Travel DestinationsHeritage SitesVisit The Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump For A...

Visit The Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump For A Real World Experience


We have crossed over many countries and off-beat places in search of the best World Heritage Sites across the world. And we have found some gem out of it. However, the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is one of the most unique sites. This site stands apart from the rest of the Heritage Site.

6000 years old Site preserved and listed in World Heritage to protect an age-old folk tale may sound a bit weird. Hence it will be more appropriate to explore all the possibilities of why the place came into the list and then make a judgment. So let us hear the story and know the unfamiliar tradition or practice.

About the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

WHS Alberta
WHS Alberta: Image Credit/

The Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is located in southwest Alberta, Canada. It is a site used for Buffalo hunting that has been a practice in that part of the region. People chase the buffalo to the top of the Precipice where they eventually fall into the gorge. This site depicts a narrow conflict between man and the wild. The archeological findings tell you a legend old story that locals confirm through their version of the storyteller.

It is recorded that buffalo jumping here at this particular area is so high that approximately 40 million buffalo carcass or bones were found. This place can be considered as a standing example for buffalo hunting. Archeologists call it a vast library! This place ended up on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. And since then the site has attracted more than millions across the globe.

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History of the place

Head Smashed Exhibition
Head Smashed Exhibition: Image Credit/

The folklore and archeology have a stupendous tale of the human-animal relationship. This sandstone rocky mountain is one of the living examples of hunting techniques. People of North America would hunt Bison for food, the coat and also prevent the over pollution as some records suggest.

However, it is also said that once the local found body of a young boy under the pile of some 20 more buffalo bodies. It is when the practice is supposedly stopped in that part of the region. The practice that we speak here is 6000 years old. When people used to chase the Bison to the cliff and lure them to jump off the cliff. It is said that the bones and marks of that incident are still embarked in the stones and the surroundings.

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The authenticity of the place

WHS Alberto
WHS Alberto: Image Credit/

Without any doubt, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is a very well preserved heritage site. It represents the American indigenous culture of Bison hunting. The authenticity of the place comes from oral documentaries as well as archaeological evidence. The carcass and the bines still laying down the cliff and the surrounding gives you amazing integrity that holds for centuries. It was in the year 1961 the archeological department did some serious digging in the site to recollect those bones as evidence.

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It was found that more than 20 million Bison bones were left buried in the area. And it was then the evidence clarified the hunting to be a game for food and clothing.
However, there is always an underlying threat to the site. Soil erosion and other climate changes can do major harm to the surrounding. The cliff being sandstone makes it worse. The authority has been working hard on preventing the harm and keeping it at bay. And thus when we talk about prevention and protection we have to look a bit into the rules and regulations.

Protection and management

Head Smashed IN Buffalo Jump
Head Smashed IN Buffalo Jump: Image Credit/

The Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is one precious archeological excavation that needs tremendous preservation. And to get it done the city goes by rules and regulations. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site it becomes a national and international interest in managing the whole area. The Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is however become interested in many committees, right from the federal to the local committee. The Government of Canada has a pivotal role in safeguarding the place and keeping it’s into the tag of National Historic Site.

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The Archeological Research Permit Regulation ensures the research to preserve and monitor the visual and physical site. The site also falls under the Alberta’s Special Program 2000 And Municipal Act to provide adequate heritage conservation.
The Site that incorporates 650 acres of land is protected under the Government of the province of Alberta. And in the pretext of Historical significance site, the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is given the utmost priority.

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The Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump is an extremely rare UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourist loves the place and also the story behind the place. The sandstone cliff looks innocent yet has an extremely violent past. However, in the conflict of survival, some losses are bound to happen. And humans once destroyed are now protecting the entire site that seems a bit ordeal. That is how civilization evolves, maybe precisely!

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