Bison Jump Sites in the Northwestern Plains of North America: A locational Analysis

Author(s): Michael Polk

Year: 1979





Michael Robert Polk

This study is a locational analysis of bison jump sites in the northwestern plains of North America. One hundred forty-six sites from Alberta, Montana and Wyoming were examined in an attempt to identify cultural preferences and environmental constraints which affected the site location decisions of prehistoric hunters.

Bison Jump site data and associated environmental information including various soil types, geology, topography, vegetation and water source associations were partitioned into a set of quantified variables and subjected to a series of statistical procedures. The most critical environmental and cultural variables identified for site location through various tests for degrees of significance were water source association and jump face direction.

An interpretive framework provides evidence that jump face direction is strongly associated with prevailing wind direction. This knowledge may provide information relevant to seasonal site use, subsistence strategies and population movements. It is suggested that site proximity to permanent water sources reflects the use of associated broken topography for bison jumping, or the water needs of human groups and/or bison herds.

Cite this Record

Bison Jump Sites in the Northwestern Plains of North America: A locational Analysis. Michael Polk. . Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, Anthropology. 1979 ( tDAR id: 376095) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8B857BR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1600 to 1880 (Temporal dates are difficult to establish for this study. These are general and only the latest date is probably very close to accurate. That was not the focus of this study.)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -114.521; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -101.689; max lat: 51.509 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Principal Investigator(s): Michael Polk


General Note: This project began when I was a graduate student at Idaho State University in 1974-75. Most of the collection of field data (site forms) was done in early 1975. I wrote most of the thesis later while a graduate student at Michigan State University (1977-79).

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