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The New Adventures of Dances With Snakes 

TRMS/DPS/OMGS Joint Field Trip - Chisum Quarry, Gore, Oklahoma

May 13th, 2006

    Our day begins at around 8:00am at an abandoned trading post just off Interstate 40 at Hwy 100 near Webbers Falls, OK. 

Just down the road is Gore, Oklahoma, and our planned collecting locality at the old abandoned quarry known as Chisum Quarry. The quarry was extensively used in the building of the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, particularly Webbers Falls Lock and Dam only a mile away. The collecting is principally in the Pennsylvanian series of the Braggs mountain and Brewer Bend limestone members of the Sausbee Formation.

Of particular interest in this quarry is the possibility of finding the occasional Trilobite (Paladin morrowensis), several species of Goniatites, Gastropods, and at least one known species of Cephalopod. Also known from this locality are occasional remains of Deltodus angularis, and Petalodus ohioensis shark. More plentiful are Pentremites rusticus Blastoids, and numerous species of Crinoids, Brachiopods, Corals, and a Bryozoan, Polypora submarginata.

Pentremites Blastoids found by DWS

Crinoid plate found by Dennis Swing

Petalodus tooth. Recovered by DPS President Brian Bowles

Ditomopyge Trilobite This is the best example of this Trilobite our FT Leader, Dennis Swing, has seen come out of this quarry. This one was found by TRMS member Tony Morris.

Click here for a 180 panorama of the lower portion of the quarry.

In my wanderings about the quarry, I happened upon an old friend, well, actually a new friend. A king snake was taking a stroll to the watering hole, so we got acquainted for a few minutes before going about our business. He didn't seem to mind the attention much, but he did seem to take a shine to my geo-pick!

I think we both enjoyed the interaction. Jeannie Fulton of the Dallas Paleo Society assisted with the pics. Jeannie is a science teacher and enjoyed watching the interaction. The species is Eastern Black Kingsnake.

Lost City Lithics

Later that afternoon after leaving the group I decided to take time to visit a Native American encampment site near 14-mile creek, just north of Hulbert, OK. This is a site on private property with restricted access. The owner has given me permission to visit the site and do a little excavating from time to time in search of artifacts. Mostly what I find is debitage, but occasionally I'll turn up a partial point or scraper. The flint is abundant in one particular area, lending to the idea of a seasonal encampment as much as 4000 years BP. The partial points that have been found seem to support this. The site is currently about fourteen feet above the normal water level in 14 Mile creek, and testing of the soil indicates approximately that much top soil above the underlying gravel beds. Not far away are alluvial hills rising as much as 200 feet or more comprised of mainly of coarse , cherty gravels. The meadow where the site is located would seem to have existed for some thousands of years, and lend credence to the course of 14 Mile creek not having moved much in that period of time. It lies in a mile wide valley which winds it's way through the the hills at the bedrock level. It would seem that a nearby waterfall would have been a plus to the natives, and nearby springs also supply a necessary clean water source. The meadow is somewhat sheltered, and would have been an excellent site for a long term seasonal encampment. The surrounding hills would have been excellent lookout points.

There is evidence that extensive lithic manufacturing took place, including the "cooking" of spalls and blanks. A great deal of the debitage exhibits characteristics of heat treatment, both in the color and the enhanced fracture control of the flakes. There are some wonderful pinks and greys, to stark white material, which is not typical of untreated native flints and cherts in the area. Most of the chert gravels to be found in the creek are non-descript earth-tones, and somewhat less workable in their natural, un-treated forms. There is also evidence of charcoal in the lithic work area, lending credence to this observation.

The meadow, and the approximate six foot square plot that Brandon and I de-sodded on an earlier visit.

Some flakes of white flint, and a pile of debitage can be seen here from the small area that is dug to the right.

As you can see, the ratio of worked flint to un-worked stone is no comparison here. This area is loaded with debitage. I have sampled several plots some 60 to 100 feet from here and come up with the same type of lithic waste. Perhaps this area deserves a proper excavation and study. We'll see what I can wok out with the owner in the future for an organized dig here by BA Paleo members under the proper supervision... Maybe this will be a good site for students of Archeology?







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