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Walter Felt Bison Drive Protected Area

Wheatlands RM 163, Saskatchewan, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/05/26

View of the site location on a terrace just below and to the right of the highest tree at the left of the photo, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2004.
Site Location
Looking north across the prairie from the top of the slope above the site, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2004.
View From the Site
No Image

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/03/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Walter Felt Bison Drive Protected Area encompasses 1.15 ha of land on the Missouri Coteau escarpment, approximately 40 km west of the City of Moose Jaw. The property features the buried remains of precontact campsites and bison kills located on a wooded coulee terrace. Archaeological excavations conducted in the 1960s revealed 12 separate occupation layers that represent over 2,000 years of use by five different archaeological cultures.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Walter Felt Bison Drive Protected Area lies in the information it reveals regarding the bison hunting cultures of the Northern Plains. Deposits of butchered bone, stone artifacts, pottery, hearths, bone pits and other cultural features illustrate techniques of capturing and processing this important game animal. Of particular interest in one of the layers was the discovery of remnant post holes from a corral that was used to trap the bison. This type of structure is rarely encountered in Saskatchewan archaeological sites. Another important find was pottery in a layer dated to 340 AD. At the time, this was the earliest known occurrence of ceramics in the province and the first known association of pottery with the Besant culture.

Further heritage value resides in the property’s contribution to our understanding of Northern Plains culture history. Radiocarbon dating of the site’s superimposed occupation layers and analysis of its artifacts helped to establish a regional cultural chronology for the period between ca. 500 BC and 1600 AD.

Source:

Province of Saskatchewan, The Parks Act, May 26, 1986.

Character-Defining Elements

The Walter Felt Bison Drive Protected Area’s heritage value resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that reflect precontact use of the site and contribute to its interpretation, including stone, bone and ceramic artifacts; hearths, pits, post holes or other cultural features; the spatial relationships and environmental context of the cultural remains; the sequence of buried soil layers with their contained cultural and organic remains; and the property’s undisturbed landforms and natural vegetation.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Parks Act, s. 5

Recognition Type

Protected Area

Recognition Date

1986/05/26

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Food Supply
Hunting or Resource Harvesting Site

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: GR 2355

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

GR 2355

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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