Using this sinkhole’s steep cliff wall as a trap for stampeding buffalo, ancient Native American’s turned what is now known as the Vore Buffalo Jump into a rich archeological site.
A natural sinkhole with a sheer 40 foot drop on one side, the buffalo jump was used from about 1500 to 1800 CE by Wyoming’s Plains Indians as a trap and slaughtering ground. After spooking herds of large buffalo, the Native American hunters would herd them towards the near invisible drop, sending the animals careening to the bottom of the hole where they would die or be permanently immobilized. Oftentimes, the kills would be broken down right in the pit, leaving the bones behind.
After hundreds of years of such use the bison trap filled with bones and stone tools that were eventually left and forgotten. When archeologists discovered the site, they found layers of bone and tools extending over 20 feet into the ground comprised of over 20,000 animal carcasses. The site is still an active excavation today but visitors can come and see the open bone pit with its seemingly endless supply of remains. Anyone interested in Native American history should jump at the chance to see this site. Just be careful how you land.
Know Before You Go
The Vore Buffalo Jump now has a permanent structure covering the bones. It is also only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The grounds are open but none of the buildings can be accessed.