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Grant County

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Grant County, Oklahoma

The Hunter Site, 34Gt6

Calf Creek point fragments from 34Gt6.

That period in the prehistory of the southern Plains that led to a four-thousand year drought began around 7,500 years ago and effectively turned much of Oklahoma into a desert. It is known to archeologists as the Altithermal and caused massive changes in the way people lived. One group of people who adapted and thrived are known today as the Calf Creek culture and are thought to have been migratory groups who followed bison herds. They crafted a distinctive, possibly multi-use tool, known as the Calf Creek point.

The places where the Calf Creek people lived are often located on high ridges and terraces, presumably providing a good vantage point for spotting bison herds. One such high terrace occurs in Grant County and in the 1960s an area school teacher, Roy Patterson, began collecting artifacts from this site as they were exposed by plowing, wind and rain. Mr. Patterson was avidly interested in the people who lived in Oklahoma before us and became a member of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society to learn more about Oklahoma's prehistoric heritage. He kept careful records on his artifact collections, and in 1975 and 1992 visited the site with Oklahoma Archeological Survey archeologists so that the site's location could be recorded. The site became known as the Hunter site and its official designation, 34Gt6.

Among the artifacts collected at the Hunter site by Mr. Patterson are 53 artifacts recognized by archeologists as scrapers. Because of climatic conditions during the Altithermal, the artifacts from sites which can be confidently assigned to the period are often mixed with artifacts from other periods because of the severe wind erosion of the time. As a consequence, determining which artifacts, other than the very distinctive Calf Creek points, were used by the Calf Creek people has been difficult. However, with the collection of Mr. Patterson, in part due to his careful record-keeping, an analysis of the Gt6 scrapers was undertaken which gave new insights into the use of these hide-working tools by the Calf Creek people.

Scrapers may have been used in a variety of ways but were probably mainly used to process animal hides. For the Calf Creek people, the hides would mostly have been those of bison. A scraper can be recognized by the very steep angle of its edge. This angled edge is the working surface of the scraper. All of the Calf Creek period scrapers from Gt6 are made from Florence A chert which can be quarried from an area about 50 miles east in Kay and Osage counties. Careful analysis of the 53 scrapers showed that about 17% of them had been hafted to a bone or wooden handle. The rest were hand tools. Many of these scraping tools showed evidence of very heavy usage, resulting in crushing, rounding and polish on the scraper edge. The suggestion has been made that the arid conditions of the Altithermal probably resulted in dirt or sand in the bison hides being worked which may have contributed to the condition of these scrapers.

Scrapers from the Hunter Site.

 

 

References:
Bulletin of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society, "Trying to Scrape Up Some Answers: An Analysis of Scraping Tools from a Calf Creek Assemblage at the Hunter Site, 34GT6" by Robert L. Brooks, Vol.XLII, 1993.
The Chronicles of Oklahoma which can be searched online here.

Number of Prehistoric Sites in Grant 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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