The Melhagen site : a besant bison kill in south central Saskatchewan
Ramsay, Allyson M.
The Melhagen Site (EgNn-1) is an early Late Prehistoric Period Besant bison pound. It is located in the Aiktow Sand Hills near the town of Elbow, in south central Saskatchewan. Excavations were carried out during the late 1960's by the Saskatoon Archaeological Society. Further excavations and surveys were conducted in 1986 and 1987. This thesis was undertaken to salvage the quickly deteriorating materials from the early excavations, and to further analyse and interpret the Besant occupations at the Melhagen site. A discussion of past and contemporary views of the relationship between Besant and Sonota are supplemented by a statistical analysis of the Melhagen projectile point collection. The collection displays the complete range of variation in the size and shapes of points found in many Besant sites. Attributes identified In the statistical study relate to both the functional history and the stylistic variability of the points. Several kill events occurred at the Melhagen pound. The most intensive hunting was concentrated in the fall, and several kill took place throughout the winter and into the early spring. The site displays evidence of primary, secondary and tertiary processing of carcasses. Interpretations regarding the Besant peoples' hunting strategies, bison processing and utilization preferences are developed through the examination of butchering patterns, paleoenvironmental, taphonomic, and ethnohistoric information.