Archaeology of the Portland Area

Virginia L. Butler, Portland State University

Part of the 2021 Archaeology Roadshow


The Portland area has many layers of history, and holds hundreds of archaeological sites that tell a story of human history extending back over 12,000 years. This presentation reviews ways we understand this complex and rich human story, using theory and method from geology, anthropology/archaeology, history, and Indigenous knowledge.

Biographical Information
Virginia Butler earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia, and an M.A in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Washington. She joined the Department of Anthropology at Portland State University in 1995 and retired in 2020. Her primary research focuses on the long-term relationships between people and animals, especially fishes, which she has addressed mainly through study of animal bones and teeth from archaeological sites. Her regional focus is the Pacific Northwest, but she has also carried out work in Oceania and the Great Basin of western North America. Since 2012, Butler has been the lead organizer of the Archaeology Roadshow, an annual large-scale public outreach event that takes place on PSU campus and sister communities in Oregon.