Dog Days to Horse Days: Evaluating the Rise of Nomadic Pastoralism among the Blackfoot

Author(s): Brandi Bethke

Year: 2016


This paper will examine the extent to which the adoption of the horse created a transition in Blackfoot modes of production from hunting and gathering to incipient nomadic pastoralism by tracing the horse’s effect on Blackfoot settlement patterns and landscape uses during the protohistoric and historic periods in the northwestern Plains. While the socio-economic consequences of the horse’s introduction have been studied from a historical perspective, the archaeology of this transition remains ambiguous. This paper seeks to explore the dynamics of the Blackfoot equestrian transition by incorporating data from archaeological site records, archival collections, and contemporary ethnography into a broad, comparative Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analysis of the horse’s influenced on Blackfoot landscape utilization. Understanding where the Blackfoot were situated before and after acquiring the horse by tracing their archaeological footprints will add a material dimension to the story of the horse in the Plains and further test the claim that there was a transformation in settlement strategies by historic Blackfoot groups in response to the needs of their horses.

Cite this Record

Dog Days to Horse Days: Evaluating the Rise of Nomadic Pastoralism among the Blackfoot. Brandi Bethke. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404499)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;