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LASLEY VORE SITE

The two- to three-hectare, protohistoric Lasley Vore settlement, thirteen miles (twenty-one kilometers) south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, overlooked the Arkansas River. The site was discovered in the course of an environmental impact study conducted in summer of 1988, prior to the construction of a Kimberly-Clark manufacturing facility. Excavation revealed no direct evidence for prehistoric structures, though several pieces of daub were recognized. However, the investigation uncovered eighty-one features, mostly hearths and pits, distributed in ten clusters that probably represent contemporaneous, household- or kin-related storage and cooking facilities.

Like the undifferentiated plow zone on top, the features contained a full complement of late prehistoric American Indian stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts, including bison scapula hoes, deer ulna awls, abundant scrapers, and small Fresno and Maud arrowheads. Cowley Plain type dominated the pottery, supplemented by less frequent types such as Deer Creek Brushed, Deer Creek Simple Stamped, and Womack Engraved. In close association with these artifacts were European glass beads, iron axe heads, brass tinkling cones, gun parts, and a panoply of other utensils and ornaments.

The American Indian and European artifacts are characteristic of the protohistoric period of the early to mid-eighteenth century, a contention supported by six radiocarbon dates. The abundance of pottery, bison and deer bone, large storage pits, heavy manos and metates, and evidence of corn suggest that this was a semipermanent village of hunter-farmers, probably of Wichita affiliation. The settlement is associated in some way with the 1719 journey of Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Bénard, Sieur de la Harpe, nine compatriots, and several horses laden with trade goods to a Tawakoni village located on the "Alcansas" River. There the entourage stayed for ten days and was honored with a calumet ceremony.

SEE ALSO: EUROPEAN EXPLORATION, PREHISTORIC NATIVE PEOPLES.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Robert E. Bell, "Protohistoric Wichita," in Prehistory of Oklahoma, ed. Robert E. Bell (Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press, 1984). George H. Odell, "Bewitched by Mechanical Site Testing Devices," American Antiquity 57 (October 1992). George H. Odell, La Harpe's Post: a Tale of French-Wichita Contact on the Eastern Plains (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002). George H. Odell, "The Organization of Labor at a Protohistoric Settlement in Oklahoma," Journal of Field Archaeology 26 (Winter 1999). George H. Odell, "The Protohistoric Period in Eastern Oklahoma: Evidence from the Lasley Vore Site," Bulletin of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society 47 (1998). George H. Odell, "The Use of Metal at a Wichita Contact Settlement," Southeastern Archaeology 20 (2001). Mildred Mott Wedel, J.- B. Benard, "Sieur de la Harpe: Visitor to the Wichitas in 1719," Great Plains Journal 10 (Spring 1971).

George H. Odell

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