The Fitzgerald site : a besant pound and processing area on the Northern Plains
Hjermstad, Benjamin Edward
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The Fitzgerald site is a Besant pound and processing area located in the Moose Woods Sand Hills 15 km southeast of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Two seasons of excavation resulted in the recovery of an extensive collection of 1200 year old faunal and lithic artifacts and the identification of numerous features. Analysis of these materials indicates that the site occupation was a fall event involving the slaughter of at least 49 bison. All ages and sexes are represented in the bison herd population; however, gender analyses indicate that the mature cows were more heavily processed than the bulls and juveniles. Application of economic utility indices shows that these animals were being selectively processed for grease. The Fitzgerald site strongly resembles other sites from the Besant period. Most bison communal kills were large and involved the intensive butchering indicative of pemmican manufacture. Like a select few Besant sites, the assemblage is also dominated by the lithic material Knife River Flint. These patterns demonstrate that the Besant peoples were practicing a form of communal hunting that involved the mass production of pemmican stores for the coming winter.