Bison Bone Pit!

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Oh the irony of using a dental pick to expose some bison molars.

Ah yes, running my first big excavation project – it’s a little overwhelming but overall the sites are awesome! You just never know when you’re going to dig up a giant badger hole filled with bison bones…yep that happens sometimes. Well alright, it’s a first for me.

It was a long and tedious affair, excavating all that bone, and it involved diverse tools such as dental picks, trowels, paint brushes off all sizes and the odd wooden skewer.

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Help! Help my head is stuck!

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Every day I’m troweling

And the recording, oh the recording! But at least in the end it looked mighty impressive and at the end of the day, that’s what counts – amazing photos. But we managed to have some fun while we were at it too, staring at sand for hours on end makes you go a bit loopy.

Figuring out what it was, is proving a bit trickier and we’re still working on that as well. It’s a 5 m long pit containing 9 bison skulls, bones from 3 canids (wolves I think), a couple projectile points and a bunch of pottery.

13-246~1293Some of our Cree First Nations participants suggested that the order of the bones represents the significance of the animals to them – the dogs/wolves represent the bear (its the most important animal to them but they would never sacrifice one), it was first – at the bottom of the pit. Next come all the bison – they’re the majority of the food and clothing, so they get to be next. Then came the random scattering of elk and deer bones, they supplement the food supplies, and then lastly come the people, following where the herds go. The pottery and points at the top would represent them.

But the why? Why?! That’s the tricky part we haven’t figured out yet. Ceremony? Special event? Keeping the kids busy for a few hours? We’re currently taking all suggestions into consideration.

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