October 7, 2016 5:50 pm
Updated: October 7, 2016 10:25 pm

Discovery of bison bones near Calgary offers glimpse into how people lived centuries ago

WATCH ABOVE: An archeological dig at McKinnon flats southeast of Calgary, is providing more insight into how people lived in the area three to five hundred years ago. Campsites have been dug up, showing how inhabitants processed bison for food. David Boushy has more.


Archaeologists have unearthed bison bones in McKinnon Flats, southeast of Calgary, that help paint a picture of what life was like for indigenous people in the area hundreds of years ago.

There are two excavation sites near the banks of the Bow River where crews have been busy digging and sifting for the past few months.

It’s believed they are campsites, 300 to 500 years old, where bison meat was prepared, sometimes in boiling pits.

Archaeologists said the artifacts provide clues about how people lived.

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“When we find something like this and see evidence of exactly what people were doing for living their day-to-day life, it gives us a lot of insight into how they were adapting to the changing environment and how they were living,” said Kendra Kolomyja, an archaeologist with Lifeways of Canada.

And sites like the one at McKinnon Flats are rare, according to Dan Meyer, another archaeologist with Lifeways of Canada.

“There are very few archaeological sites in Alberta–and probably even Western Canada–where material that young is buried that deeply,” Meyer said.

He said it appears they made the transition from stone tools to metallic ones a lot quicker than originally thought.

The McKinnon Flats project will wrap up in a week or two.

A three-year program commissioned by the Alberta government to preserve artifacts affected by flooding in southern Alberta in 2013 also ends this year.

With files from Global’s David Boushy

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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