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Besant Complex Peoples

Besant Complex sites are located in the plains of Montana, North and South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming; as well as the plains areas of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada. Besant projectile points are atlatl sized with typically broad shallow notches. Research indicates Besant peoples used the atlatl or spear thrower as their primary weapon for hunting. The atlatl was used to throw short spears or darts with considerable force and accuracy over long distances. Atlatl points are larger and thicker than arrow points.

People on the tour get to throw an atlatl just as the ancient Besant peoples did.
Within the Northern Plains, available Carbon-14 dates indicates the presence of the Besant Complex peoples from about circa. 2000 - 1760 years BP (before the present time).

The earliest use of the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump was by Besant groups. Evidence of Besant use consists of limited to massive buffalo bone deposits identified at several locations throughout the site. This indicates a series of communal kill events were conducted by Besant groups employing pounds or corrals into which buffalo were driven and then slaughtered within the site area. The only tools from the Besant groups found at the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump were projectile points in the buffalo bone deposits. So far, evidence suggests that Besant peoples used Wahkpa Chu'gn itself as a kill site only.

Very recent archaeological research in the area of the Milk River valley bottom to the west of Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump has identified Besant campsite areas that are probably associated with that groups use of the Wahkpa Chu'gn site. Besant peoples are not believed ancestrally related to the Avonlea and Old Women's peoples who later occupied the Wahkpa Chu'gn site.

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