea otters are ubiquitous on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers. ...

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12. Resilience And Reorganization: Archaeology and Historical Ecology of California Channel Island Marine Mammals

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pp. 273-296

Debates about the nature and intensity of marine mammal hunting by ancient peoples and the degree of anthropogenic forcing on northeastern Pacific pinniped populations have been hotly contested. Several models have been proposed to explain patterns observed in marine mammal faunal assemblages from mainland and island localities ...

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13. Perspectives from the Past: Archaeology, Historical Ecology, and Northeastern Pacific Pinnipeds and Sea Otters

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pp. 297-308

Over the last decade a variety of scientists, resource managers, and environmental activists have worked to increase public awareness of the crises facing the world’s oceans and the role humans have played in their degradation. Overfishing, pollution, climate change, mismanagement, and other factors have resulted in severely depleted marine ecosystems ...

Index

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pp. 309-320


E-ISBN-13: 9780520948976
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520267268

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2011

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Subject Headings

  • Marine mammal remains (Archaeology) -- Northwest Coast of North America.
  • Seals (Animals) -- Effect of human beings on -- Northwest Coast of North America -- History.
  • Sea lions -- Effect of human beings on -- Northwest Coast of North America -- History.
  • Sea otter -- Effect of human beings on -- Northwest Coast of North America -- History.
  • Paleo-Indians -- Hunting -- Northwest Coast of North America.
  • Hunting, Prehistoric -- Northwest Coast of North America.
  • Paleoecology -- Northwest Coast of North America.
  • Marine mammals -- Conservation -- Northwest Coast of North America.
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