BISON KILL SITE DATING TO 3,000 YEARS AGO FOUND IN SOUTHEASTERN ARIZONA --SURPRISING!
In the desert upland just a few miles from both Mexico and New Mexico, researchers have uncovered a 3,000-year-old bison kill site, featuring hundreds of bones and bone fragments, along with dozens of cobblestones and flaked and ground stone tools. Adding to the surprise is the fact that this location, known as Cave Creek Midden, near the town of Portal, is already well-known to archaeologists.
When it was first investigated in 1936, the site revealed stone tools and other artifacts that came to typify a critical phase in Southwestern history: the period from about 4000 and 500 BCE, when humans first started to re-settle the desert Southwest and develop methods for farming corn.
The discovery of a large bison kill here adds a whole new chapter to the story of the site, and a new understanding of the hunter-gatherers who lived here.Excavations revealed bison bones, cobblestones, and manos in a layer dated to around 1300 BCE.
“We found a bunch of bison where we hoped to find corn,” said Dr. Jesse Ballenger, of the University of Arizona, who co-led the new study with Dr. Jonathan Mabry.
“The presence of bison at the Cave Creek Midden site opens interesting avenues of research,” added Francois Lanoe, an Arizona doctoral student who also took part in the study.
“If bison were a major component of people’s diet, well, it is unexpected in that region of the Southwest.