3000-year-old bison butchery uncovered

A ranch in Arizona revealed a 3,000-year-old bison kill site, featuring hundreds of bones and bone fragments, along with dozens of cobblestones and flaked and ground stone tools. The site known as Cave Creek Midden is located near the town of Portal. It was once investigated in 1936 and site revealed stone tools and other artefacts from the period about 4000 and 500 BCE, when humans first started to re-settle the desert Southwest and develop methods for farming corn. The recent discovery of a large bison kill here adds a whole new chapter to the story of the site, and a new understanding of the hunter-gatherers who lived here.

Bison bone deposit (by Western Digs)
Bison bone deposit (by Western Digs)

The recent dig unearthed a deep layer of dark soil about 45 centimetres (18 inches) thick, rich with cobbles, bison bones, and a few stone artefacts. Thanks to a small pit  within it, containing ground stone tools, a bison bone that had been broken radially,  it was possible to date this layer  with radiocarbon dating method to about 1,300 BCE.

A stone arrowhead found in the dig (by Western Digs)
A stone arrowhead found in the dig (by Western Digs)

Most sites in this region only have a handful of bone specimens of bison, and this site has over 200 specimens, coming from a minimum of 6 individuals.

(after Western Digs)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *