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Jackson County

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The Perry Ranch Site

The Perry Ranch site in Jackson County dates to a time in Oklahoma's prehistory when most of the big game from the end of the Ice Age in Oklahoma, like mammoths, had already become extinct. One of the giant animals hunted by early Native American hunters made the transitions, though. Bison evolved through time and have been hunted as long as humans have occupied the continent.

There were several species of bison which preceded modern-day bison. They were generally larger with longer horns. One of these, Bison antiquus, stood nearly seven feet and weighed as much as 3,000 pounds.

Excavation of Bison antiquus skeleton

Excavation of Bison antiquus at Perry Ranch

A pair of amateur archeologists discovered the Perry Ranch site. They reported the find of an ancient spearpoint and eroding bison bone to the Oklahoma Archeological Survey. Salvage excavations at the site took place in 1974 before the site was completely eroded away by flooding in Turkey Creek.

Unfortunately, the bison bone was very fragile and so only the robust leg bones could be taken up in one piece. All the bone was returned to the laboratory for study, however. Additionally one complete spearpoint was recovered underneath the right foreleg of one of the animals.

Further study of the excavated bone convinced archeologists that the bison belonged to the now-extinct species, Bison antiquus. Because so much of the bone was badly damaged, it was difficult to tell how old or even how many animals were butchered at the site.


However, even with the fragmentary evidence, archeologists deduced there were at least two bison killed at Perry Ranch.

The spearpoints found on the site were made of a special kind of chert known as Alibates. It flakes in a uniform and predictable manner which made it highly desirable for prehistoric tool-makers. This Alibates may have been collected at a quarry in the Texas panhandle about 150 miles away.

A small sample of the bone was radiocarbon-dated and returned a date of about 7,000 years ago. Recent advances in dating techniques, however, allowed archeologists at the University of Oklahoma to re-submit another small sample and this date, which is believed to be more accurate, shows the bison at the Perry Ranch site were hunted and killed 9,600 years ago.

The spearpoints, shown at right, are similar in style to points found from the same time period throughout the Southern Plains. They are called Plainview points.


Plainview points from Perry Ranch
Plainview Points from the Perry Ranch Site

Prehistoric Sites in Jackson County Identified to Time Period

Paleo = ?-8,000 BP / Archaic = 8,000-2,000 BP / Woodland = 2,000-1,000 BP / Village 1000-500 BP
BP (before present)


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Oklahoma Archeological Survey 111 E. Chesapeake Norman OK 73019-5111 (405)325-7211 Contact Webmaster: archsurvey@ou.edu

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