From AP Reports
COLCORD - Archaeologists believe artifacts unearthed during a recent dig in Colcord date back between 2,000 and 8,000 years.
AMEC Earth and Environmental conducted the 20-day dig that was funded largely by the Bureau of Indian Affairs because it is in the Cherokee Nation.
The 12 archaeologists found about 16,000 stone artifacts at the site of a new Delaware County bridge and plan to issue a preliminary report next month on their findings.
The artifacts will be taken to Jefferson City, Mo., to be washed and catalogued before they go on display at the Institute of the Great Plains in Lawton.
The dig led to a 5-year delay in replacing an old bridge in far eastern Oklahoma.
The effort to replace the nearly 80-year-old bridge over Spavinaw Creek northeast of Colcord was held up when a grinding basin and several arrowheads were uncovered during design work in 2003.
Partially funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the $200,000 excavation unearthed stone tools estimated to be between 2,000 to 8,000 years old, said Larry Haikey, an archaeologist from BIA's Eastern Oklahoma Office in Muskogee.
The original cost of building the new bridge was set at $750,000, but Delaware County Commissioner Dave Kendrick says that price will increase now because of inflation.
Construction on the BIA-funded bridge, which is in the Cherokee Nation, could begin in the spring.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation paid $15,500 for the first archaeological study on the bridge in 2003.
Since then, the county has struggled to find the funding for the current project, which is being paid for by BIA ($50,000) and ODOT ($150,000), Kendrick said.
The projects have been performed in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, which manages the historic resources of the country and cultural integrity of Indian tribes.