A re-evaluation of the Oxbow Dam Site (DhMn-1) : Middle Holocene cultural continuity on the northern plains
Green, D'Arcy Clarke
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The following thesis includes a re-examination of research conducted at the Oxbow Dam site (DhMn-1) in southeastern Saskatchewan in 1956 as well as the results of new research conducted at the site in 1995 and 1996. The material recovered during the original excavation was instrumental in defining the Oxbow cultural complex of the Northern Plains (Nero and McCorquodale 1958). As research on the subject progressed through the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, many archaeologists felt that the original assemblage no longer fit directly into the complex but, instead, represented a transitional period from antecedent Mummy Cave series complexes into an early example of the Oxbow complex. This notion was based on the fact that the 1950s excavation produced a radiocarbon date that was much older than those produced from subsequent research. Furthermore, the assemblage, which was thought to represent a single component, contains artifacts that are atypical of the complex as it is currently understood. The results of the 1995 and 1996 field work indicate that the site is actually multicomponent and that the Oxbow material is a relatively late example of a campsite from the complex. In light of these results, it appears that the original radiocarbon date was likely contaminated and that the artifact assemblage was a mixture of two or more cultural components; a combination which simulated what an early Oxbow component might look like. An overview of assemblages from various sites within the complex, however, strongly suggests that cultural continuity exists between grassland Mummy Cave series variants like Gowen (Walker 1992) and later Oxbow assemblages while certain aspects of the complex indicate southern and eastern trade influences.