Reflections on the Past 40 Years of Archaeology in the Pacific Northwest



Download (250.7 MB)

Download Captions (59 KB)

Download Transcript (2 KB)


Media is loading




Butler reviews changes she has witnessed in the practice of archaeology in the Pacific Northwest since her 1975 field school at Lind Coulee. While enormous changes have occurred in technology (e.g., computers, GIS), analytic methods (e.g., aDNA, isotope geochemistry), and research questions and goals, the most profound change has been the increasing role of tribes and Indigenous peoples. Enlarging the scope of “who” does archaeology gives us new insights about our collective past, but also supports justice, equity and inclusion, values of increasing importance to society at large.

Biographical Information

Virginia Butler earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia, and an M.A in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Washington. She joined the Department of Anthropology at Portland State University in 1995 and retired in 2020. Her primary research focuses on the long-term relationships between people and animals, especially fishes, which she has addressed mainly through zooarcheology. Her regional focus is the Pacific Northwest, but she has also carried out work in Oceania and the Great Basin of western North America. Since 2012, Butler has been the lead organizer of the Archaeology Roadshow, an annual large-scale public outreach event that takes place on PSU campus and sister communities in Oregon.


Native Americans, Colonialism, Material culture, Sociology, Anthropology, Archaeology -- Philosophy, Cultural property, Excavations (Archaeology), Antiquities, Ethnology – Pacific Northwest – United States, Indians of North America – Government relations, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act – United States, Tribal Historic Preservation Program (U.S. : 2015- ), National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 – United States, Historic preservation – Law and legislation – United States, Indians of North America – Ethnobotany – Northwest Coast of North America, Indians of North America – Agriculture – Northwest Coast of North America, Indians of North America – Food – Northwest Coast of North America, Racial equity, Cultural property, United States – Columbia River Region, Civilization – Indian influences



Persistent Identifier


© Copyright the author(s)

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

The purpose of this statement is to help the public understand how this Item may be used. When there is a (non-standard) License or contract that governs re-use of the associated Item, this statement only summarizes the effects of some of its terms. It is not a License, and should not be used to license your Work. To license your own Work, use a License offered at

Reflections on the Past 40 Years of Archaeology in the Pacific Northwest