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Spiro Mounds site shell engravingResearch


Archeological research areas in Oklahoma.

Research in Oklahoma Archeology

The Archeological Survey has identified three major research areas for Oklahoma. Western Oklahoma is characterized by the remains of special activity sites, camps, and villages of Native Americans whose lives were focused around the bison (buffalo).

In the central portion of the state, the Cross Timbers are increasingly recognized as an important location for explaining prehistoric people's adaptations to changing ecological situations. Eastern Oklahoma contains a rich legacy of sites related to prehistoric occupation of the region by ancestors of the Wichita and Caddo tribes.

Southern Plains Adaptations

Numerous archaeological sites in western Oklahoma representing an emphasis on native people's use of bison have been investigated by the Archeological Survey. These range from the Cooper Site, a 10,000 Folsom period bison kill, to the Certain Site, a 1600 year old kill site, to the Odessa-Yates Site, a 14th century village of pithouse dwellers in the Oklahoma panhandle, to the Duncan Site, a 15th to 16th century camp/village where bison were brought to be processed and possibly traded to eastern Puebloan villagers.

People and Prehistory in the Cross Timbers

The Cross Timbers represents a transition zone between the Plains to the west and the Woodlands to the east. Study of hunters and gatherers of the Calf Creek complex, living in the region some 5000 year ago provide clues as to how native people adjusted to severe drought and warm temperatures. During later times (between 700 and 900 years ago) , Plains Villagers coped with dryland farming on the western edge of the Cross Timbers region.

Caddoan Origins

While research in eastern Oklahoma has focused on notable sites such as Spiro Mounds, other research has been undertaken by Survey on sites ranging from 10,000 year old camps of the Dalton culture to the post-removal Choctaw settlements.

Southern Plains adaptations Cross Timbers Caddoan Origins

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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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