30,000-Year-Old Horse Bone Found

yukon-horseA 30,000-year-old bone from the prehistoric Yukon horse has been found in British Columbia, Canada • © SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 2005The Treaty 8 Tribal Association on April 22 announced the finding and confirmation of a 30,000-year-old prehistoric horse bone in the Peace River Valley in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada.The Peace River Valley is home to a tremendous number of First Nations archaeological deposits and cultural sites that date back to the end of the last ice age. These values are complemented by diverse and prolific paleontological resources found there as well.

In 2014, Shawn Bigfoot, a Prophet River First Nation member, found the horse bone around a gravel pit, along the banks of Peace River. At first, he was unsure of what he found.

Diane Bigfoot, Shawn’s mother said, “After Shawn found the bone, he contacted me and told me of his find; he said it looks very old. I decided to take the bone to Treaty 8 and see if we could get it identified. We just did not realize at the time, we were holding a piece of history 30,000 years old.”

prehistoric-boneRadio carbon dating was used to confirm the age of the 30,000-year-old bone.The horse would have been frequenting the Peace River Valley around the beginning of the last ice age. The Yukon horse was relatively small, standing just over 1 metre at the shoulder. It thrived in a steppe grassland environment and was among the most common of the ice age animals in Alaska and the Yukon. Confirmation of the age of the bone and its species of origin, through radio carbon dating and analysis, was completed with the assistance of archaeologist Dr. Jon Driver, of Simon Fraser University.

The Treaty 8 Tribal Association is a tribal council that represents five of the eight Peace River Country bands who are signatories to Treaty 8.