Sociology and Anthropology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

SOAN March 2018 Colloquium: EVOLUTION OF A FISHERY AND THE DECLINE OF AN ESTUARY: Historical Ecology and Archaeology of the Chesapeake Bay

by Anne Reynolds

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Mason’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology is proud to invite the university community to its March 6, 2018 colloquium. The featured speaker for this event is Dr. Torben Rick, the Curator of North American Archaeology and the Chair in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian. His talk is titled “Evolution of a Fishery and the Decline of an Estuary: Historical Ecology and Archaeology on the Chesapeake Bay.” It will be held in the HUB, Rooms 3, 4, and 5 and the talk begins at 12pm.

Rick is the author or editor of three books -- Canyon through Time: The Archaeology, History, and Ecology of the Tecolote Canyon Area, Santa Barbara County, California; Human Impacts on Ancient Marine Ecosystems: A Global Perspective; and The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Late Holocene San Miguel Island -- and many journal articles and book chapters. His collaborative and interdisciplinary work seeks to integrate the biological sciences with anthropology.

Rick’s research concentrates on the interactions of ancient people with coastal and terrestrial ecosystems, investigating their impact on marine ecosystems. At the SOAN Colloquium, he will discuss the profound changes that have taken place in the Chesapeake Bay over the course of 12,000 years of human settlement there. Earliest residents of the bay region farmed, fished, foraged, and hunted the abundant resources of the estuary, and the extensive fishing industry in the bay has had ongoing implications for the region's ecology.

Rick considers the bay’s evolution through a multi-method approach, and his presentation demonstrates the ways in which anthropological study, with its emphasis on massive time scales that reach beyond a historical record, offers an understanding of the past that informs decisions being made today.

Participants in the talk are invited to think critically about the information that Rick presents; the session will include a period for questions and answers.

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