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Seasonality
Illustration of a storage pit.
A cross-section through a storage pit, as described by an Hidatsa, Buffalo Bird Woman. [Taken from Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden. Gilbert Wilson, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987]
How did peoples' lives change throughout the year? We know that people moved seasonally to follow resources and to provide suitable places to live during different seasons. Archaeologists use a variety of different ways to tell the seasons that a site was occupied.

Some foods are best when consumed fresh, and their presence can help determine what season a site was occupied. For example, deer drop their antlers in midwinter, and do not start to grow them again until the spring. Therefore, a deer skull found at an archaeological site that has the remnants of dropped antlers on the skull indicates that the deer was killed in the winter.

Some resources can be stored, such as nuts, corn, beans, dried squash, dried meat, and so forth. They do not make reliable seasonal indicators, as a fragment of burned corn could indicate either that it was burned when fresh-in the fall, or when stored-any other time during the year.

Some fruits and berries may also be stored, but usually as dried fruits or when pounded into pemmican.












Clay Spoon
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