Research Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology

Curriculum Vitae


Areas of Interest

zooarchaeology; environmental archaeology; stable isotope analysis; archaeology of the Arctic and Subarctic; archaeology in ecology and conservation

Excavations and Fieldwork

Catherine West’s research focuses on two questions in archaeology:  1) what are the effects of Holocene climate change and resource availability on prehistoric subsistence in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems, particularly in coastal Alaska; and 2) how can we apply the archaeological record to contemporary environmental issues?  To address these ideas, West uses zooarchaeological and stable isotope data in the context of historical ecology and evolutionary ecology to clarify the long-term relationship between hunter-gatherers and the environment.  These research projects derive from contemporary concerns about the long-term effects of landscape change, invasive species introductions, and changing climate in northern regions.  West’s current field projects include survey and excavation on Alaska’s Kodiak Island, Chirikof Island, and the Aleutian Islands, and has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Geographic Society.

Representative Publications

2022     West, Catherine F., Erik Gjesfjeld, Shelby Anderson,and Ben Fitzhugh. Human Behavioral Ecology and the Complexities of Arctic Foodways. In Human Behavioral Ecology at the Coastal Margins: Global   Perspectives on Coastal and Maritime Adaptations, edited by Heather Thakar and Carola Flores-Fernandez. University Press of Florida. 

2022     West, Catherine F., Michael A. Etnier, Meghan Parlow, Steven Barbeaux, and Alexei Orlov. Siz  distribution of Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in the North Pacific Ocean over 6 millennia. Quaternary  Research 108:43-63. 

2017     West, Catherine F., Meghan Burchell, and C. Fred T. Andrus. Shellfish and Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction in Island and Coastal Settings: Variability, Seasonality, and Sampling. In Zooarchaeology in Practice, edited by Christina M. Giovas and Michelle LeFebvre, pp. 191-208. Springer, New York. 

2017     West, Catherine F., Courtney A. Hofman, Steve Ebbert, John Martin, Sabrina Shirazi, Samantha Dunning, and Jesus Maldonado. Integrating archaeology and ancient DNA to address invasive species colonization in the Gulf of Alaska. Conservation Biology 31(5): 1163-1172.  

2015     West, Catherine F. and Christine A. France. Human and Canid Dietary Relationships: Comparative Stable Isotope Analysis from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Journal of Ethnobiology 35(3): 519-535. 

2015     West, Catherine F. and Kayla N. Jarvis. Osteometric Variation in Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) from the Kodiak Archipelago, Alaska. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 25: 289-298. Published online    in 2012. doi:10.1002/oa.2293.   

2012     West, Catherine F., Stephen Wischniowski, and Christopher Johnston. Pacific Cod (Gadus macrocephalus) Otoliths as a Paleothermometer: Otolith Oxygen Isotope Reconstruction in the Gulf of Alaska. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(10): 3277-3283. 

2009     West, Catherine Foster. Kodiak Island’s Prehistoric Fisheries: Human Dietary Response to Climate Change and Resource Availability.  Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 4(2): 223-239.