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The Barnett site: A stone drive lane communal pronghorn trap on the Alberta Plains, Canada
- Brink, Jack W.
- Quaternary international 2013 v.297 pp. 24-35
- Antilocapra americana, antelopes, basins, hunters, rocks, traps, wood, Alberta, Great Plains region
- Pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana) were communally hunted over much of western North America. Typically, this was done using V-shaped containment structures of wood and brush leading to an enclosure, pit, or other type of kill site. Such traps are best known in the Great Basin, but less so on the Great Plains. Only one pronghorn drive that utilized lines of stones as the animal-guiding mechanism has been recorded in the latter region. This paper reports on a second occurrence, the Barnett site in southeastern Alberta, Canada. Here, two converging lines of stone form the drive funnel. Rocks are preferentially loaded towards the narrow end, where greatest control was needed. A pit may have been located at the end of the drive, where sharp angles in the stone lines may have been places for archers to station themselves. A review of pronghorn behaviour focuses on their innate curiosity and how this trait was manipulated by knowledgeable hunters. Shamans, or antelope charmers, were key figures in the communal hunts for their role in summoning pronghorn to the traps. It is argued that pronghorn were primarily lured to the Barnett site at which point they were driven down the stone lines.