Paleoenvironments and cultural dynamics at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta: the carbon isotope record
This thesis focuses on former human-environment interrelationships on the southern Alberta Plains. Systemic models of environment and culture are used as heuristic devices within which questions concerning conditions necessary for culture change and the adaptations made under such conditions are examined. Past bison feeding behaviour is inferred and proxy paleoenvironmental data are developed using stable carbon isotope analysis of bison bone samples from Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (DkPj-1). Previous CJ and C4 grass abundances in the area are used to reconstruct climatic episodes and conditions. These are correlated with the archaeological record from the site. Hypotheses are formulated concerning human adaptive behaviour under different climatic conditions. It is found that resource utilization is more thorough and procurement techniques more complex during times of climatic stress. Stressful environmental conditions are associated with decreased population levels and evidence of trade diminishes at these times. Climatic factor thresholds that may precipitate culture change are defined in terms of magnitude and duration. There is some evidence that variety in material culture buffers the effects of climatic change although it was found that variety was not necessarily greater during stressful climatic periods.
Bibliography: p. 200-219.
McKinnon, N. A. (1986). Paleoenvironments and cultural dynamics at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta: the carbon isotope record (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/18585