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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Tainter – Bison

February 16, 2017

Tainter - BisonOn the angled ceiling of Tainter cave, in southwestern Wisconsin, is a drawing of a unique animal. While all of the other drawings in the cave are made with relatively sharp lines, this animal was drawn with much wider lines that suggest finger application of pigments. The animal has an oblong body with four stumpy legs, a round head to the left, and two apparent long horns. It is not clear what animal this drawing is intended to represent, but the spread horns are reminiscent of early forms of bison, such as Bison occidentalis. If so, this distinctive glyph might represent Paleoindian or Early Archaic art that would date from at least 8,000 to 10,000 B.P.  More images from Tainter cave can be found at: http://mvac.uwlax.edu/past-cultures/specific-sites/rock-art/#Tainter.