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The Redtail Site : a McKean habitation in south central Saskatchewan



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There is a problem in classifying McKean. McKean is known as a variable material culture grouping that spans the Plains. It existed from about 5700 to 3300 years ago (or 5000 to 3000 radiocarbon years B.P.). Variation within McKean is assessed. This is based on the analysis of the Redtail site and systematic comparisons with the Cactus Flower and Crown sites. These, and other general comparisons, indicate that McKean can be considered a tradition, as defined by Willey and Phillips (1958: 37). Syms's (1977: 70-72) taxonomic framework is recommended to distinguish an earlier McKean configuration from a later Hanna configuration. Also, based on varying emphasis of use of plant resources, northern and southern regional composites should be recognized within both configurations. The focus of this study is the Redtail Site (FbNp-10). It is a multicomponent habitation located in a small basin of the South Saskatchewan River in Wanuskewin Heritage Park. This is about three kilometers north of the city of Saskatoon, in south central Saskatchewan. Preliminary tests by Dr. E. G. Walker in 1982 started an ongoing research project. A 44 m2 block area was excavated at the Redtail site during 1988 and 1989. This fieldwork provides most of the data for this thesis. The Redtail site's natural strata are complex accumulations of slopewash, colluvial and fluvial sediments. Cultural stratigraphic interpretations are based on the field excavation done in natural layers, point provenience measurements, and backplotting to detailed profiles. Paleosurface maps of the block area and taphonomic data are used to assess the post-depositional modifications. Features and spatial distribution patterns indicate probable habitation structures in some of the layers. This work provides new information for evaluating variation within McKean.





Master of Arts (M.A.)


Anthropology and Archaeology


Anthropology and Archaeology



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