Research Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology
PhD, University of Washington, 2009
Areas of interest
zooarchaeology; environmental archaeology; stable isotope analysis; archaeology of the Arctic and Subarctic; archaeology in ecology and conservation
Boston University Marine Program, Smithsonian Institution’s Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, Museum of the Aleutians
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.