Ancient Caribou Hunting

Caribou in AlaskaAlaska Caribou hunting, a modern dream for many outdoorsmen, was part of an ancient way of life in many parts of the northern continent. Recent archaeological evidence discovered beneath Lake Huron point to a sophisticated system of hunting the migrating caribou herds. The site, dated at 9,000 years old, reveals an arrangement of limestone walls that literally funneled migrating caribou from a broad opening to a dead-end where the trapped animals were hunted down.

Caribou Hunting Patterns

The researchers, led by John O’Shea from the University of Michigan, believe this structure to be the most complex found to date beneath the Great Lakes. Based upon its orientation, the funnel or lane was used in the spring during specific migrations. Outside the lane, three hunting blinds concealed the hunters as the animals approached. In many ways, this approach is still valid today! Other structures associated with this site indicate that these hunters had different lanes for spring and autumn; their understanding of the migratory nature of the caribou led them to successful hunts.

The researchers also note that the hunting site is particularly well-preserved because it has been underwater for so long. They likened its well-preserved nature to Pompeii. Prehistoric landscapes such as these provide extensive insight into ancient ways of life. If the site was not underwater, it would have likely been destroyed through agriculture and later development. Who knows what other insightful and unusual prehistoric land structures exist underneath the waters of this continent? O’Shea and his fellow researchers emphasize that more survey and investigations are essential to broaden our understanding of the earliest inhabitants of our continent.



Source: Alaska Dispatch


Image Source: Denali National Park