Bison exploitation in the Wyoming Basin at the Middle/Late Holocene transition: A view from the Graham Ranch site
Wyoming Basin archaeofaunas dating to the Middle/Late Holocene transition typically lack bison remains and instead suggest a focus on a wide range of smaller prey species. Excavations along the Sweetwater River at the Graham Ranch site produced an extensive assemblage of highly fragmented bison bones representing the remains of at least two bison that were intensively processed for meat, marrow, and grease. We use a patch use model, in combination with data from 49 Wyoming Basin archaeofaunas to explore the reasons why ancient butchers might expend the effort to extract hard to obtain within-bone nutrients. Our study suggests that prey abundance, possibly linked to climate driven trends in forage communities, may have been one factor that conditioned processing decisions across the Holocene in the Wyoming Basin.
Sociology and Anthropology
Bison, Bone grease processing, Marginal value theorem, Wyoming Basin
Smith, Craig S., David A. Byers, and Cynthia D. Craven. "Bison Exploitation in the Wyoming Basin at the Middle/Late Holocene Transition: AView from the Graham Ranch Site." Plains anthropologist 53, no. 207 (2008): 313-332.