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McClain County

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McClain County, Oklahoma

The Brewer Site

The period from 2000 years BP (before present) to 1000 years BP is known to archaeologists as the Woodland period. The people of the time were hunter/gatherers who made pottery, gathered wild plants and nuts, and used bow and arrow to hunt deer. Late in the period they began using domesticated plants to supplement their diets. They may have planted a crop near one of their regular camps and then come back later in the year to harvest it.

After 1000 BP, agriculture among Southern Plains groups came into its own with large, established villages along the fertile floodplains of the Washita and Canadian rivers. Corn, beans and squash as well as other crops provided a significant portion of the diet of these Plains Villagers.

Archaeologists have discovered a few sites where the people were just beginning the transition from the Woodland to the Plains Village lifestyle. The Brewer site, located on a sandy ridge south of the Canadian River near Rosedale, Oklahoma, is one such site.


Stone pipe from the Brewer site.

Dart and arrow points from the Brewer site.

The Brewer site is believed to have been one of the earlier villages (with semi-permanent inhabitants) in the area. Numerous pits were uncovered at the site. They were used by the Brewer site occupants as storage pits for grain and crop seed.

The pottery sherds (pieces of broken pottery) found at the Brewer site reveal much about this time period in Oklahoma's prehistory known to archeologists as the Paoli Phase. Earlier, Woodland pottery was thick and rugged, suitable for a mobile lifestyle. Large pots, like the one at the right, were cooking vessels; their cone-shaped bases resisted cracking in the heat of a campfire.

Other pots from the Brewer site, though, have different shapes and show that the people who lived there were becoming more settled. This pottery was thinner with flat bases and small, constricted necks and was probably used for storing grain.

The descendants of the Brewer site people established large farming villages all along the Canadian and Washita rivers with extensive fields. The Brewer site is interesting because the people who lived there were among the earliest farmers in the area.

Reconstructed cordmarked pot from the Brewer site

Sites Identified to Time Period in McClain County

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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