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Gang of Oklahoman First Americans Researchers

GOFAR, OKPAN’s first major research effort, seeks to understand the over 8000 year history of the first peoples of our state. The GOFAR team works closely with diverse stakeholders to understand questions such as how First Oklahomans used the state’s diverse ecological regions; which Oklahoma landscapes are likeliest to yield late Pleistocene (Ice Age) and early Holocene deposits; and whether a “landscape” approach to Oklahoma’s early archaeological record could yield more fruitful results than a traditional “site-based” one.

The project is no small undertaking, and many Oklahomans will play crucial roles in GOFAR’s success. GOFAR researchers will work closely with landowners and others with intimate knowledge of Oklahoma landscapes and locations of ancient archaeological sites and artifacts. We will also seek the knowledge and counsel of Oklahoma tribal members whose ancestors have known the Oklahoma landscape longer than anyone. For now, our focus is primarily on the eastern half of the state, but as we learn more and continue to grow, so will the ground we cover.


GOFAR's founding members

Amy Clark is interested in the movement of hunter-gatherer people and groups and the methodological question of how to extract mobility-related information from archaeological assemblages. She has worked in many parts of the world, including France, Morocco, and Alaska. She studies the spatial patterning of chipped stone artifact scatters to draw conclusions about duration and length of occupations and group size. She is excited to build on these methods to study early hunter-gatherer mobility in what is now Oklahoma. She is particularly interested in evaluating human mobility across Oklahoma’s many ecological zones.

Bonnie Pitblado is the Robert E. and Virginia Bell Endowed Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and the Executive Director of OKPAN. She has studied the peopling of the New World and Paleoindian archaeology of the Rocky Mountains, Plains, and Great Basin for about 30 years. She has expertise in chipped stone analysis and a passion for public archaeology. Through GOFAR, she hopes to learn how the earliest residents of what is now Oklahoma used the highest reaches of the state (e.g., the Ozark Plateau, Ouachitas, and Wichitas) during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. She also hopes to help make GOFAR a model for inclusive archaeology, involving not only traditional research partners, but also indigenous people, private landowners, avocational archaeologists, and members of the public who share her interest in understanding humanity's dynamic past.

Debra Green works for the Oklahoma Archeological Survey at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include human-landscape interactions, hunter-gatherer settlement patterns, and site location predictive modeling. She employs the approaches of the earth sciences (geoarchaeology) to address archaeological questions. She has over 20 years of geoarchaeological research and cultural resources management experience working in the Pacific Northwest, northern, central, and southern Plains, Philippine Islands, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Okinawa, Yap, and Guam. As the GOFAR geoarchaeologist, she will create a predictive landscape model that will help increase the likelihood of finding buried late Pleistocene and early Holocene deposits in the narrow stream valleys that have incised their channels across sections of the higher elevated areas in Oklahoma. The more quickly GOFAR team members can identify 'old dirt,' the more efficiently they will locate 'old sites' buried in that old dirt.

William Ankele's research interests include how precontact people responded to climate change and how they used higher-elevation areas to mitigate the effects of such change. As a flintknapper and lithic analyst, he is particularly interested in how those behaviors are manifested in the chipped stone components of the archaeological record. William has experience working on archaeological projects in the Midwest, Great Basin, Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and Southern Plains. William also enjoys applying GIS to archaeological analysis and looks forward to applying these skills in GOFAR's landscape-based approach.

Rebecca Hawkins’s interest in the earliest inhabitants of North America began in the early 1980s. Currently, she is involved in multi-disciplinary research projects about the earliest Americans in Oklahoma and the central Ohio Valley. A cultural resources management and tribal consulting archaeologist for nearly 40 years, Rebecca’s specialized knowledge includes precontact flaked stone artifact analyses, experimental archaeology, and environmental archaeology. Rebecca is especially interested in a landscape approach to understanding Paleoindian occupation of Oklahoma. She serves as the archaeologist for the Miami and Wyandotte Nations.