Gemma (Nico) Heimlich-Bowler
University of Montana
Fort Missoula Archaeological Field School

For those of you who think that an archaeologist goes on digs to uncover dinosaurs, think again. This week we began our adventure into digging, and while the other students have a vested interest in archaeology, I come to the dig site with a background in Forensic Anthropology. This means that I, the excitable bone enthusiast that I am, get far more excited about pulling a bone out of the ground than most other people I know. Although we do not purposefully uncover dinosaur bones, sometimes in places like Fort Missoula there are bones to be found of different species.

bison

Possible Bos. Bison species scapula.

During our first week of class, Ayme Swartz mentioned that during the last session many potential cow bones were  found, but that there had been accounts of those stationed at the Fort eating bison. With my strong enthusiasm for all things connected to identifying skeletal remains, I quickly read up on the osteological processes of both bison and cows. With basic knowledge and much research, I was able to (reasonably) confidently identify one of the scapula we have uncovered as that of a bison, supporting the accounts that bison was consumed on Fort Missoula property during its occupation.

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