Archive for Thursday, November 13, 1997


November 13, 1997


Ice Age hunters from two continents come together in a special exhibit.

Any weekend warrior out for a day of winter pheasant hunting should drop off and visit the "Big Game Hunters of the Ice Age" exhibit opening this weekend at Kansas University's Museum of Anthropology.

It might make him think twice before complaining about modern-day hunting conditions.

Battling frigid conditions and using the most basic stone weapons and tools, ancient nomadic hunters struggled daily to bring down colossal prey, including bison and mammoths, in order to survive.

"They were pretty pragmatic. They took what was out there," curator Anta Montet-White said. "They liked big game."

The exhibit is a collaboration with the Musee Departmental de Prehistoire in Solutre, France.

Artifacts from the North American Plains, including knives, points and other tools, are presented with Solutre artifacts to illustrate the life of a primitive big game hunter. The exhibit draws comparisons between the Paleoindians of North America and the prehistoric people of Western Europe.

The exhibit also includes artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution, the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and several private collections.

The display is unique in combining artifacts from the European and North American sites, Montet-White said.

"There are a variety of artifacts not shown together before. We are displaying the earliest, well-defined Paleoindian artifacts. It is a unique representation," Montet-White said.

The exhibit also raises the issues of where the hunters originated, the gap in time and geography between the prehistoric Europeans and North American hunters and similarities in the material technology.

Despite their primitive weapons, early hunters were organized and had no problem taking on the elephant-like mammoths.

"There is evidence that with the kinds of weapons they had, they could kill mammoths. They were communal hunters who were capable of drying and storing the meat from the hunt," Montet-White said.

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