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Kiowa County

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Kiowa County, Oklahoma

The Cooperton Site

Mammoth ribs

Mammoth ribs at the Cooperton site

The Cooperton mammoth site contains the remnants of a young male Columbian mammoth which died sometime from 17,000 to 21,000 years ago. This site was excavated by the Museum of Great Plains at Lawton in 1961. Intriguingly, while excavating the mammoth, three hand-sized stones and a 15 pound boulder were uncovered near the skeleton.. Additionally, some of the bones bear break marks that occurred while the bones were still relatively fresh.

The investigators concluded that the mammoth had died from natural causes and had been discovered by a small band of hunters. They believe the three stones (which are much larger than other cobbles found in the area) were used to crush the bones on the boulder (which appears to have been brought into the site) to extract marrow from them.

The stones themselves do not show clear evidence of human manufacture and so the conclusions of the investigators may never be proved or disproved. The oldest accepted human habitation site in the Americas is the Monte Verde site in Chile which is generally accepted at an age of 12,500 years ago.

Mammoth bone with fresh fracture

Mammoth bone showing "fresh" fracture

Possible hammerstone

Possible hammerstone from Cooperton site


For further reading:

from Mounds to Mammoths by Claudette Marie Gilbert and Robert L. Brooks, University of Oklahoma Press, 2000

Number of Prehistoric Sites in Kiowa 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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