The Norby site : a mummy cave complex bison kill on the northern plains
Zurburg, Suzanne Caroline
In the summer of 1988, a Mummy Cave Complex bison kill site, was discovered on Avenue M South, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It was subsequently radiocarbon dated to about 5800 BP which placed the site within the Early Middle Prehistoric Period to the time of the Altithermal climatic interval. At one time, researchers thought that the Plains region was abandoned during the Altithermal as a direct result of extreme drought conditions. The results of this study, however, attest to human occupation of the Plains during this climatic interval, especially along major water courses. It is also suggests that subsistence patterns, and bison procurement in general, did not change from that of the previous time period. Details of the discovery, excavation and analytical techniques applied at the Norby site are presented. The analysis of lithic materials indicates that two projectile point styles are present at the Norby site. The first are side-notched projectile points typical of this time period and the second is a stemmed projectile point, termed a "Manitoba" point. Some "Manitoba" projectile points, discovered in surface sites, were previously associated with Paleoindian assemblages of about 8000 years ago, but the in situ discovery at the Norby site suggests that this projectile point style may have a somewhat later temporal span. Faunal remains are studied in terms of attritional factors, element counts and distribution, and the sexing and aging of skeletal remains. The role of various taphonomic processes in the destruction and distribution of elements at the Norby site is discussed. Bison population dynamics and bison procurement are discussed in an effort to define the subsistence patterns and practices of the Norby site occupants. This type of information has not been abundant for the interval represented by the Early Middle Prehistoric period.