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Possible High-Altitude Buffalo Jump Found in Wyoming

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wyoming buffalo jumpDUBOIS, WYOMING—The Casper Star Tribune reports that archaeologist Todd Guenther and his students from Central Wyoming College found a possible buffalo jump site in the Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains. The team was surveying prehistoric campsites near the Dinwoody Glacier, when they found a mile-long series of lichen-covered cairns that led to a precipice, and stone flakes in a possible butchering area below it. Holes in the ground, surrounded by stones, were found near each end of the drive line. Known as shaman structures, it is thought that people used these pits to pray for a successful hunt. Guenther’s research suggests that these prehistoric people may have lived in the mountains all year long. He found that, in January, some of the ground in the region had been cleared of snow and ice by the wind. There were also free-flowing springs, and trees for fuel and shelter. “Would they have wasted weeks and weeks of work and expended thousands of calories carrying all the meat and pine nuts into the valleys below?” he asked. I think not.” To read in-depth about buffalo jumps, go to “Letter From Montana: The Buffalo Chasers.”

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