Northern Kentucky Indian hunt-and-kill site a rare find

Union, Kentucky (AP) 11-08

Archaeologists have dug up and will display evidence of an American Indian bison hunt that happened hundreds of years ago in northern Kentucky.

Evidence at the site shows hunters killed and butchered the animals with stone tools, leaving the bones and tools behind.

The bones were discovered in Big Bone Creek several years ago but left there.

Staff from the Cincinnati Museum Center and volunteers spent a week in August digging up the artifacts.


Glenn Storrs, head curator for vertebrate paleontology at the center, got permission from the state to dig while the creek’s water was down. Though it was already low, part of the river had to be dammed and water was pumped out.

“This is one of the very few documented bison hunt-and-kill sites in the Ohio Valley, so it’s very exciting,” Storrs told The Kentucky Enquirer.

And the job turned out to be more than he expected.

“It became a very exciting discovery, really,” he said. “What started out as just a few bones became 500 to 600 bones and bone fragments of four to five bison.”

The tools and bones from the site are between 200 and 600 years old and date to the Fort Ancient culture.

Storrs and his team believe the hunters either drove the bison to the creek or cornered them there, and then killed them, he said.

The artifacts indicate the hunters used the tools to break the bison skulls on flat stones in the creek bed to get to the brains, which were used in tanning, and the tongue, a delicacy.

Bison bones have been found at Big Bone before but most had been washed down from the original kill sites.

The archaeologists are still analyzing the bones, Storrs said, and they will eventually be displayed at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Next year, the North American Paleontological Convention will be held in Cincinnati and the artifacts will be featured.