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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

In south-west Alberta, the remains of marked trails and an aboriginal camp, and a tumulus where vast quantities of buffalo (American Bison) skeletons can still be found, are evidence of a custom practised by aboriginal peoples of the North American plains for nearly 6,000 years. Using their excellent knowledge of the topography and of buffalo behaviour, they killed their prey by chasing them over a precipice; the carcasses were later carved up in the camp below.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Le précipice à bisons Head-Smashed-In

Dans le sud-ouest de l'Alberta, les vestiges de pistes balisées, les restes d'un campement autochtone et un tumulus où l'on a trouvé d'énormes quantités de squelettes de bisons illustrent un usage pratiqué pendant près de six millénaires par les peuples autochtones des grandes plaines de l'Amérique du Nord. Ceux-ci, grâce à leur connaissance très précise de la topographie du terrain et du comportement des bisons, pourchassaient les troupeaux vers le précipice et dépeçaient ensuite les carcasses dans un campement en contrebas.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

جرف البيسون المغروز الرأس

في جنوب غرب مقاطعة ألبرتا، تشهد آثار المدارج الموسومة وبقايا مخيم سكنته الشعوب الأصلية وإحدى الجثوات التي تحوي كميّات كبيرة من الهياكل العظمية الخاصة بحيوان البيسون على عادة فريدة درجت لمدة ست آلاف سنة تقريباً لدى الشعوب الأصلية المنتشرة في السهول الشاسعة لأميركا الشمالية. وبفضل الإطلاع العميق لهؤلاء الشعوب على تضاريس هذا المكان وعلى سلوك البيسون، كانوا يطاردون قطعان البيسون باتجاه الجرف ثم يقطّعون هياكلها العظمية في المخيم الذي يقع في أسفل الجرف.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

美洲野牛涧地带

在艾伯塔省(Alberta)的西南部,发现了标有记号的数条小道、土著人营房和坟地遗址,里面存有大量的野牛(美洲野牛)骨骼,向人们生动地展示了近六千年前的北美平原上土著人的生活习俗。他们利用对地形的熟悉和对野牛习性的了解,将牛群追赶到悬崖边,迫使其跳崖摔死,然后在下面的营房里分割尸体。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Место охоты на бизонов - «Хэд-Смешт-Ин-Баффало-Джамп-Комплекс»

На юго-западе провинции Альберта обнаружены старые маркированные погонные тропы, а также следы лагерей аборигенов и могильники с огромным количеством бизоньих скелетов. Всё это свидетельства традиционных приемов охоты коренных жителей Северной Америки, применяемых ими на протяжении почти 6 тыс. лет. Используя свое хорошее знание местности и поведения бизонов, индейцы подгоняли их к крутому обрыву, с которого те падали и разбивались насмерть. Затем туши разделывались в расположенных внизу лагерях.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Despeñadero de bisontes Head-Smashed-In

En este sitio del sudoeste de la provincia de Alberta, se han hallado vestigios de pistas balizadas, restos de un campamento de nativos y un túmulo con enormes cantidades de osamentas de bisontes. Todos estos elementos ilustran una costumbre practicada durante seis milenios por los pobladores aborígenes de las grandes llanuras de América del Norte. Gracias a su exacto conocimiento de la topografía del terreno y del comportamiento de los bisontes, los nativos acosaban sus manadas hasta un precipicio para despeñarlas. Luego, descuartizaban a los animales en un campamento instalado en la base del despeñadero.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

ヘッド-スマッシュト-イン・バッファロー・ジャンプ

source: NFUAJ

Head-smashed-in buffalo jump

Het landschap van de Head-smashed-in buffalo jump (ingeslagen-kop buffelsprong) ligt in het zuidwesten van Alberta. Er bevinden zich de overblijfselen van gemarkeerde paden, een kamp voor de inheemse bevolking en een grafheuvel waar nog steeds enorme hoeveelheden buffel (Amerikaanse Bizon) skeletten liggen. De restanten zijn het bewijs dat inheemse volkeren van de Noordelijke -Amerikaanse vlakten hier bijna 6.000 jaar hebben gewoond. Dankzij uitstekende kennis van het gebied en het gedrag van buffels, kon de inheemse bevolking de buffels doden door ze over een afgrond te jagen. De karkassen werden later opgedeeld in het ondergelegen kamp. Deze jachttechniek werd de buffalo jump (buffelsprong) genoemd.

Source: unesco.nl

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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump © Maureen J. Flynn
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The significance of the landscape of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump lies in its historical, archaeological and scientific interest. The deep, undisturbed layers of animal bones (largely American Bison) represent nearly 6,000 years of continuous occupation with one lengthy period of unexplained interrupted hunting. This landscape is an outstanding example of subsistence hunting that continued into the late 19th century and which still forms part of the ‘traditional knowledge base’ of the Plains nations. It throws valuable light on the way of life and practices of traditional hunting cultures elsewhere in the world.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is located in southern Alberta, Canada, where the foothills of the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains. It is the best preserved example of the communal hunting techniques and of the way of life of the Plains people based on the vast herds of bison that existed in North America for more than five millennia. A remarkable testimony of pre-European contact life in North America, this bison jump bears witness to a sophisticated custom practiced by Indigenous people of the North American plains. These people, drawing on their excellent understanding of bison behaviour and topography, used natural barriers such as coulees, depressions and hills to funnel these animals into drive lanes that ended at a precipice, over which the bison were stampeded. The animals’ carcasses were then butchered in a camp set up below the cliff to provide food and the materials for clothing, tools and dwellings. The development of complex social and technological systems to systematically and repeatedly harvest the herds in a communal hunt also nourished spiritual interests. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is the most outstanding of the surviving bison jumps in the Americas in use from approximately 5,800 years BP until AD 1850. On this grassy, windswept 4,000-ha landscape can be seen the drive lanes that led the bison toward the jump (including the remains of stone markers used to direct the bison toward the cliff), the 10-m-high cliff face that served as the actual jump, the foot of the cliff where numerous undisturbed stratified layers of bone and cultural deposits are found, and the area encompassing the many butchering camps established through the millennia.

Criterion (vi): Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is one of the oldest, most extensive and best preserved sites that illustrate communal hunting techniques and of the way of life of Plains people who, for more than five millennia, subsisted on the vast herds of bison that existed in North America.

Integrity

The 4,000-ha property encompasses all the elements necessary to understand the communal hunting technique that is the basis for its Outstanding Universal Value, including numerous undisturbed stratified layers of bone and cultural deposits, drive lanes, the cliff face and the butchering camps. Its boundaries thus adequately ensure the complete representation of the features and processes that convey the property’s significance. The property is not at risk of degradation and does not suffer from adverse effects of development and/or neglect. There is no buffer zone.

Authenticity

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is an exceptionally well-preserved landscape that illustrates the Indigenous tradition relating to bison hunting. In terms of setting and materials, the extensive landscape features include the gathering basin and archaeological features such as the rock cairns that define the borders of the extensive drive lanes. Since 1960, the property has been the object of systematic archaeological excavations that have enriched knowledge about the pre-European-contact era. This information transformed previously held theories on the use of game for food, clothing and shelter by the Plains people.

A potential threat to the authenticity of the property is the increase in the erosion of the cliff and pathways with use over time and with the extreme weather patterns seen in recent years. An increasing number of visitors at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump has the potential to create pressures on the property. Since inscription, a visitor interpretation centre has been built into the cliff side and access to the property has been restricted in order to control visitor impacts and to interpret the property’s associated values more effectively. Where required, archaeologists have also surveyed and sampled pathways, roadways and parking structures to ensure they are clear of any significant cultural materials.

Protection and management requirements

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is safeguarded by several levels of protection from the federal, provincial and local governments. It is commemorated by the Government of Canada as a National Historic Site (1968). The Province of Alberta has also designated it a Provincial Historic Resource (1979), thereby protecting the property under the Alberta Historical Resources Act. This Act includes severe penalties for any action that has an adverse physical or visual effect on the resources associated with the reasons for the property’s designation, and provides for the administration of archaeological resources through its Archaeological Research Permit Regulation. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is also included in Alberta’s Special Places 2000 program in order to afford it another safeguard through monitored use. Alberta’s Municipal Government Act provides additional protection for the property by establishing Direct Control Zoning that can consider heritage conservation in land use planning at the municipal level in the province. As a result, activities such as the development of industry in the surrounding titled lands, including windmills, electrical lines, and mines, are restricted. The use of land for ranching has had minimal impact on the archaeological resource.

The central 640 acres (S6-9-27-W4) of the property is owned and managed by the Government of the Province of Alberta as a provincial historic site. The remainder of the 4,000 hectares is a mix of provincial Crown land leased to local ranchers and private deeded land owned by those same local ranchers, along with a strip of land along the southern border of the inscribed area that crosses over the northern border of the Piikani Nation Reserve.

Leasehold Crown Lands adjacent to the provincial historic site do have additional restrictions in place under provincial law to provide for strict controls on physical and visual impacts. For example, a fence must be placed in such a way as to be unobtrusive to the viewscape, by following land contours in coulee bottoms. The private deeded land within the inscribed area and the agreements with those landowners are not formalized in all cases.

These stakeholders were directly consulted in the site development process at the invitation of the Province of Alberta. Ongoing community consultations may at times include a Minister’s Advisory Committee comprised of the primary regional stakeholders.

The site is developed and managed by the Province of Alberta in consultation with the local Blackfoot-speaking First Nations. Blackfoot-speaking interpretive and education guides are engaged exclusively to interpret the property and their culture. While there is no Management Plan in place for the property, there is a Development Plan and Interpretation Plan, in addition to which the site is managed as an Alberta Culture, Historic Sites and Museums Branch Interpretive Centre.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require monitoring the erosion of the cliff and pathways, with the intent of preventing further erosion of land under stress, either by wind or water; and ensuring the number of visitors does not have a negative impact on the property’s value, authenticity or integrity.