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Spiro Mounds site shell engravingOklahoma's Past

Love County

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The Pumpkin Creek Site

The Pumpkin Creek site in Love County dates to a period known to archeologists as the Archaic period. During the early Archaic, hunter/gatherering groups were sparsely populated across the continent. The mammoths and most other large animals of the Ice Age were extinct, and the climate was probably moderate with more rain than we have presently. Hunters could still find the giant bison, Bison antiquus, which they killed with spears tipped with stone points.

The hunters who camped at the Pumpkin Creek site were probably moving around following their game. Since they needed a specific kind of material to make their stone tools, a stone that flaked predictably and could be worked into the shape they required, this ridge overlooking a creek became a regular stopover. It had high quality stone and a good vantage near water. Fathers brought their sons here and showed them how to produce the tools needed for their hunting.

Artifacts found at the Pumpkin Creek site.

Modern day flint-knapper, Bobby Nickey, Guymon, Oklahoma,
demonstrates the craft.

For some 2,000 years, the Pumpkin Creek site served as a workshop for the production of tools. It is believed that small groups of men came to the site, stayed long enough to make some spearpoints and knives, and then moved on.

Dramatic changes occurred during the period from 9,000 to 7,500 years ago -- the time when the Pumpkin Creek site was used. The climate was growing dryer. The giant Bison antiquus slowly evolved into a smaller bison called Bison occidentalis. This evolution would finally lead to the bison we know today and was probably related to the warming, drying conditions on the continent. The prairies moved eastward into formerly forested areas. By 7,000 BP (Before Present), western Oklahoma was virtually a desert. The people who used the ridge near Pumpkin Creek no longer visited the site.

The Pumpkin Creek site has been studied from time to time by several archeologists over a period of 30 years. The site was rediscovered in the 1970's by an artifact collector who showed it to his brother. The two of them collected the site and contacted the State Archeologist at the Oklahoma Archeological Survey. The State Archeologist and one of the collectors, who was also a member of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society, eventually wrote a scientific paper about the site. His collection has been donated to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Another collector has also allowed archeologists to examine his recent collections from the Pumpkin Creek site and eventually another report will be issued by the museum.

Collaboration between professional archeologists and interested amateurs has contributed significantly to our understanding of the people who were here before us. This sharing of information continues to add insights into the prehistory of our state.

Prehistoric Sites in Love 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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