Artifacts Roadshow At Vore Buffalo Jump

Jun 8, 2016

The Vore Buffalo Jump is off the beaten path, but just barely. It’s about 300 feet from Interstate 90 near the town of Beulah, in the Wyoming part of the Black Hills.   

Archaeologists, scientists, and tourists frequent the site to learn about Native people who hunted buffalo using the natural sinkhole starting in the late 1500’s.

The Vore Buffalo jump was discovered during the construction of Interstate 90. Native people used the steep slopes of the sinkhole to capture buffalo.

This weekend a team of experts are holding what they call an artifacts roadshow at the site.  Archaeologist field teams are on hand to analyze artifacts, like arrowheads, old tools, or other items brought in by the public.  

Gene Gade is the former president of the Vore Buffalo Jump Foundation. He’s standing at the bottom of the sinkhole looking at the scattered buffalo bones from hundreds of years ago.

“You can see that they kind of bunch up in rows and so on and that’s one of the ways, even though the bones are somewhat jumbled you can tell levels,” says Gade. 

Gade says the Artifacts Roadshow is held in part to improve local understanding of the history of the area. He says it also helps gather more information about the historic objects found on private lands, not accessible to archaeologists.  

“You compare the stuff that’s been found by the professional archaeologists with those in the private collection, and see if you’re really getting the same kind of stuff, the same periods, the same kind of stone, the same style of tools, all of those kinds of things, if you are then what we find in the formal excavation has a little more validity. If it’s fundamentally different, what the ranchers are bringing in, then you got to wonder, you know are we really getting the whole story,” says Gade.

Gade says the Vore Buffalo Jump is unique because of the way the sediments helped preserved the bones during this time in history.

The artifacts roadshow runs all day Saturday, June 11 at the Vore Buffalo Jump near Beulah, Wyoming.  Admission is free to the public.