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Public outrage at the looting led


Oklahoma to pass one of the nation’s fi rst laws to protect antiquities, and to the ap- pointment of a state archaeologist. The Freeman-Custis expedition met


Ouachita and Caddo natives whose tribes had resided along the Red River for over 2,000 years. Tribes such as Apache, Comanche and Cheyenne drifted in later, followed in the 18th and 19th centuries by the so-called Five Civilized Tribes re- moved from their original homelands in the east by the U.S. Resettlement Acts. “People tend to take the past for grant- ed,” contends Elsbeth Dowd, registrar at OU’s Sam Noble Museum of Natural History and Archaeology. “A special sec- tion dedicated to Oklahoma hopes to make people appreciative of their state’s history and prehistory.” As registrar, Dowd is responsible for more than 10 million objects and speci- men in the museum. Included in the dis- play are: a red zig-zag mark on a bison skull, the oldest painted artifact in North America; the Arkansas River bison skull with the stone point imbedded in it; the reconstructed skeleton of a Columbia mammoth; carnivore dinosaur remains from 150 million years ago found in the Oklahoma Panhandle; and many others. Although the Sam Noble Museum is


Oklahoma’s most important, several others provide a rare look into the state’s archaeo- logical past. The Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Okla., Lawton, Okla.’s, Museum of the Great Plains, and the Spiro Mounds museum are three of them. A cast of the giant dinosaur found at Atoka is displayed at the Red River Museum. Debra Baker, vice president of the


Monsters like this T-Rex once prowled the fringes of the giant inland sea that covered most of Oklahoma during the Jurassic era. The T-Rex replica was a part of a seasonal display at the Tulsa Zoo.


Oklahoma Anthropological Society (OAS), works out of the Great Plains Museum where she is a research archaeologist. “OAS is an organization for people who love archaeology and want to make connec- tion with Oklahoma archaeology to pre- serve the state’s history and pre-history,” she explains. The OAS has about 500 members state- wide and is open to everyone. Its members are amateurs from walks of life ranging from doctors to farmers. They explore potential sites, mark them, and participate in major digs. This year’s digs were conducted at Fort Ouachita, a Civil War fort at Durant, Okla., in Southeastern Rural Electric Cooperative territory. “The objective of archaeology,” con- cludes Brooks, “is to connect with a past that is never really dead and continues to


live on in shared memories and knowledge. We are all today products of the past.”


EXPLORE AND DISCOVER


Learn more about Oklahoma archaeology and history through the following museums and organizations:


✓ Sam Noble Museum, University of Oklahoma 2401 Chautauqua Avenue, Norman 405-325-4712 www. samnoblemuseum.ou.edu


✓ Museum of the Great Plains 601 N.W. Ferris Avenue, Lawton 580-581-3460


✓ Museum of the Red River 812 E. Lincoln Road, Idabel 580-286-3616


✓ Spiro Mounds Archaeological Site 18154 1st Street, Spiro 918-962-2062


D I G I T A L your magazine www.ok-living.coop DECEMBER 2015 33


✓Oklahoma Anthropological Society debrab@museumgreatplains.org 580-581-3460


✓ Oklahoma Historical Society www.okhistory.org


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