Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2003


Published in Great Plains Research 13 (Spring 2003): 27-41. Copyright © 2003 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


The Cooper model postulates that a dichotomy exists in the size and seasonality of bison kill sites from the Folsom age (10,800- 10,200 years ago). This dichotomy is a result of changing settlement and subsistence patterns, from population aggregation in the late summer and early fall for large-scale kills, to a dispersed pattern with small bison kills during all other seasons. Attendant to the change in human population aggregation and number of bison harvested are changes in bison butchering techniques, choice of camp location, and ritual activity. It is postulated that ritual activity of an aggregated group is manifest in the painted bison skull at Cooper. The evidence in support of the Cooper model is presented in summary form.