Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Oklahoma Archeological Survey

OKLAHOMA ARCHEOLOGICAL SURVEY.

During the administration of Gov. Dewey Bartlett the Oklahoma Archeological Survey (OAS) was established in 1970 (Oklahoma State Statute 74:241). Enabling legislation mandated three fundamental responsibilities: To conduct basic research on the prehistoric and early historic archaeological record; to work with the citizens of the state to preserve sites valued for cultural heritage; and to promote public awareness of prehistory and early history by publishing and lecturing on research findings. From its inception the Archeological Survey was placed at the University of Oklahoma because the university had played a prominent role in previous archaeological research.

During approximately thirty years of service, the OAS staff has conducted excavations at numerous sites, gaining new critical new insights. Some of the more noteworthy undertakings have been investigation of the Burnham Site (at circa thirty thousand years old, potentially one of North America's oldest sites, located in Woods County), discovery of the earliest known prehistoric artwork (at 10,000-year-old Folsom Culture's Cooper Bison Kill in Harper County), excavation of a thirty-five-hundred-year-old fish trap in Pushmataha County, a three-year investigation at Spiro Mounds (one of the premier ceremonial centers of Mississippian culture), and the study of ancestral Wichita Plains Village settlements throughout central and western Oklahoma.

The Archeological Survey plays a key role in management and preservation of archaeological sites in Oklahoma. As a regulatory agency OAS annually evaluates the land-disturbing activities of some twenty-five federal and state agencies to ensure that their actions do not destroy significant archaeological sites. The agency serves as the central repository for information on some eighteen thousand prehistoric and historic archaeological records for the Sooner State. OAS also works with other federal and state agencies and private citizens to protect archaeological sites from indiscriminate looting and vandalism.

The Oklahoma Archeological Survey fulfills its educational mandate by teaching classes at the University of Oklahoma, lecturing at other universities, presenting programs in the public schools, and lecturing to numerous civic groups across the state. More broad-based efforts occur at the State Fair of Oklahoma and on the World Wide Web.

Robert L. Brooks

See also: OKLAHOMA CLIMATOLOGICAL SURVEY, OKLAHOMA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, OKLAHOMA LANDMARKS INVENTORY

Bibliography

Robert E. Bell, ed., Prehistory of Oklahoma (Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press, 1984).

Leland C. Bement, Bison Hunting at Cooper Site: Where Lightning Bolts Drew Thundering Herds (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999).

James A. Brown, The Spiro Ceremonial Center, Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, No. 29, 2 vols. (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Museum of Anthropology Publications, 1996).

Claudette Marie Gilbert and Robert L. Brooks, From Mounds to Mammoths: A Field Guide to Oklahoma Prehistory (2d ed.; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Robert L. Brooks, "Oklahoma Archeological Survey," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 20, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia