COLCORD — The discovery of 1,000-year-old artifacts near a decades-old bridge means Delaware County will have to build a new bridge, county Commissioner Dave Kendrick said Wednesday.
A grinding basin and arrowheads uncovered in 2003 led to a six-year delay in the planned remodeling of a concrete bridge. Now, after getting preliminary results of a follow-up study, the county plans a new bridge just west of the old bridge built in the 1930s, Kendrick said.
In a field summary released Tuesday, AMEC Earth and Environment reported that artifacts found in November and December near the bridge over Spavinaw Creek northeast of Colcord are 400 to 1,000 years old. Archaeologists originally projected the artifacts to be about 5,000 years old.
The current $180,000 excavation and research project has uncovered 16,300 artifacts on both sides of the creek where county workers planned to replace the bridge.
Although the bridge is safe for normal traffic, it isn’t safe to drive heavy machinery across, Kendrick said. Construction is expected to begin soon and will cost at least $500,000, he said.
What was found?
The artifacts can be preliminarily dated to the late woodland to village farming periods, said Grant Day, AMEC senior archaeologist and project manager.
Several small arrow points resemble the Mississippian culture but are linked to the Caddoan culture, he said. An estimated 4,000 descendants of the Caddo live in western Oklahoma, he said.
Archaeologists did not find evidence of building foundations, a trash pit or a well. Such findings would have allowed the site to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, Day said.
Day said much of the material recovered during excavation was flaking debris, "which is the material left over from tool-making.” Archaeologists think the site was likely a seasonal hunting location.
Chert, a flint-like material, was found along the creek banks.
He said what is now the creek bed was likely the campsite, but the course of the creek changed over hundreds of years.
A final report should be finished by the end of the year, Day said.
Sheila Stogsdill can be reached at (918) 787-9581 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org