Upper Canark Variant
A.D. 1100-1500

Stone Slab House

Stone Slab House Excavation

The native people of this area in the late prehistoric period were bison hunters who grew corn, beans and squash. Houses of one or several rooms had clay and brush or branch walls, often with stone slab bases. A firepit and roof support posts in a channel running through the center of the house were common features. Storage pits, sometimes lined with stones, lay along walls.

The Apishapa, Buried City and Antelope Creek cultures comprise the Upper Canark Variant. In Oklahoma, the Antelope Creek phase is found in the panhandle.

Small corner-notched and unnotched arrow points were made mostly from Alibates chert from the Alibates quarries in the Texas panhandle or from gravels in the local streams.

The potters of these cultures fashioned a sand or grit-tempered pottery, often with vertical cordmarks on the thin-walled ceramics. Painted potsherds originating with the Puebloan people indicate strong trade ties between these Plains Caddoans and their neighbors farther west.

In 1541, when Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led 300 Spaniards through this area searching for gold and silver, the stone slab houses of the Upper Canark variant peoples were abandoned and only widely-isolated groups still lived in the area. The reasons are not well understood but may involve changing climatic conditions and influx of Apachean groups from the north driving these Plains Caddoans out of the area.