Nova Scotia Journal

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Rock Art Discovered Near Wanuskewin Bison Jump in Canada

Rock Art

Key Takeaways:

  • Archaeologist and park founder Ernie Walker discovered four petroglyphs on four stones along the path to the bison jump in southwestern Canada’s Wanuskewin Heritage Park.
  • He explained that First Nations people had been gathered in the area for more than 6,000 years.

One of the four stones, weighing about 500 pounds, was carved with lines that looked like bison ribs and a figure with a triangular head, horns, an oblong body, and a tail. A stone knife was discovered nearby. “There is no doubt about the association,” Walker stated. “I measured the width of the cutting edge, also it matches the width of the groove on the rock exactly.” A 750-pound stone carved with grid patterns is among the other petroglyphs.

Walker went on to say that when bison were recently reintroduced into the park, their activity turned up the soil, revealing the top of the ribbed stone, which can be associated with bison kill sites.

He believes the carvings were made before European contact. Go to “World Roundup: Canada” to learn about ancient clam gardens created by Indigenous people on the shores of Quadra Island. While studying archaeology in 1978, Ernie Walker worked on a small ranch north of Saskatoon. Walker acquired the site from the City of Saskatoon a few years later.

He continued to explore it in the years that followed, and between 1982 and 1983, he discovered a bison jump, as well as bones and artifacts. Walker named the site Newo Asiniak, “four stones” in Cree because he felt the land had more history.

He was correct, as it turned out. Four petroglyphs were excavated on the place, known as Wanuskewin Heritage Park, in 2020. Wanuskewin Heritage Park has also emerged as a preferred location for the papal visit in Canada among residential school survivors. However, there are no confirmed dates or locations.

According to archaeological records, it has been a gathering place for Indigenous people for more than 6,000 years. Wanuskewin is also geographically significant. The treaty territories of central also southern Saskatchewan had the highest concentration of residential schools.

Source: archaeology, CBC News

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