Research Assistant Professor of Archaeology

Research Website

Google Scholar Profile

Courses Taught:

Areas of Interest

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

Current Research

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.

Selected Publications

2013 West, Catherine F., Special Section Editor. Islands, Coastlines, and Stable Isotopes: Advances in Archaeology and Geochemistry. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 8(2): 149-277.

2012 West, Catherine F. and Kayla N. Jarvis. Osteometric Variation in Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) from the Kodiak Archipelago, Alaska. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology Available Online.

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.

2011 West, Catherine F., Stephen Wischniowski, and Christopher Johnston. Little Ice Age Climate: Gadus macrocephalusotoliths as a measure of local variability. In The Archaeology of North Pacific Fisheries, edited by Madonna Mossand Aubrey Cannon, pp 31-44. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks.

2011 West, Catherine F. A Revised Radiocarbon Sequence for New Karlukand the Implications for Kodiak Island Prehistory. Arctic Anthropology 48(1): 80-92.

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.

2006 Foster, Catherine W., Faunal Analysis. The Archaeology of Horseshoe Cove: Excavations at KOD-415, Uganik Island, Kodiak Archigelago, Alaska, edited by Patrick Saltonstall and Amy Steffian. Occasional Papers in Alaskan Field Archaeology No. 1, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Alaska Region.