Grant: $193,699 - National Science Foundation - Aug. 26, 2009
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Award Description: With National Science Foundation support, Dr. Maria Nieves Zedeno and a team of colleagues and Blackfeet collaborators will conduct two seasons of archaeological fieldwork on the US northwestern Plains. Together they will examine the relationships between social investment in communal bison hunting and organizational complexity among Late Prehistoric hunter communities who inhabited the foothills and prairies of the Montana-Alberta border between AD 1050-1660. The centuries preceding the adoption of the horse by North American bison hunters were marked by important technological advances and demographic processes that visibly transformed the physical and social landscapes at various scales. Evidence of landscape engineering at the Late Prehistoric Kutoyis locality in north-central Montana will be explicitly targeted in order to evaluate large-scale bison harvesting and concomitant development of social, political, and ritual structures and practices. The research team will conduct archaeological mapping of domestic and nondomestic structures, excavation of kill and processing features, and a host of paleoenvironmental and geophysical analyses to answer the following questions: (1) Did economic intensification shape the landscape at Kutoyis and how? (2) Is there any evidence of regulatory social action in the architecture of Kutoyis? (3) Was the Kutoyis landscape shaped by integrative mechanisms such as communal rituals? (4) Are the agencies and practices of individuals and groups visible in the material record of bison hunting at Kutoyis? Kutoyis, also known as the Two Medicine Bison Jump Site, is located in the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Glacier County, Montana. Kutoyis. It consists of a vast complex of rock features and bone scatters extending over 13 km2 on a plateau overlooking the Two Medicine River and in its floodplain. Remote and little known, this is nonetheless one of the largest and most significant Blackfeet heritage sites in the region. The completeness and intricacy of the drive line system, the multiple kill episodes, the existence of a corral / processing component, and the presence of two large campsites with initial evidence of architectural variability and one possible ritual component in close proximity to the kill site, make the Kutoyis locality a strong analytical case for investigating the articulation of social investment, landscape engineering, and material imprints of organizational complexity. This study will provide the opportunity to evaluate and update deeply set models of sociopolitical organization that have characterized archaeological and anthropological approaches to big game hunters in general, and to northern Plains bison hunters in particular. It will integrate diverse archaeological components and data sets, paleoecology, and ethnographic information into a multi-scale landscape approach to bison hunting. Finally, it will furnish a substantial amount of new information to augment current knowledge of northern Plains prehistory. As a collaborative endeavor with the Blackfeet Tribe, the research has great transformative potential: it will incorporate an underrepresented constituency into archaeological research, and will promote archaeological practice that is not only scientifically sound but cognizant and responsive to the traditional knowledge and practices of this constituency. This project will create multi-year research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and a participatory model of archaeological investigation for them to follow.
Project Description: See Award Description.
Jobs Summary: Prime Recipient retained graduate assistant/associates and a student employee (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 26, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.