Iain McKechnie


PhD, Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 2013
MA, Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, 2005
BA, Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1999

I am a coastal archaeologist who is interested in the big history of food, both as a substance and as a medium for understanding human organization and the historical ecology marine environments in the distant past. My research focuses on ancient food harvesting practices of Indigenous peoples using bones and shells recovered from archaeological sites (ancient human settlements) on the Pacific Northwest Coast. I use these ancient records to broaden perspective on and contextualize present-day coastal resource management issues with a particular focus on fisheries. I have been fortunate to help coordinate community-based research projects with Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations on Western Vancouver Island as well as elsewhere on the coast as a researcher, consultant, and a zooarchaeologist (someone who studies the human use of animals in the past).

Please click on the tab to your right to see a list of recent publications. Pleas also feel free to visit my researchgate.net page to view the text of these papers.

Research Interests

Zooarchaeology, Animals and People, Historical Ecology, Marine Resource Management, Northwest Coast



Archaeological Society of British Columbia, Victoria Branch (ASBC Victoria)
Canadian Archaeology Association (CAA)
International Council of Archaeozoology (ICAZ)
Society for American Archaeology (SAA)
Society for Ethnobiology (SEB)




Please click on the green hyperlinks to view publications, Also visit my academia.edu page to view pdfs

McKechnie, Iain, Dana Lepofsky, Madonna L. Moss, Virginia L. Butler, Trevor J. Orchard, Gary Coupland, Fredrick Foster, Megan Caldwell and Ken Lertzman (2014) Archaeological Data Provide Alternative Hypotheses for Pacific Herring Abundance and Variability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111(9):E807–E816.

McKechnie, Iain and Nicole F. Smith
(2013) Coastal Field Archaeology in Huu-ay-aht First Nation Territory, Southwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Society for American Archaeology Current Research Online 153(1)

Speller, Camilla F., Lorenz Hauser, Dana Lepofsky, Daniel Peterson, Jason Moore, Antonia Rodriguez, Madonna Moss, Iain McKechnie and Dongya Y. Yang (2012) High Potential for Using DNA from Ancient Herring Bones to Inform Modern Fisheries Management and Conservation. PLoS ONE 7(11):e51122.

McKechnie, Iain (2012) Zooarchaeological Analysis of the Indigenous Fishery at the Huu7ii Big House and Back Terrace, Huu-ay-aht Territory, Southwestern Vancouver Island. In Huu7ii: Household Archaeology at a Nuu-chah-nulth Village Site in Barkley Sound, by Alan D. McMillan and Denis E. St. Claire. pp. 154–186. Archaeology Press, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.

Szpak, Paul, Trevor J. Orchard, Iain McKechnie & Darren R. Gröcke (2012) Historical Ecology of Late Holocene Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) from Northern British Columbia: Isotopic and Zooarchaeological Perspectives. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(5):1553–1571.

Mackie, Quentin, Daryl W. Fedje, Duncan McLaren, Nicole Smith & Iain McKechnie (2011) Early Environments and Archaeology of Coastal British Columbia. In Trekking the Shore: Changing Coastlines and the Antiquity of Coastal Settlement, Nuno F. Bicho, Jonathan A. Haws and Loren G. Davis, eds, Pp. 51–103. New York: Springer.

McKechnie, Iain, and Rebecca J. Wigen (2011) Toward a Historical Ecology of Pinniped and Sea Otter Hunting Traditions on the Coast of Southern British Columbia. In Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters: Integrating Archaeology and Ecology in the Northeast Pacific. Todd J. Braje and Torben C. Rick, eds. Pp. 129-166. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Iain McKechnie and Sarah Whitcher Kansa (2011) Transformations in Digital Communication and Collaboration: Recent Perspectives From Zooarchaeology. SAA Archaeological Record 11(1):10&29. (introduction to a special issue)

McMillan, Alan D., Iain McKechnie, Denis E. St. Claire and S. Gay Frederick (2008). Exploring Variability in Maritime Resource Use on the Northwest Coast: A Case Study from Barkley Sound, Western Vancouver Island. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 32(2):214-238.

McKechnie, Iain (2007). Investigating the Complexities of Sustainable Fishing at a Prehistoric Village on Western Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Journal for Nature Conservation 15(3): 208-222.

Moss, Madonna, Dongya Yang, Seth Newsome, Camilla Speller, Iain McKechnie, Alan McMillan, Robert Losey and Paul Koch (2006). Historical Ecology and Biogeography of North Pacific Pinnipeds: Isotopes and Ancient DNA from Three Archaeological Assemblages. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 1(2): 165-190.

McKechnie, Iain (2005). Column sampling and the archaeology of small fish at Ts’ishaa. In Ts’ishaa: Archaeology and Ethnography of a Nuu-chah-nulth Origin Site in Barkley Sound. by Alan D. McMillan and Denis E. St. Claire Pp. 206-223. Burnaby: Archaeology Press, Simon Fraser University.


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