JAR Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Torben Rick presents Coastal Archaeology and Historical Ecology for a Changing Planet


Start Date: Oct 20, 2022 - 07:30pm

Location: Anthropology Lecture Hall 163

On Thursday, October 20 at 7:30 pm in Anthropology lecture hall 163 Dr. Torben Rick will present his talk Coastal Archaeology and Historical Ecology for a Changing Planet as part of the Journal of Anthropological Research (JAR) Distinguished Lecture series. He will then present a specialized seminar the following day, October 21,  in Anthropology 248 at noon entitled Environmental Archaeology and the Future of Museum Collections.  Both events are free and open to the public.

Dr. Torben Rick is Curator of North American Archaeology and Research Anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Rick’s research focuses on the archaeology and historical ecology of coastal and island peoples, especially on the North American Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Thursday October 20  7:30 pm, Anthropology Lecture Hall 163

Coastal Archaeology and Historical Ecology for a Changing Planet 

Our ocean planet is home to diverse marine ecosystems and organisms that played an important role in human evolution and ecology. Today, many marine ecosystems are dramatically degraded and threatened by climate change, habitat destruction, overfishing, and more. Archaeology provides important perspectives on past marine ecosystems and the role of people in shaping and influencing coastal ecosystems prior to dramatic changes of the post-industrial era. Drawing on examples from the California Coast and the Chesapeake Bay, this talk explores 10,000 years of human interactions with marine ecosystems to help understand contemporary environmental challenges and prepare for the future. Ultimately, this work illustrates the importance of collaboration with contemporary Indigenous communities and the power of archaeology to help enhance environmental conservation and social justice. 

Friday October 21, noon, Anthropology 248

Environmental Archaeology and the Future of Museum Collections 

Archaeological collections have been a cornerstone of museum holdings for over 150 years, including zooarchaeological materials housed in natural and cultural history institutions around the world. Despite having tremendous research potential, these collections often have complicated histories, raising a variety of ethical issues. This talk draws on zooarchaeological collections as a tool to rethink the role of anthropology at natural history and other museums in the 21st Century.