A faunal analysis of the Jackson Site (diMe-17) in southwestern Manitoba
Playford, Tomasin M.
The Jackson site (DiMe-17) is a Late Precontact site located in the Lauder Sandhills of southwestern Manitoba. The majority of the site consists of a Vickers Focus bison kill and associated processing/refuse areas radiocarbon dated to 290±50, 300±70, and 410±60 BP. At the southwestern corner of the site, a small amount of Blackduck pottery was recovered below the Vickers Focus occupation. Excavations occurred at the site between 1994 and 1997 and were completed by university archaeological field school students, paid crew members, and one volunteer. The site was excavated in an attempt to better understand the Vickers Focus presence in the Lauder Sandhills and to provide archaeological field school students with an opportunity to gain first hand knowledge of field excavation techniques. A total of 194, 198 bone specimens were analyzed from the Vickers Focus occupation at the Jackson site. Element and species distribution patterns verified proposed activity areas, while an examination of bison mandible eruption and wear patterns in conjunction with foetal bison remains corroborate that the site was occupied during the winter months. The fragmented nature of the assemblage is a result of human butchery and subsequent processing of elements for marrow and grease. Non-cultural processes such as carnivore modification, weathering, rootlet etching, and trampling left visible traces on the assemblage but did not cause density-mediated destruction. A comparison of the subsistence strategies employed by the Jackson and Sanderson site inhabitants did not provide sufficient information to confirm proposed contact between Vickers Focus and Mortlach groups. The Sanderson site is a multiple Mortlach occupation located on the Souris River in southeastern Saskatchewan. Inhabitants of both sites were reliant on bison, and both employed a smash and strip method of bison butchery. Intensive bison utilization was evident at both sites but the Jackson site inhabitants may have been under greater nutritional stress. The greatest difference between the two groups was visible in the method of meat storage. The Mortlach inhabitants at the Sanderson site used frozen meat caches while no such evidence for this exists at the Jackson site.