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The ExpeditionMarias River
Where in the World

Old Bones

photo of bison bones
Old Bones
J.Agee photo

hese bones protruding from the south bank of Cut Bank Creek about 24 inches below ground level possibly indicate the use of the nearby buffalo jump long before Lewis camped here. The Blackfeet Indians generally abandoned that means of killing bison after they acquired horses and developed the "surround"method, sometime before the middle of the 18th century.

Some students of the Expedition believe that since Lewis had ample evidence that Blackfeet Indians had recently been in the area, he would not have camped under that bluff because, with his back to the river, he would have been vulnerable to a surprise attack. It may be that he and the three men with him camped near the creek about a tenth of a mile to the west of the bluff.

In any case, Lewis made no mention of bison remains beneath the cliff, so it is probable that these bones were already covered by river-borne silt.

Bones to Pick

Robert E. Lange, "Meriwether Lewis's 'Camp Disappointment': Present Day Glacier County, Montana," We Proceeded On, Vol. 3, No. 1 (February 1977).

Wilbur P. Werner, ". . . only one smal trout," We Proceeded On, Vol. 13, No. 4 (November, 1987).

--Joseph Mussulman

Where in the World

From Discovering Lewis & Clark ®, http://www.lewis-clark.org © 1998-2014
by The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, North Dakota.
Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton
13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001)