In the uplands of north-central Montana, on what is today the Blackfeet Reservation, pre-Columbian hunters built mile-long stretches of rock cairns called drivelines, which hunters used to help them funnel buffalo herds from fertile grazing patches called gathering basins, toward the edge of a steep bluff overlooking a tributary of the Two Medicine River. At two different driveline sites, archaeologists have radiocarbon dated bison bones to between 900 and 1650 CE, with the majority of kills happening in the final 250 years of that period. (The sites are on a tributary flowing into the Two Medicine River from the north and another on a different tributary flowing in from the south.)
Each tributary would have had one of the drivelines and gathering basins in its drainage area, so those layers of sediment record what was happening in the gathering basin and along the driveline. At each site, the team, which included members of the Blackfeet Tribe, found between five and eight layers of charcoal residue, a sure sign of nearby prairie fires. These were radiocarbon dated to between 1100 and 1650 CE—the heyday of the bison jumps.
Silicon Valley and “chickens 2.0”: Speaking of chickens, I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw comedian Ronny Chieng’s take on chicken coops (and bees!) in the world’s technology epicenter.