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EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY: HISTORIC IMAGES, TIPI CAMPS, AND ARCHAEOLOGY

Kimball M. Banks and J. Signe Snortland
Plains Anthropologist
Vol. 40, No. 152 (May 1995), pp. 125-144
Published by: Maney Publishing on behalf of the Plains Anthropological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25669332
Page Count: 20
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EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY: HISTORIC IMAGES, TIPI CAMPS, AND ARCHAEOLOGY
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Abstract

Although stone circles or tipi rings are among the most common archaeological features in the Northern Plains, they defy archaeological interpretation. Notoriously sparse in artifacts, recognizable features, and identifiable activity areas, tipi ring sites are difficult to place, both culturally and temporally. Traditionally, archaeologists have used written documents to assist in the interpretation of such sites. This paper explores the potential of another approach: analysis of historic photographs and other images. Photographs of tipi camps taken from about the 1850s to the 1950s, rock art, ledger art, historic sketches, and paintings are used to examine such topics as topographic settings, settlement patterns, associated features and their placement, structural morphology, and cultural variability in tipi camps.

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