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Paleoindians in Montana: 13,000 - 8,000 Years Ago

with Ruthann Knudson

adjunct instructor of sociology and anthropology at Montana State University

Montana was a different landscape 13,000 years ago, with glacial melt water to the north, more ice in the mountains, and a climate cooler than today’s—and paleoindian people lived here! Knudson discusses the Montana Anzick/Wilsall, Barton Gulch, Indian Creek, MacHaffie, and Mill Iron archaeological sites, as well as sites in North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and the Canadian provinces. Between 13,000 and 8,000 years ago people relied heavily on big-game food sources though they undoubtedly also used small mammals, fish, and a variety of vegetable foods. They ate buffalo, deer, elk, antelope, sheep, rabbits, salmon, trout, chokecherries, biscuitroot, prairie turnips, camas, and more. During these years there were also wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and natural climatic variations to which people adapted as they made the beautiful stone tools we still find today.