Even a piece of bone adapted for use as a tool is an opportunity for artistic expression. In this case, an arrow straightener, made from a bison’s rib bone, serves as a tiny canvas. It was found at the Kaskaskia Village site in Randolph County and collected in 1952.
The earliest records we have of bison in Illinois date as far back as 8,900 years ago, but not in the vast herds that once roamed the Great Plains. East of the Mississippi River, it was more common to encounter smaller herds of up to 20 animals. These occasional groups weren’t limited to prairie grass for forage. Tooth wear suggests they may have browsed plants, trees, and shrubs along river drainages in Illinois.