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July 9, 2008
Big New Old Find

Two bison bones are shown side by side—the one at left is a bison bone that is an average size while the one at right found at the University of Alberta dig site near Bodo shows a similar toe bone—but it is one third larger than the modern bison. ©Provost News Photo.

Dig Site May be Much Older Than Thought
—Large Bison Toe Bone Discovered
A new find by a student at the University of Alberta dig site near Bodo may mean that the site being excavated the last several years is much older than first believed.

On the second last day of digging before the university students backfilled their excavations, a student found a bison toe approximately one third larger than a modern bison that could be from an old ancestor 5,000 to 9,000 years old. By comparison, the earliest Egyptian pyramid recorded was the Step Pyramid of king Djoser of the Old Kingdom's 3rd Dynasty over 4,600 years ago.

It’s possible however that the large bone could be from a very large modern male bison. A piece of the central toe bone (phalanx) will be sent to Florida in the United States for radiocarbon dating.

The find was made by University of Toronto student Claire Bennett at 10 a.m. on July 1—exactly when an annual open house and tours got underway, organized by the Bodo Archaeological Society and the University of Alberta.

Bennett says she was digging deeper than they had been before and found the bone in Lethbridge native Vincent Jankunis’s pit. The two university archaeology students “sort of freaked and did a bison dance” when they made the find, says Bennett who had never been to the Prairies before.

Normally the students would be searching for artifacts 60 centimeters deep but this time they dug to 100 centimeters deep to see if there was another cultural level hidden in the soil, as part of a standard test.

A student from last year visiting at the site heard the buzz back at the lab before she appeared on site to examine the bone—and after seeing it declaring “That is so cool.”

If the radiocarbon proves that the piece is older than the other bison bones it could mean the site is potentially up to 9,000 years old, says teaching assistant Jason Gillespie who was holding the bone in his hand shortly after the discovery. “This whole thing (dig site) is changed from last year.”

Field project director and instructor, Beth Mann told The Provost News in an interview at the site that the bone fragment, “5,000 to 6,000 years or older” shows that even as their school winds down “new and important things” were being found. “It’s pretty neat.” She expects written results of the date testing by fall. Mann says that if the bone is as old as some are hoping, “It’s really exciting, it gives a whole new meaning and depth to the site” by adding a few thousand more years to the age of the sites being excavated.

Complete story and photos in July 9 edition of The Provost News.
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On Patrol with RCMP Const. Kris Kyle
Provost RCMP responded to 35 calls for service between June 22 and July 5. These calls included; 911 Act, assault, abandoned vehicles, disturbing the peace, Child Welfare Act, break and enter, impaired operation of a vehicle, Liquor Act, Mental Health Act, mischief under $5,000, theft under $5,000, theft of motor vehicle, suspicious person/vehicle, municipal bylaws, business and residential alarms, and numerous traffic complaints including traffic collisions.

Provost RCMP remind all motorists to stay safe when traveling during the summer holidays and obey all posted speed limits and road signs.

Remember to pay strict attention to construction sites as they can be extremely dangerous to workers, and fines are double during these stretches of road.

Rest of story in July 9 edition of The Provost News.
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Provost Drop In Centre Celebrates Canada Day
Some of the old habits are hard to let go especially if we have happy memories of them. At the Drop In Centre we celebrated Canada Day on July 1 with a good turnout of members and friends. We sang our national anthem and then a humorous song was presented, lyrics written by Julie Andrews to commemorate her birthday, both numbers were accompanied by Irene McCormick.

Print version in July 9 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
This week we ask: We ask "What’s the Most Important Thing You Learned at the Bodo Dig Site?"
. . . and we heard opinions from Brett Tegart, Megan MacDonald, Rory Spickett, Breana McCulloch, and Kenneth Dudragne.
Check out the July 9 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
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