faunal analysis

Check out this amazing piece of modified elk bone from Hardin County! This scapula (shoulder blade) has notches carved into it. It was found on a river bar and is recorded as site 13HA431. We do not know the function of this item. Other bones and antlers found across Iowa have incised lines or grooves, and it is speculated that these may have been some kind of counting or record keeping system. On this scapula, the grooves are carefully cut and rounded, and the notches are evenly and symmetrically cut - it could be part of a tool or even a regalia item, but we cannot know for certain. Elk have not lived in Iowa for quite some time. There are only a few instances of elk reported after 1860. The last elk were driven from the state (for reasons unknown to us) in 1871.