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Talk: Kills, Camps, and Mountain Landscapes: Records of Bison

December 1, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MST

Kills, Camps, and Mountain Landscapes: Records of the last 11,000 years of bison in northwestern Wyoming

Lawrence Todd, PhD
with Amy Phillips

December 1, 2022
Noon – 1 p.m.

Join us for our December Lunchtime Expedition, presented by Dr. Lawrence Todd, with assistance from Draper Natural History Museum Curatorial Assistant Amy Phillips. Todd shares on-going research into human predation and use of bison at the Horner Site near Cody in a talk titled Kills, Camps, and Mountain Landscapes: Records of the last 11,000 years of bison in northwestern Wyoming.

The in-person talk takes place in the Center’s Coe Auditorium, with a virtual option available.

If you prefer to join us online, you may register in advance via Zoom webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__ikBujSVSa-cC3PrVU_lBw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

About the presentation

Records of human predation and use of bison in the Big Horn Basin and Absaroka Mountains begins with the spectacular evidence provided by the Horner Site near Cody, which provides clues to hunting and processing of large numbers of animals nearly 11,000 years ago. Work at this site that began in the late 1940s and early fifties by Princeton University and the Smithsonian and later by the University of Wyoming (1977–1978) revealed both kill/processing and camp areas where hundreds of bison were processed.

Todd began his work with bones from the Princeton/Smithsonian excavations at Horner site in 1976 and eventually completed his doctoral dissertation research on the site’s bison. Recently, a series of new analytical methods to better understand the Horner site bison have started to be integrated with studies of other localities in the basin and nearby mountains. This presentation provides a quick overview of work at Horner and other key sites/localities and focuses on how today’s research questions are linked to a growing body of information and a range of methods to help provide better understanding of the area’s past.


Excavations at the Bugas-Holding site, 1980s.
Excavations at the Bugas-Holding site, 1980s.
Ice patch site, with radiocarbon dating graphs.
Ice patch site, with radiocarbon dating graphs.

About the speakers

Dr. Lawrence Todd in the field.
Dr. Lawrence Todd in the field.

Lawrence “Larry” Todd (BA, University of Wyoming; MA and PhD, University of New Mexico) is Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at Colorado State University, an Adjunct Professor in Anthropology at University of Wyoming, and a Research Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. He’s currently on the Draper Advisory Board and Chair of the Meeteetse Museum Board of Trustees. A native of Meeteetse (K–12), Todd has taught Anthropology/Archaeology at Denver University, Boston University, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, and Northwest College.

From 1977 until 2002, Todd’s research focused on bison kill sites across the North American Plains. Since 2009, when he retired and returned home with his wife Becky, he splits his time between researching early human paleoecology in northwest Ethiopia and investigating prehistoric montane/alpine landuse in northwestern Wyoming. He’s passionate about teaching, learning, and Wyoming’s future.

Amy Phillips is the Curatorial Assistant at the Draper Natural History Museum. She is currently involved in the Education Committee for the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) and chair of the Park County Historic Preservation Commission. She served as co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Kenneth Cannon on the Meeteetse Museums’ “Bison of the Bighorn Basin” Project. The project sought to learn about bison morphology and ecology in the geographic Bighorn Basin by conducting cranial measurements and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis.

Phillips is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Cultural Resource Management, Archaeology from St. Cloud State University where she hopes to explore human and wildlife interactions. Her bachelor’s degree in anthropology comes from the University of Wyoming.

Upcoming Lunchtime Expedition

• The series resumes in February 2023

Support for the Draper’s Lunchtime Expedition series has been made possible by Sage Creek Ranch and the Nancy-Carroll Draper Charitable Foundation.


Draper Natural History Museum
BUFFALO BILL CENTER OF THE WEST ◦ 720 Sheridan Avenue ◦ Cody, WY 82414 ◦ 307-587-4771Contact Us
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