Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vore Buffalo Jump-Sundance, Wyoming

July 9 & 10.  We are in Sundance, Wyoming, staying at Mountain View Campground.  We went in town and saw the memorial to The Sundance Kid, but just weren't in the mood for another museum.  Instead, we drove over to the Vore Buffalo Jump.  A natural sinkhole was used by many Indian tribes between around 1500 and 1800 to aid in their harvesting of the Buffalo.  They would chase the buffalo to this sinkhole and after the buffalo fell in, they shot them with their arrows.  Then, they went down in the hole and butchered the buffalo.  For most of this time, the Indians here did not have horses, so they had to carry out the meat, marrow, hides, and body parts miles back to their teepees.  At some point they used dogs to carry meat, until horses were used by the Shoshone.  The Shoshone got the horses when a small Spanish contingent left the area quite quickly and left their horses behind.  The Indians used every part of the buffalo, leaving only the bones behind.  They used the buffalo brains to tan hides, the bladders for canteens, etc.  Arrowheads found at the site prove that numerous tribes hunted here.  The arrowheads are made from different stones from areas around North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Once the excavation started in 1971, they found 22 layers of bones in a total depth of 105 feet.  300 years=22 layers.

Archaeologists at work
Recently found bones

View of Sinkhole rim
Sifting for small pieces

Our campsite
Deb and the Sundance Kid

            This photo of the 1971 dig shows some of the 22 layers. (found photo on web)

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