David R. Huelsbeck

Professor of Anthropology

David R. Huelsbeck

Office Location:Xavier Hall - Room 101


  • Professional
  • Biography
  • Video

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Dean of Social Sciences Division


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Washington State University, 1983
  • M.A., Anthropology, Washington State University, 1981
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1974

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Northwest Coast Native American Cultures


Huelsbeck started doing prehistoric archaeology in Wisconsin. After moving to Washington, he developed a research specialty in identifying animal bones seeking to understand socio-economic complexity among Northwest Coast Native American cultures, especially at the Ozette site. (Ozette is a Makah village partially destroyed by a mudslide, where baskets, boxes and other vegetal artifacts were preserved and is sometimes called a North American Pompeii).

Huelsbeck began teaching at Santa Clara University and branched into historical archaeology (California Missions and late 19th and early 20th century American culture). He came to PLU in 1989 and developed an applied archaeology program with the US Forest Service. Annual research projects involving students and volunteers have ranged from focusing on prehistoric Native American sites to historic mining and logging camps. Huelsbeck maintains an ongoing relationship with the Makah Tribe, including a J-term course that takes students to the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay.

In the last 10 years Huelsbeck has published 15 articles on subjects ranging from “The Surplus Economy of the Central Northwest Coast,” to “Native American Cultural Continuity at California’s Missions. Also, he has authored or co-authored more than 20 reports on subjects ranging from the nature of prehistoric use of alpine meadows in the Washington Cascades to socio-economic indicators among the faunal remains from a restaurant in gold-rush era Skagway, Alaska. He has directed archaeology projects large and small, chaired a variety of committees and commissions on and off of campus and chaired the Anthropology Department from 1993-95 and 1998-2000 and has been Dean of Social Sciences 2000-2006.

Makah Culture Past and Present