The Lebret site
Smith, Brian J.
The results of the archaeological investigation of the Lebret site (EeMw-26) in the Qu'Appelle River Valley of the southeastern Saskatchewan Parklands describe and interpret the prehistoric utilization of the Fishing Lakes area for the past 3000 years. The 1984 and 1985 excavations provide a culture history for this region. Archaeological complexes include two Middle Plains Indian Period occupations: one an unidentified occupation, and the other a Sandy Creek occupation. Several Late Plains Indian Period occupations including Avonlea, Prairie Side-Notched, Late Plains or Prairie Side-Notched (including the presence of Blackduck), and a Late Plains-Fall River occupation are present. The Lebret site operated as a fishery where the same pattern of resource exploitation was undertaken during the spring and early summer of the year for the entire length of the culture history represented. An extensive review of historical and ethnographic literature has provided evidence that fishing was a seasonal occurrence for some bands of Northern Plains Grassland oriented peoples who spent the winter, spring and early summer in the Parklands. It is suggested that the abundant fish resources, as well as the large variety of mammal and bird species present in the immediate environs of the Lebret site, allowed regional band groups to inhabit this base camp for several weeks or even months during the spring. The time spent there enabled these people to prepare for the upcoming summer bison hunts. It is suggested that fishing was not an activity practiced by all northern Grasslands peoples, but fish were exploited by some bands utilizing the resources of a particular regional habitat. In order to better understand and interpret the use of regional habitats by band level groups, it is recommended that archaeologists adopt an environmentally sensitive regional approach as an aid in interpreting variations in Parkland archaeological assemblages.