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Washington State University
Museum of Anthropology Lind Coulee (45GR97)

Conclusions about the Occupation of the Lind Coulee Site

Several different types of evidence show that the Lind Coulee Site was intermittently occupied for between 100 and 150 years some 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. 

Thirty-six microstratigraphic units contain cultural materials (Irwin and Moody 1978:253). Concentrations of artifacts and faunal remains led the last researchers at the Lind Coulee Site to define seven periods of heaviest occupation, each represented by three to five of these microstratigraphic units.  Smaller quantities of cultural materials occur in those units that separate the heaviest occupations.

The deepest, and presumably oldest, of the occupations contained most of the bone tools and chipped stone knives and scrapers, as well as most of the bison bone.  The middle period of heaviest occupation contained the greatest concentration of medium-sized mammal remains including marmots, rabbits, badgers, and skunks, all of which were determined to have been culturally significant resources.  The uppermost of the occupations had the fewest artifacts and the fewest faunal remains (Irwin and Moody 1978:154). 

Irwin and Moody (1978:253) interpreted the materials at the Lind Coulee Site to represent occupation by small family groups rather than hunting parties.  Stone and bone tool manufacturing was believed to have taken place at the site.  The absence of many primary decortication flakes was seen as evidence that initial core reduction did not take place at the site. Stone tool manufacture instead consisted of “the final stages of biface reduction for the purpose of making projectile points and other tools, and/or re-sharpening activities for the purpose of refurbishing tools” (Irwin and Moody 1978:254)

All stages of bone tool production, however, were in evidence at the Lind Coulee Site. The faunal remains, as well as stone and bone projectile points, suggest that elk and bison, as well as small mammals and birds, were hunted near the site and selected portions of the carcasses were brought to the site for final processing.  Significant numbers of full-term-fetal and newborn bison indicate that the site was used in the early spring.  No caudal vertebrae from any of the large mammals were found at the site and many of the large mammal limb bones were found piled together and away from the coulee edge suggesting to Irwin and Moody (1978:247) distinct refuse areas and the removal of hides from the site.