National Register of Historic Places

Wardell Buffalo Trap

Near Big Piney

Date Added to Register

Thursday, August 12, 1971

Smithsonian Number


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The Wardell Buffalo Trap is the site of the earliest known communal bison kill involving the use of the bow and arrow on the Northwestern Plains. A bison corral located near the Green River was used by hunters to intercept bison herds moving from grazing lands to the water. Nearly five feet of stratified bison bone levels with radiocarbon dates spanning 500 years of the Late Prehistoric Period have been identified at the site. A large butchering and processing area and campsite are located nearby. Archaeological excavations at the site the early 1970s uncovered outlines of an ancient fence located near the end of a box-canyon into which animals were driven.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources