The St. Louis site (FfNk-7) and the Below Forks site (FhNg-25) : the faunal analysis of two mummy cave series and Oxbow Complex sites in central Saskatchewan
Johnston, Jenna S.
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The St. Louis site and the Below Forks site are both well stratified, multicomponent archaeological sites situated on terraces of the South Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan River valleys respectively. The St. Louis site, located 1.6 kilometres east of St. Louis, Saskatchewan, was originally excavated as part of a Cultural Resource Management study conducted by Stantec Consulting Ltd. in 2002. Subsequent excavations were carried out the following year under the supervision of Dr. David Meyer. Artifacts and radiocarbon dates revealed that the site had an antiquity that included the late Plano Tradition, the Mummy Cave Series, and the Oxbow Complex (8400-4590 rcybp). For this thesis only the faunal remains from the upper four occupations were analysed which contained the Mummy Cave Series and Oxbow Complex occupations. The Below Forks site is located two kilometres east of the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers. This site was originally discovered in 1980 by Saskatchewan Research Council archaeologists and was excavated more intensively in 2000, 2001, and 2002 under the supervision of Dr. David Meyer. Diagnostic artifacts and radiocarbon dates indicate that this site contains both Mummy Cave Series and Oxbow Complex occupations. A detailed analysis of the faunal remains from both sites was carried out revealing that a broad spectrum of fauna was exploited, especially at the Below Forks site. It appears that bison were the main source of subsistence, though the number of bison in each occupation was low. There was a heavy reliance on secondary sources, especially snowshoe hare and canids. The highly fragmented and dispersed nature of the faunal remains indicated that most of the occupations were campsites or multiple activity sites. A comparison with other sites of similar geographical location and antiquity revealed similar subsistence practices were utilized at these sites as were utilized at the St. Louis and Below Forks sites. The site comparisons also revealed that the Below Forks site contained the highest diversity of fauna. Paleoenvironmental evidence reveals that the Altithermal climatic period was at its height during the Mummy Cave Series and was in the process of ameliorating during the Oxbow Complex. The placement of the Below Forks site would have made both Boreal Forest and Grassland adapted species available for exploitation and may be a possible explanation for the diversity of species seen at the site. Further paleoenvironmental research will be necessary in continuing studies into subsistence practices used during these time periods.