Tieken was further encouraged by this possibility when news emerged in 2006 that personnel from the Dickson Mounds Museum found the remains of a bison in the bed of the Illinois River when the river was unusually low.

“It had a similar point embedded in one of the bones,” Tieken said.
The Illinois River finding was dated to the Early Woodland period going back more than 2,000 years, marking it as the earliest evidence of bison hunting in Central Illinois.
Tieken said it’s not uncommon for artifacts from one historic period to be found mixed in with materials from other ancient periods when archaeological sites are unearthed — particularly in stratified areas where several different cultures lived over thousands of years. It’s believed the Adams County drainage ditch items were mixed together when a section of dirt sloughed off the side of the ditch after heavy rains, exposing the archaeological treasures.
Tieken said the bison findings nonetheless have educational value. As it turned out, he said, the carbon dating put the age of the bison remains at between A.D. 1450 and 1470.
“Previously, most researchers believed bison didn’t come into this area until after 1500. So we put that date back at least 50 years,” Tieken said.
A Native American culture known as the Oneota people were living in this area around that time.
“It used to be thought that the Oneota people within Lima Lake were procuring buffalo on hunts to the west. But this (carbon dating results) proves that buffalo were right here in this area,” Tieken said.
In addition, getting a firm date on the bison “adds another time frame and scenario to the whole story down there” at Lima Lake, he said.
Since it was drained of water in the 1930s and converted into farmland, the former site of Lima Lake has been a treasure trove of historical discoveries over the years. Tieken has had a hand in several of those discoveries, which have resulted in three previous carbon-dating evaluations that have added to the local body of knowledge.

For example, one Native American settlement site at the south end of the Lima Lake area has been positively identified to A.D. 78 while another nearby site was dated to A.D. 525.
Even more significantly, a mastodon tooth found in the former Lima Lake bed in 1957 was taken to the U of I five years ago to be dated. Using a new high-tech dating technique, scientists determined the tooth’s actual calendar date was somewhere between 10,891 and 10,854 B.C. At the time, it was the youngest mastodon specimen scientifically dated in North America. Since then, however, a mastodon tooth from Indiana was found to be even younger by about 700 years, Tieken said.
All these discoveries from the Lima Lake area help add to the cultural knowledge base of Adams County, Tieken said.

“This puts things in factual terms as opposed to folklore or old historic tales,” he said. “It’s a living legacy of one particular tract on this huge planet.”

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