2010 Abstracts

Japanese Shipwrecks on the Northwest Coast and the Implications for Early Crossings of the North Pacific

By Dr. Richard Callaghan

Pre-Columbian Contacts (164kb PDF file)

Trans-Pacific, pre-Columbian contacts between the Far East of Asia and the Northwest Coast of North America, have not generally been considered by archaeologists, although this is changing with regards to the early peopling of the Americas (Dixon, 2001; Erlandson, 2002). Computer simulations of voyaging suggest that such contacts were feasible if not inevitable at any time period. The example presented here is an historical one from the Japanese Edo Period (AD 1603 to 1867). The advantage of using an historical problem here is that the results of the simulated voyages can be compared to and evaluated against documented events.  Certainly, climate change is an issue, however, studies of paleoenvironmental changes in the marine region around Japan (Oba, 1991; Oba et al., 1991) do not suggest radically different patterns of ocean circulation over the last 6000 years or more.

Oceans, Climate and Infectious Diseases

By Dr. Rita R. Colwell

The germ theory of disease incorporated into medical and public health practice has allowed effective treatment and prevention. Less easily understood is the role of the environment, including climate, seasonality, and weather patterns in disease and their effect on disease agents. Cholera has provided an extraordinarily useful paradigm for understanding these relationships and incorporating them into global climate and health models. The causative agent of cholera, Vibrio cholerae, is native to the aquatic environment, notably estuaries, rivers, and lakes. Epidemics of cholera can be massive, afflicting hundreds of thousands annually. The current outbreak in Zimbabwe is an unfortunate example of the ravages of cholera. Recent findings reveal the interrelationships of salinity, temperature, rainfall, and plankton in initiating cholera epidemics and predictive models can be used effectively in public health practices. Genome sequencing of pandemic V. cholerae strains has provided new insight into the biogeography of cholera and this knowledge has enhanced predictive models of the disease. The genomic sequence data confirm extensive lateral gene transfer in V. cholerae, including genes coding for serogroup and indicate a global reservoir of V. cholerae in the natural aquatic environment, from which selection of pathovars occurs. In summary, oceans, climate, and seasonality are critical factors in cholera epidemics globally and provision of safe drinking water is the most effective prevention of this disease.

Susan Crockford by McKayDogs Across The Pacific  

By Dr. Susan J. Crockford

Dogs came to the Americas from Eurasia with their human companions. Virtually everywhere archaeologists find evidence of people in the New World, they find skeletal remains of dogs - at least from sites 10,000 years old or less. Where in Eurasia did these dogs come from? Can we tell from their remains what route dogs and their human companions took to the Americas? I integrate my unique biological perspective on dog origins with new archaeological work on prehistoric dogs (including those from SE Alaska) and genetic studies to suggest some new answers to these age-old questions.

Flotsam in the News

By Curtis C. Ebbesmeyer and W. James Ingraham

Jim Ingraham and Connie BlakleyFlotsam often makes headlines! This session contains summaries of the BP oil gusher, disembodied feet and North Pacific Garbage Patches. In the third month since the blowout at British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, oil continues gushing from the well at a depth of 5,000 feet. At the end of the second month, oil began escaping the Gulf of Mexico into the North Atlantic Ocean, plumes of oil are being documented deep in the water column, sea turtles are nesting and it is the beginning of the hurricane season. By the time relief wells are completed, the drifting oil will have drifted into the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Seven disembodied feet have thus far been discovered in sneakers washed ashore in the Strait of Georgia and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Thus far, DNA evidence points to the feet having come from about four individuals. This is a small fraction of the estimated 2,400 people known to be missing in the province of British Columbia. Many more feet in sneakers are anticipated. The mystery is where are the many other disembodied feet?

All totaled, eight garbage patches float on the world ocean, two in the North Pacific Ocean. The area within the garbage patches adds up to several times that of the United States. Computer animations reveal the oceanographic aspects of these patches as well as the bits of plastic ingested by albatrosses.

Drifters from Japan to North America

By W. James Ingraham and Curtis C. Ebbesmeyer

Myriad flotsam drifts from Japan to North America. Such drifts extend back in time for millions of years to include drift wood and pumice, and in the most recent era for the past 5,000 years or so, ancient people in derelict vessels. This paper illustrates the oceanographic currents underlying such drifts, and summarizes many vessel drifts in the past two centuries.

Dr. Stephen Jett Ancient Transoceanic Crossings: Evidentiary Developments During The Past Decade

By Dr. Stephen Jett

During the past decade, evidence for pre-Columbian transoceanic and circumoceanic journeying and interinfluences has been growing at an astounding rate.  Revolutions in the evidence and, to a lesser degree, in the thinking regarding this topic, have occurred, particularly in the following areas: 1) the antiquity and capabilities of traditional watercraft; 2) the use of human genetics to trace human movements; 3) the pre-1492 presence of Old World human pathogens in the New World; 4) the pre-Columbian exchange of domesticates between the hemispheres; the kinship of some New World native languages to certain Old World tongues; and transoceanically shared arbitrary characteristics of calendrics.  A striking aspect of the new evidence is how early in time it places some of these phenomena.

Diffusion of Weeds Across the Tropical Oceans

By Dr. Karl L. Johannessen

Weeds are part of the heritage of movement of organisms including plants, animals, and diseases.  We have been recording transport of organisms before 1492 C.E. and the accepted European contact with the Western hemisphere.  The establishment of weeds as sources of evidence of contact provides an additional set of clues to early carriage by mariners of items that are in addition to domesticated biological entities to illustrate that all tropical civilizations had been in contact and therefore influenced each other.  Paleontologists, working with the dated plant materials from archaeologist’s excavations, now have the opportunity and stimulus to search for more weed species in the detritus of dated excavation layers as well as domesticated organisms.

Kemp slideMitochondrial DNA Variation Among Native Southeastern Alaskans

By Dr. Brian Kemp

In this talk, Dr. Kemp will summarize the results of DNA sample collection at Celebration 2008.  In general, the study revealed that Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Haida individuals predominantly belong to mitochondrial haplogroup A.  This haplogroup is the most commonly observed type in North American populations, especially in the Arctic, Subarctic, and along the Pacific Coast.  Interestingly, this research revealed some long distance genetic connections along the Pacific Coast and even to the American Southwest. (Click on the image above for a larger view of this presentation slide.)

From Beringa to Baloney

By Dr. Frank A. Norick

This paper will offer a brief examination of the current state of information and misinformation regarding trans-ocean contact in the Americas before Columbus was born. We will discuss some of the factual accounts, the pipe- dreams and fantasies that constitute what we know or claim to know about pre-Columbian Asian voyages to the New World.

People of the Tides

By Teri Rofkar

"I will be using my daughter Erin's Raven's Tail Robe, The Lituya Bay Robe. The story encompasses historic events from the home of our clan, Raven's of the Tak'-dein-taan. I will take the listener with me as we journey  from 27,000 years ago to January 2010... The story continues, our history continues..."  Click on this link for more information.

The Life and Legacy of Thor Heyerdahl

Thor Heyerdahl and Dr. Donald P. RyanBy Donald P. Ryan, Ph.D.
Division of Humanities, Pacific Lutheran UniversityTacoma, Washington

The long life of Norwegian explorer and scientist, Thor Heyerdahl, was packed with bold adventure and controversy.  From his international leap to fame with the Kon-Tiki Expedition in 1947 until his death in 2002, Heyerdahl’s work primarily addressed the relationship of ancient humans with the oceans and the provocative implications thereof.  Although his work began in the Pacific, his perspective eventually became global. This presentation will provide an overview of Heyerdahl’s fascinating and diverse career and his research strategies.  The presenter was Heyerdahl’s full-time research associate for several years and will provide insights into Heyerdahl’s personality and legacy.

Evidence of a Foreign Presence in the Northwest in Prehistory

By Dr. Alison T. Stenger

The archaeological record of the Northwest contains numerous non-indigenous objects.  Japanese steel, Chinese porcelains and bronzes, and Philippine beeswax are some of the materials observed in site assemblages considered to be pre-contact. Local items, produced to reflect Japanese and Russian decorative styles, are also well documented. Ethnobotanical evidence also exists, in the form of plants from afar. Further, ethnohistorical accounts from multiple areas include descriptions of arrivals by foreigners, and the journeys of local populations to distant lands. Added to these issues is the verification of non-local objects and plants within sealed archaeological sites, as this type of provenience eliminates the possibility that these materials were recently introduced.

In the Portland Basin is a small cluster of prehistoric sites that provides an excellent opportunity to study the issue of foreign occupation. This site complex is distinct from the surrounding American Indian sites.  The artifact types, house shapes, and the cultural priorities reflected in the archaeological record define a population whose life ways did not develop locally. This paper will discuss those occupation areas, and compare them to local sites. The six criteria for diffusion will then be examined, in an effort to assess the applicability of independent invention or of diffusion.

57 Degrees North Latitude: Solo Viola Music from Northern Countries

By Rebecca Osborn West, viola
        Rändala taut - Wanderer’s Song by  Tõnu Kõrvits
        Kwakiutl Night, op. 72 by Derek Healey
        movement 2 of “From the West” for Solo Viola

Tõnu Kõrvits, an esteemed Estonian composer, wrote his piece in 2003. Mr. Kõrvits was born in 1969 and is now a lecturer of composition and Instrumentation at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater. He has won many awards and his music is played by many orchestras in Europe. He enjoys playing the mandola - a large version of the mandolin tuned the same as the viola.

Derek Healey was born in 1936 and taught in Canada at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph. The titles of many of his pieces reflect his interest in the First Nations People. Orchestral works he has written include “The Raven, op. 37”, “Alert Bay: idyll 11”, and “Arctic Images”.

Rebecca Osborn West, a graduate of the Juilliard School, works in New York City and lives in Sitka, Alaska. As a professional violist, she has performed in the major venues of New York City and has lived and performed in Europe and Venezuela. She also wrote the music for a musical revue that was performed on a Russian icebreaker while it was stuck in the Weddell Sea. She is an enrolled member of The Eastern Band of Cherokees of the Qualla Boundary of Cherokee, North Carolina.

Clam Gardens: Aboriginal Mariculture on Canada's West Coast

By Judith Williams

For many years, archaeologists were unaware of the ancient clam terraces at Waiatt Bay, on Quadra Island. Author Judith Williams knew no differently until she was advised of their existence by a Klahoose elder named Elizabeth Harry (Keekus). By liaising with other observers of clam gardens in the Broughton Archipelago and conducting her own survey of Waiatt Bay and Gorge Harbour on Cortes Island, Williams has amassed evidence that the rock structures seen only at the lowest tides were used by native peoples for the purpose of cultivating butter clams.  Her research does much to challenge the notion of pre-contact West Coast indigenous peoples as hunters-gatherers alone. The clam gardens whose existence she reveals here might also be unique in the world.