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Texas County

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Texas County, Oklahoma

The Two Sisters Site

Plan View of Structures

Plan View of Two Sisters Site Structures (image courtesy Christoper Lintz)

Texas County, like Beaver County, was home from about AD 1200 to 1450 to a group of people known to archaeologists as the Antelope Creek culture. In the earlier part of this period, Antelope Creek people constructed their stone slab foundation houses in villages with connecting smaller rooms. After about 1350, the architecture changed to larger, single room structures.

These Antelope Creek houses are the only stone masonry houses known for prehistoric Oklahoma. Rectangular, chipped sandstone, caliche or dolomite slabs were set vertically in single or double rows on bedrock and held upright with packed mud along the base. Occasionally, holes for roof support posts were chipped into the bedrock, as well.

The most common house is a large, rectangular structure with a low extended passageway to the east, a floor channel with two to six posts along the channel edges, a central hearth, and a raised platform on the west wall. Circular rooms, which were probably storage or food preparation areas, were often added along the extended entryway.

These people were bison hunters who also grew several varieties of corn, beans, pumpkins and squash. They also traded with people to the southwest for turquoise, obsidian, mica and marine shell jewelry.

One such site along the Beaver River dates to the later part of the Antelope Creek period, probably around 1400. The site is known as the Two Sisters Site. Two structures were excavated at this site and are shown in the image above as Structure A (right side) and Structure B (left side). Structure A was built after Structure B (the west wall of A was built over a part of the entryway of B). It consists of four connecting rooms outlined by foot thick slabs of caliche covered by adobe mud. The main residential room is about 18' x 18' . In the center of the room is a depression about 8' x 8' in the middle of which is a hearth. The outer rooms have storage pits dug into their floors.

Structure B did not have a stone slab foundation. It did have the characteristic central channel -- this one was defined by a 2" to 6" clay ridge along its edges. Structure B had a thick layer of burned clay and charcoal on its floor which may have been a collapsed roof. Evidence from the structure seemed to indicate that it had been cleaned out and then burned.

Alibates tools from Two Sisters

Two Sisters tools manufactured from stone from the Alibates quarry in the Texas panhandle
(photo courtesy Christopher Lintz)

Sandstone abraders

Sandstone abraders from Two Sisters
(photo courtesy Christopher Lintz)

Research about the late prehistoric period is ongoing in this fascinating part of the Southern Plains. A 2000 field school in Beaver County investigated a site apparently occupied by another group of people at around the same time the Antelope Creek people lived here. To the south, in the Texas panhandle investigations along Wolf Creek have defined the Buried City complex with similarities and differences to the Antelope Creek people.

For further information: Adaptation During the Antelope Creek Phase: A Diet Breadth and Site Catchment Analysis of the Subsistence Strategy at the Two Sisters Site by Marjorie A. Duncan, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oklahoma, 2002.

Number of Prehistoric Sites in Texas County Identified to Time Period

Chart showing number of prehistoric sites in Texas 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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