Friday, April 14, 2017

Bison and the Oneota II

The CAS and Codex are indebted to Dr. Robert Sasso its March Guest speaker and his topic, The Importance of the Bison in the Late Prehistoric Oneota Culture in the Upper Midwest. Our general knowledge of the Oneota is sketchy and deeper understanding of Oneonta life is wanting. An after-noon with Bob Sasso was an excellent way of filling-in some of the blanks.

We understand that whereas bison were a significant menu item for many settle-ments significant bison evidence is pri-marily found in at La Crosse, as well as in Lake Winnebago-Middle Fox and Lake Koshkonong Areas. At one time or another the vast bison range extended south from NW Canada beyond the Rio Grande and eastward across the Great Plains to Appalachia.
Bison Scapula Hoe

How have archaeologists determined bison consumption? A careful tabulation of bison bones and others can provide a workable ratio that offers insight but one that is general. Summer hunting safaris provided the hunters with surplus meat that was dried and collected as jerky, lean meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent spoilage. Jerky served to balance the diet and could have been trade item.

Where bison remains occur often found are modified scapula hoes—the scapula (shoulder blade) after some finessing and hafting served admirably as a hoe. The extensive span within which scapular hoes have been found attest to their popularity and utility.

CAS/Bison Ties: The Anker Site

Picture below are two bison, the one on the left is the CAS logo. The one on the right is taken from the Chicago area Archaeology Bulletin No. 3. the Bulletin cover was designed by Ms. Nancy Engle .

The Chicago Area Archaeology Bulletin No. 3 was published by the Illinois Archaeology Survey and edited by Elaine Bluhm whose contribution papers were The Anker Site co-authored by Allen Liss and The Oak Forest Site co-authored by Gloria J. Fenner.

Excavated in 1957 The salvage dig brought to view information of an unu-sual nature of individual wealth, organi-zation and evidence of considerable trade by its occupants over a probable period 1400—1500.

Among its finds was a stone pipes deco-rated with graven bison as illustrated below.

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