One Thousand-Year-Old Bison Bones Unearthed

The discovery is helping understand Native American culture long ago

College students have made a 1,000-year-old discovery in Mitchell at the Prehistoric Indian Village.

But that’s not all, the college kids aren’t even from this area, they’re visiting from the United Kingdom.

Their findings are helping locals understand Native American culture long ago.

“We come in every morning, we get all of our stuff, our equipment that we need and one of us will go down and start excavating out,” says Megan Stealey. “Another person will bag any finds, and record them in a notebook.”

That’s the usual routine Stealey, and 14 other University of Exeter students who traveled from Europe to the U.S., have been performing since June 16.

They traveled to learn about archeological excavation.

Turns out, they’ll be the ones helping to educate us.

“We dug about a meter down and we found this pelvis, and then we continued about 10 centimeters and found the vertebrae,” explains Amy Chamberlain-Webber, also a University of Exeter student.

The bones they found belong to two bison, an adult and a baby, from 1,000-years-ago.

Archeological Professor at the University of Exeter, Alan Outram says the condition of these two animal remains is what makes them ground breaking.

“It’s unusual that we would find these in one piece, normally they have been processed much more,” says Outram.

He says this discovery gives us a better idea of how Native Americans butchered and ate bison years and years ago.

“It seems that they certainly liked ribs, because one of the things we can see here is that they’ve chopped down the side of the vertebrae down the spine, and broke off big racks of ribs,” he explains. “I think food is what defines cultures more than anything else, and butchery is certainly different in different parts of the world.”

This has turned a routine schedule, into a remarkable discovery.

“Its finding stuff you weren’t expecting to find,” says Chamberlain-Webber. “It’s been fascinating.”

The students will continue excavating at the Prehistoric Indian Village until next week.

They hope to uncover even more bison bones before then.

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