Bodo Archaeological Society celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Thousands of visitors have visited the sites and learned about Indigenous bison hunting culture. June was busy with school tours. The societies 2023 year wrapped up on Aug. 18.
The society opened up a big block in the bison pound area and continued digging in part of the bone bed.
A cluster of upright bones were exposed below the main bone bed.
The Bodo Archaeological Society is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year! The non-profit led by local community members in Provost and Bodo was formed in 2003 with a mission to share local history and archaeology with the public.
Since then, thousands of visitors from all over the world have come to see the Bodo Archaeological sites and learned about Indigenous bison hunting culture on the Northern Plains.
In April of 2023 the Bodo Archaeological Society hosted a joint annual conference and gathering for the Archaeological Society of Alberta and the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society.
About 100 people took in the conference. The opening reception was hosted at the Provost Museum with the help of their volunteers and speakers and a banquet was held at the Bodo Archaeological Centre and Community Hall.
Some highlights included a posthumous Distinguished Service Award for Dr. Terry Gibson, a Métis sash-making demonstration and talks about many interesting topics.
The summer season at the centre and site then officially kicked off on June 1.
We were open for a total of 11 weeks, wrapping up on Aug. 18.
Staff included Courtney Lakevold (Project Manager and Archaeologist), Sydney Reinbold (Archaeological Interpreter/Assistant), Isabelle Jensen (Archaeological Interpreter/Assistant) and Emma Steele (Grant MacEwan Intern).
June was busy with school tours with over 250 students from Grades 4 to 7 and 11 and 12 visiting.
Schools came from Provost, Lloydminster, Macklin, Biggar and Frog Lake.
Reopened Bison Pond area
Following the school tours, we held our first Adult Dig Camp from July 4 – 7. We reopened a big block in the bison pound area and continued digging in part of the bone bed and over a bison skull feature.
There was one 1 metre(m) x 1m unit from previous years that still had to get through the main bone bed. The participants made great progress, pedestalling and exposing the bones.
Across the block, a few metres away, dig camp participants also exposed a cluster of upright bones below the main bone bed that consisted of a scapula, pelvis and vertebrae stacked and placed upright.
These types of features have been found at other bison kill sites but we still have a lot more to learn about them!
In addition to bone, participants also found some beautiful arrowheads.
Work in this block continued during the August adult dig from the first to the fourth.
The last of the bone bed was mapped and removed and we opened two more units – one next to the upright and one next to the bison skull feature.
While going deeper in the new unit next to the skull feature, we ended up exposing more bison skulls, so everything was left in place for now and we will return in the future to expose a bigger area.
We are very excited to see what else the site has in store for us!
Throughout the summer, we also had Kids Day Camps, Drop In Tours and special programs for the Provost Library, Provost FCSS and the CFB Wainwright Youth Group.
We held our annual July 1 Open House and barbecue with free tours and activities and had several talks and workshops throughout the summer.
Alice Kehoe, a renowned Plains Archaeologist joined us via Zoom to talk about her long, successful career as one of the first female archaeologists.
Bruce Cutknife of Samson Cree First Nation shared his knowledge about Cree place names and Nathaniel Wowchuk led a flintknapping workshop.
For the 2023 season, including the conference, we had over 600 people visit the Bodo
Archaeological Centre and Site and visitors came from all over Alberta and Saskatchewan, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, California and Australia.
We had a great season and are grateful to all our supporters and visitors. We are looking forward to 2024!
ll our supporters and visitors. We are looking forward to 2024!
by Courtney Lakevold