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Archaeological investigations at the Cut Arm site (FbNp-22) : evidence for Wanuskewin Heritage Park as an island on the plains


The Cut Arm site (FbNp-22) is a well stratified, multi-component habitation site on the Northern Plains. The Cut Arm site lies within Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan which is centered on the Opimihaw Creek. The site was first identified in the original survey of the Wanuskewin Heritage Park area and was excavated in 2001 and 2002 by the Department of Archaeology, University of Saskatchewan undergraduate field school. The site contains cultural materials spanning from the Historic period to the Early Middle Precontact period and occupations from the following phases: Historic period, Contact period, Plains Side-Notched complex, Prairie Side-Notched complex, Besant complex, McKean series, Oxbow complex and the Mummy Cave series. This cultural chronology is supported by five radiocarbon dates. The occurrence of all such phases within a single site is relatively rare and presents an important opportunity for expanding upon the knowledge of human occupation on the Northern Plains. The overarching research objective of this thesis is to further the reconstruction of prehistoric subsistence and settlement patterns within the Opimihaw Creek area. A comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the archaeological assemblage was undertaken which includes both features as well as faunal, lithic, pottery, ceramic, metal and botanical artifacts to determine how, when and why the site was occupied. The Cut Arm site contains multiple Middle Precontact period occupations which are discussed in context with other sites in the Wanuskewin Heritage Park containing components from this period. A pattern of intensive utilization of the park throughout the Middle Precontact is identified and discussed in terms of the unique character of the area. The identification of this terrestrial island on the plains contributes to an archaeological understanding of human mobility, settlement and subsistence patterns on the Northern Plains.



Plains Precontact Archaeology, Cut Arm site, FbNp-22, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Island on the plains



Master of Arts (M.A.)


Archaeology and Anthropology




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