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About Kenneth M. Ames

On April 21, 2019, Dr. Kenneth Ames, noted anthropologist, scholar, teacher and mentor, passed away.

My research interests have focused on the evolution of social complexity among hunter-gatherers, particularly among what are now termed "complex hunter-gatherers", including the development of permanent social inequality, sedentism and the role of economic intensification in hunter-gatherer social change. The interest in sedentism more broadly includes the evolution of hunter-gatherer mobility patterns. Most of my research has been conducted on the Northwest Coast and the Intermontane Plateau, but I have recently followed up a life-long interest in Japanese archaeology and initiated opportunities in Japan . Finally, I maintain a strong interest in hominid evolution, particularly in the evolution of modern human cognition. However, I follow this topic from the sidelines.

I received my BA in Anthropology from George Washington University in Washington D.C. in 1967, MA in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1969 and PhD from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington , in 1976. I came to Portland State University in 1984 after teaching for two years (1973 - 1975) at what is now known at Moorhead State University, in Moorhead, Minnesota (across the Red River from Fargo North Dakota ) and then moved to Idaho. In Idaho, I initially had a joint appointment as Idaho State Highway Archaeology and a professor at Boise State University. I was Highway Archaeologist between 1975 and 1978. I continued at Boise State , and also worked as a contract archaeologist through Boise State and the Idaho Historical Society. As Highway Archaeologist and as a contract archaeologist I conducted a range of Phase II and Phase III projects throughout Idaho including excavations at the Hatwai site (10NP143) with an occupation spanning ca. 11000 bp - 2800 bp. Since coming to Portland State University, I have concentrated my field research in the Portland Metropolitan area which has a rich archaeological record that is directly relevant to my research interests.


April 2018 Professor Emeritus, Portland State University Anthropology

Curriculum Vitae


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  • ANTH 364 Archaeology of the Pacific Northwest
  • ANTH 366 Mesoamerican Prehistory
  • ANTH 367 East Asian Prehistory
  • ANTH 414 Culture and Ecology
  • ANTH 453 Archaeological Field Methods
  • ANTH 456 Issues in Cultural Resource Management
  • ANTH 461 Advanced Topics in Archaeology
  • ANTH 464 Topics in Northwest Prehistory
  • ANTH 457 Hunter-Gatherers
  • ANTH 550 Core Seminar in Archaeology

Contact Information

Kenneth M. Ames
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland, OR 97207


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