Archaeology Lecture Series

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History's annual Archaeology Lecture Series is held in the fall at the University of Oregon. The lecture series brings notable scholars from around the country to present on topics in prehistory, historical archaeology, zooarchaeology, and more.

Part of the statewide Oregon Archaeology Celebration held each October, the Archaeology Lecture Series engages the UO community and the wider public in an ongoing exploration of our collective heritage. We invite you to be part of the exploration, either by attending a lecture in person during the month of October, or by viewing the lectures in the video archive.

This fall, talks will be held in the MNCH Galleria at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Friday, October 19 
Shannon Tushingham  


Sacred Smoke and Other Substances: Archaeological Studies of Psychoactive Plant Use 
People have been using mind-altering substances for thousands of years. Join Washington State University archaeologist Shannon Tushingham as she shares her research on psychoactive plant use by ancient societies in the Americas and beyond. Learn how chemical residue analysis, ancient periodontics research, and sacred tobacco studies with contemporary Native American communities are helping Tushingham uncover new insights into the historical use of tobacco, cannabis, coca, and more. 


Friday, October 26 

Geoffrey Smith


Paleoindian Lifeways in the Big Empty: Results from a Near-Decade of Research in the Oregon Outback
Since 2010, the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) has conducted archaeological research in southeastern Oregon in an effort to understand early Native American lifeways. Join archaeologist Geoffrey Smith, Executive Director of the Great Basin Paleoindian Research Unit at UNR, for an overview of what has been revealed about Paleoindian settlement systems, subsistence strategies, and land-use in one of the most remote parts of Oregon. 


Friday, November 2 Todd Braje
130,000 Years of Human Occupation in California? What We Know (and Don’t Know) about the Peopling of the Americas
A recent paper published in Nature presented archaeological evidence for human occupation in southern California 130,000 years ago at the Cerutti Mastodon site. The study, which attracted widespread media attention and scientific debate, follows in a long line of extraordinary claims for deep human antiquity in the Americas. Join California Academy of Sciences archaeologist Todd Braje as he reviews the evidence from the site and explores why the authors’ claims are so controversial.