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A MOMENT IN HISTORY

Antonsen Site
The Late Plains Archaic Period took place from about 3,000 years before present, to about 1,500 years before present, or about the time of Attila the Hun’s defeat in modern day France by the Romans and Visigoths. In the Northern Plains, this was the beginning of the golden age of bison hunting. Using communal hunting strategies, such as bison jumps, corrals, and other ambush sites, abundant subsistence resources in the Northern Plains led to growing indigenous populations and at least seasonal habitation of the Gallatin Valley. This is partially evidenced by the investigations performed at the Antonsen Site by the recently deceased Leslie Davis, along with Charles Zeier and a team of students from Montana State University in the early 1970’s.

The Antonsen site is not technically a bison jump, having only a 12 to 15 feet vertical drop over a terrace bluff, and certainly not the type of image that one conjures in their head when imagining a bison jump on the Northern Plains of Montana. Located about six or so miles to the West of modern day Bozeman, the site was utilized in two major occupational episodes, first about 1,750 years before present using Besant style projectile points and again approximately 150 years later using Pelican Lake style projectile points. The first occupation took down around 200 bison, or 145 tons of the important resource for many tribes who came to the area to procure bison seasonally, with a smaller number taken in the later occupation. Indigenous hunters used the natural landscape to drive the bison herds from the upper river terraces, over the low bluff, where the crippled animals would be finished off with atlatls tipped with Besant or Pelican Lake style stone dart points, depending on the occupational episode. Besant points tended to have a rougher, not as finely finished appearance, and were larger with large side notches, while Pelican Lake points tended to have finer flaking patterns with sharp corner notches and a smaller overall size.

(For further information and visual examples regarding projectile point styles, there are many internet resources available, including http://www.projectilepoints.net/Search/NorthPlains_Search.html.)

The points were fashioned from a variety of local lithic (stone) resources such as basalts and cryptocrystalline silicates (cherts); however, several were excavated that were fashioned from Knife River Flint from central North Dakota, and obsidian, likely from the Obsidian Cliffs site in Yellowstone National Park, giving evidence to the robust trade networks across the regions during this time. The excavations at this site yielded 280 Besant style projectile points, which were analyzed by Charles Zeier, giving us an in-depth understanding of the manufacturing strategies utilized in their production.

The next meeting of the HPBGC will be changed to June 30 at 5:30 in room 301.
UPCOMING MEETING SCHEDULE: (All meetings are at 5:30 unless otherwise noted.)

June 2
Courthouse Conference Room 301
June 30
Courthouse Conference Room 301
September 15
Courthouse Conference Room 301
October 20
Courthouse Conference Room 301
November 17
Courthouse Conference Room 301
December - TBA
Courthouse Conference Room 301
2013-2014 Goals click here
Grant Application information click here

Board Member
Term Expiration
Sally Broughton (President)
July 2015
Barry Sulam
July 2016
Shane Hope
July 2016
Renee Koenig
July 2015
Brad O'Grosky
July 2016
Albert Koenig
July 2016
Jere Walters
July 2016
Lillian Thiesen
July 2015
Jeff Copeland
July 2016
Bobbi Clem
July 2015
Mary Ellen Fitzgerald
July 2016
County Commission Representative
N/A
 
 
 
 
 
 
Link to Headwaters Area Historical Society
Link to Gallatin Historical Society
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Gallatin County, Montana
311 West Main Street
Bozeman, MT 59715