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A Faunal Analysis of the Whiting Slough Site (ElNs-10): An Avonlea Processing Site in South-Central Saskatchewan



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The faunal analysis of the Whiting Slough site (ElNs-10) provides a detailed analysis of the faunal assemblage as well as the taphonomic processes that have altered the bone materials at the site. This thesis also examines what procurement strategy took place. Analysis involves (1) calculating skeletal frequencies, (2) identifying the bison herd population structure, (3) pinpointing the seasonality of the bison faunal assemblage, and (4) describing the taphonomic characteristics of the bones. A quantitative and qualitative research design was employed. This involved the re-examination of the faunal assemblage for accuracy of counts as well as the recognition of any identifiable materials or modifications. Quantitative analysis involved accurate descriptions of bone counts for the species present as well as measuring proximal radii in order to accomplish bivariate analysis. Qualitative analysis included the examination of bison lower tooth rows for age assessment of the herd along with the description of the natural and cultural taphonomic characteristics of the faunal assemblage. As a result of this study, it is concluded that the Whiting Slough site (ElNs-10) is a late fall or early winter single component Avonlea bison processing site located roughly 35 km southwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The bone bed has been radiocarbon dated to approximately 1325 years before present. Quantitative analysis indicates that a minimum of 54 bison are present within the assemblage. Bivariate and mandibular dentition analyses reveal a male and female herd with a homogenous age rate of x.6 being harvested. Procurement of this species likely involved the utilization of a pound or other means of containment at a kill site nearby. It is important to note the presence of a potential ceremonial feature containing the remains of a canid that is associated with bison elements many of which are cranial. This research has provided insight on the processes that underwent prior to the construction of the unique bone features present at the site. The faunal analysis of the Whiting Slough site (ElNs-10) has contributed to the overall understanding of the Avonlea phase in Saskatchewan and the Northern Plains.



Avonlea, Processing Site, The Whiting Slough (ElNs-10), Faunal, Analysis, American Bison, South-Central Saskatchewan, Procurement Strategy, Canid, Seasonality, Herd Structure, Taphonomic, Taphonomy, Natural, Cultural, Bone, Features, Archaeology, Bivariate, Mandibular, Dentition Studies



Master of Arts (M.A.)


Archaeology and Anthropology




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