CORVALLIS - For at least 3,000 years, people have utilized the rich resources of the Coquille estuary near Bandon, while dealing with massive earthquakes, devastating floods and other environmental influences.
The history of those people, and how they coped with the environment, is the subject of a new book edited and co-written by Roberta Hall, an Oregon State University anthropology professor.
"People of the Coquille Estuary" looks at the cultural and environmental changes over 3,000 years through archaeology, geology, ethnology and biology.
Hall said the "holistic approach" to the book gives readers a detailed look at how the earliest inhabitants lived, and how succeeding populations adapted to change - both natural and human- caused.
"There was, of course, the influence of disease from European contact," Hall said, "and there also were more subtle effects - from introduced plants and animals to the building of a jetty about a century ago."
Scientists have been able to piece together a picture of how early people lived in the area through evidence obtained during various research projects. For example, researchers discovered that several prehistoric women there suffered from arthritis of the right elbow, which is "indicative of stressful activities, probably food preparation," Hall pointed out.
Her own research uncovered clay cooking vessels, dating to the birth of Jesus, and a University of Oregon project discovered woven fish weirs that are centuries old.
The characteristic which various peoples of the area shared over many centuries was the use of the region's abundant resources - deer, elk, fish, marine mammals and shellfish - as well as using the river for transportation.
Published in 1996, "People of the Coquille Estuary" is available through the OSU Book Stores, Inc. Contributing authors include Don Alan Hall, Lee W. Lindsay Jr., Sylvia Lindsay and Betty L. Vogel.
It also is available at the Umpqua Discovery Center in Reedsport; Coos County Museum, North Bend; the Winter River Book Store, Bandon; Oregon Historical Society, Portland; Klamath County Museum, Klamath Falls; and Lincoln County Museum, Newport.