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The Plano Period
(10,000 - 8,000 BP)

About 10,000 years ago the climate began to change and grasslands spread across southern Alberta. Mammoths and many other Ice Age animals became extinct, A beautiful example of an Alberta point. Click to enlarge. while other animals flourished including antelope and a new, smaller species of bison. This period, known as the "Plano" period after the Spanish word for plains, lasted up to 8,000 years ago. Several new types of projectile points have been found in sites dating from this period suggesting the movement of new peoples into Alberta at this time or the continuing technological adaptation of earlier cultural groups. Archaeologists call these new point types Agate Basin and Hell Gap. Agate Basin points have been found at several sites including Vermilion Lakes near Banff and Gardiner Lake Narrows in the Birch Mountains near Fort McMurray. The latter site included a point made from a distinctive rock called tuff that could only have come from near Keele River in what is now the North Delicate stone drills or perforaters. Click to enlarge. West Territories. How this point, or the rock used to make it, came totravel almost 1600 kilometers from the North West Territories to Alberta may never be known, but it clearly suggests that the people who used it traveled or traded over vast distances.

A second group of projectile points also dates from the Plano period. Sometimes referred to as the "Cody Complex," these points are broken down into three main types: Alberta, Scottsbluff and Eden. Alberta Scottsbluff Point. Click for details. points have a chunky head and a long stem for attachment to wooden spear shafts. One of the richest finds of Alberta points was made in 1963 southeast of Lethbridge. While digging a dugout on Frank Fletcher's ranch, a variety of bone and stone tools were discovered. Subsequent archaeological investigations have shown that the Fletcher site is about 9,000 years old. Bone and other material from the site show that a group of Plano period hunters ambushed a small herd of bison, probably while the bison were drinking water at a spring. A diorama based on this site is one of the featured exhibits in the Provincial Museum of Alberta's Syncrude Aboriginal Gallery.

The Middle Prehistoric Period (8,000 - 2,000 BP)

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