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Site Background and Archaeology

Aerial Photo of Cluny Fortified Village Site The Cluny Fortified Village Site (EePf-1) is located in the valley of the Bow River in the Siksika First Nation and is part of the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. The Siksika have known about the site since its settlement around AD 1700. Euro-Canadians began visiting the site in 1875, but professional archaeological investigations did not occur until the 1960s. Richard Forbis excavated the site during the 1960 field season, providing archaeological data that indicated Cluny was an unusual site in southern Alberta (Forbis 1977). The site is unique in the Canadian Plains, with the appearance of a fortified village similar to those constructed by horticultural people of the Middle Missouri region in North Dakota. However, no evidence of corn cultivation has been found at the site and the fortifications at Cluny exhibit differences from fortified Middle Missouri villages (Forbis 1977; Walde et al. 2011). Photo Credit: Harrison Boss

The Cluny Fortified Village site dates to the Late Pre-contact period where the Canadian Plains peoples had not yet directly encountered Euro-Canadians or Euro-Americans, but had access to European trade goods. In Southern Alberta, the indigenous people and artifacts associated with the time period prior to European arrival are called the Old Women’s Phase (approximately AD 900 to the mid AD 1700s) (Walde 2008). The peoples of the Canadian Plains during this period were mobile hunter-gatherers primarily relying on bison. The occupation at Cluny is distinct enough from to merit its own phase: the One Gun Phase. At Cluny, people constructed pits, trenches, and a screen apparently to serve as defensive structures. However, non-defensive activities such as food preparation and the production of beads, pottery, and clothing also took place at the site. Bison, dog, and large and small mammals were consumed based on bones and food residues found at Cluny. The primary occupation at the site appears to be during the One Gun Phase. It is possible that Cluny may represent Plains Village people moving up to the Canadian Plains to trade (Walde 2010). Archaeological excavations provide an opportunity to examine occupation of the site as well as describe the many unique site characteristics that will lead to a better understanding of the people who lived here.

Detailed Site History

Archaeological Reports

EePf-1 2011-2012 Archaeological Field Seasons at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park

EepF-1 2009-2010 Archaeological Field Seasons at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park

The 2013-2014 Report is being prepared.

References

Forbis, Richard G. 1977 Cluny: An Ancient Fortified Village in Alberta. Occasional Paper No. 4. Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Calgary. Walde, Dale 2008 The 2008 Archaeological Field Seasons at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Archaeological Research Project Annual Report #1. Report on file at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre and at the Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Calgary.

Walde, Dale 2010 Public Archaeology Tour. Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Calgary.

Walde, Dale, Lance Evans, and Harrison Boss 2013 The 2011/2012 Archaeological Field Seasons at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Archaeological Research Project Annual Report #4 and 5. Report on file at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre and at the Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Calgary.

Walde, Dale, Lance Evans, Harrison Boss, James Eddy, Lynne Fulton, and Kirrie Ginter 2011 The 2009/2010 Archaeological Field Seasons at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Archaeological Research Project Annual Report #2 and 3. Report on file at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre and at the Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary. Calgary.