The Little Bison Basin Valley : a Look at Its History
May 5th, 2000 Hunter College, Introduction to Archeology Professor C. M. Tinsley The Little Bison Basin Valley : A look at its history This valley, future home of a ski resort and other activities, has a history of its own. It is divided into three major areas: The Poplar Region, The Bud Site, and the Gasville, areas which descend from North to South respectively. It is assumed that climatological conditions are similar to those found in the same area thousands of years ago, with some minor changes in temperature that may have increased due to the Green house effect and global warming.
These three sites were studied separately in the following order : • Poplar Region o Three regions were excavated ? Site A ? Site B ? Site C • The Bud Site o Two distinct occupation horizons were found and evidence of borderline occupation by habitants between periods o Two levels were studied ? Upper Level ? Lower Level • The Gasville site o An excavation subdivided into four levels was done and each produced evidence that helped to determine many facts about the past living conditions in the area ?
Level 1 ? Level 2 ? Level 3 ? Level 4 This paper discusses the evidence found in these areas and concludes with the different aspects of the area based on the facts and evidence. This valley is composed of high slope mountains and the weather differs at different altitudes. Although four seasons are present, the intensity of each weather condition usually affects the highest altitude mountain ranges more than the lower terraces. The highest mountain is about 2000 meters and vegetation exists at the very top as well.
Changes in weather conditions allow animal migration and this is what the evidence suggests at the moment. Cattle are seen throughout the Summer time in the lower valley and this behavior is assumed to have been taken place for many years. We notice that season fruits are to be found all over, but mostly Summer time promotes ripening of different types of fruits. This is an important fact which has to be taken into consideration if we are to assume diet behavior of those who lived there thousand of years ago.
The following diagram shows a summary of the results of Carbon 14 radioactivity of each area. [pic] Here we can notice that the Gasville area is the region where the oldest artifacts were found followed by the Poplar Site and then the Poplar Region. This suggests that migration may have taken place from the Southern aspect of the valley towards the Northern part. We also noticed that the upper level of the Bud site and the upper level of the Gasville area share about the same time frame.
This may suggest that populations were found scattered among both areas around the same time at the end of the period, but the Poplar region shows no sign of human or animal presence to after about 2000 years ago. Our data suggests that Gasville was the area where around 4000 ya animals were present. No evidence suggests the presence of humans or any other artifacts. Bones found represent life in the area by primitive mammals, but no human remains. The upper gave us information about cultural remains about animals and the use of tools by primitive humans.
We believe these were humans because no other evidence suggests that any other mammal used tools or hunting techniques such as pits to hunt their pray. This could be the time when humans first arrived to this area. The use of fire represents a cold climate and a highly skilled activity to keep warmth. Their diet was perhaps high in proteins (meat), and fat. No evidence suggested that these humans eat the bone marrow for protein and fat. Humans continued in the area for over 1400 years. The fact that we find some tent rings in the area also suggests a highly cultural behavior.
In the upper levels we see a number of fragmented bone which may suggest that they began to eat more from each animal killed. Perhaps animals became scarce therefore they began to explore the taste of bone marrow. [pic]we also noticed the different types of tools used to hunt from the lowest level to the most current level and retouched flakes prevailed during all periods we have determined by our excavations. This was a favorite weapon to hunt and perhaps used to hunt larger preys found in the area.
The use of end scraper also prevailed for many years and it was probably used to tear up the skin to cover themselves in the cold winter time. Other tools were also found, but a significant lower number. As time went by, some small populations seemed to have migrated north and settle in the Bud Site or perhaps migrated back and forth to Gasville as evidence suggests that humans lived in both places in the same period. This site was divided into two time periods. The lower level represents the oldest period whereas the upper level represents that most recent period.
In comparing the amount of killing that took place between the periods, we can see, based on the evidence found, that a larger number of killings took place in the oldest period but I find no correlation to any cultural distinction or diet habit based on this evidence. The fact that Bison are usually present in the region around May, it could be suggested that only in this time period humans were present in the area, but mostly living in Gasville, but these are mere speculations.
NO other evidence suggests that only humans were present for short periods of time. Stemmed points and side-nothed points found along with bones that had humanly produced marks, suggests that indeed humans went to the area to hunt, but the lack of upper limbs during the whole period either may suggest cultural behavior not really understood. As time passed, more humans moved north and settled in the Poplar site. Excavations of three areas give us information about the cultural behavior and hunting techniques used by those living there in a particular time. pic] In this area we noticed a diet change from red meat to fish. We notice that in one of the levels the fish vertebrae suggests that a mid summer fishing season took place in the upper level. Without much speculation, it could be assumed that around 2000 years ago there was a constant migration of humans between all three sites, where fishing may have taken place in the northern portion as well as mammals hunting. As time passes, we noticed a continual increase in hunting techniques used by the inhabitants of those lands.
No cultural rituals or behavior is noticed based on the evidence besides the mutilation of upper limbs in one of the areas. The Poplar site contained a larger number of mammal species which suggests a better climate compared to the Southern portion where only heavy built animals were found. Overall we can suggest that animals and humans lived there We noticed an increase in hunting techniques and tools used to kill their prey. We notice the use of fire and end scraper which suggest a cold weather that perhaps motivated the population to migrate.