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Caddo County

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451 reported archeological sites for Caddo County to date

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The Domebo Canyon Site

At the end of the Ice Age, when winters were warmer and summers cooler, a Columbian mammoth wandered into a swampy slough at the bottom of a deep ravine in Caddo County. Weighing in at 10 tons, he stood some 14 feet tall. While he grazed on the lush marsh grasses, a family of prehistoric hunters, hidden downwind from the giant, quietly watched his movements. Slowly, so that the mammoth did not spook, the hunters rose. Their spears, launched with a throwing tool called the atlatl, flew with fierce power and felled the creature. The flesh of the mammoth fed the family for many weeks.

 

Within 5 years of the mammoth's death, the slough had silted in so that the bones were covered. Eventually, the entire creek channel filled with sandy soil eroded from the nearby sandstone hills. Over the centuries there were several cycles of erosion and deposition. The massive bones lay in their silt and clay bed, largely undisturbed. The 20th century, though, brought an erosional cycle that eventually exposed the mammoth skeleton, buried for some 11,000 years.

In 1961, Mr. Buck Patterson contacted archeologists at the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton about the bones he had discovered eroding from the bank of a branch of Tonkawa Creek. When archeologists excavated, they found the kill site from that long-distant date.

Domebo Canyon Site

Artifacts from the Domebo Canyon site.


Artifacts from the Domebo Canyon Site

Mammoth skeletons are uncovered in land clearing and excavation fairly often in Oklahoma. Usually, these ancient elephants died from natural causes. At the Domebo Canyon site, though, archeologists discovered the stone tools left behind by the prehistoric hunters who killed and then butchered the mammoth. For this reason, the Domebo Canyon site is both rare and important. Clovis hunters like those at the Domebo Canyon site may have been among the first people on the American continents. Little is known about this period of Oklahoma's prehistory so future research will undoubtedly reveal more details about the big game hunters who once called Oklahoma home.

For further reading, consult:
Domebo: A Paleo-indian Mammoth Kill Site in the Prairie Plains by Frank C. Leonhardy (Contributions of the Museum of the Great Plains No. 1, Lawton.1966).

 

 

Prehistoric Sites in Caddo County Identified to Time Period

Chart of sites by 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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