Bone tools and large pieces of pottery used by ancestors of the Wichita Nation more than 400 years ago were found recently at the Etzanoa dig site on the east side of the Walnut River in Arkansas City.
Wichita State University archaeologist Don Blakeslee, with the help of WSU archaeological field school student Jeremiah Perkins, dug up the artifacts about 3 feet below the ground surface.
Seven field school students under Blakeslee’s direction are excavating a trench 26 feet long by 6 1/2 feet wide. The field school will continue throughout the end of this month.
Blakeslee said he expects his team of student archaeologists will find more bone tools and larger pieces of a broken pot as they continue to excavate the trash pit.
Perkins said the items were dug up after students spotted pottery shards. “That led into a bunch of bone tools and larger pieces,” he said.
Blakeslee is looking for ancient Native American pipes. He invites artifact collectors to allow him to photograph any stone or ceramic pipes they found in Cowley County.
Between 1450 to 1715, Etzanoa thrived as a community of 20,000 farmers and bison hunters who lived in clusters of beehive-shaped grass and wood houses surrounded by agricultural fields of corn, beans, and squash.
Blakeslee will summarize the findings of this year’s dig at a public meeting. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 27 at the Wright Room in Cowley College’s Brown Center.
He invites people who have found red stone, gray stone or ceramic pipes to bring them to the Wright Room, starting at 5:30 p.m. June 27, until just before his presentation.
“We want to see how they compare to those found in other places in Kansas and Oklahoma,” Blakeslee said of the pipes found in this area.
This information was provided by Etzanoa Conservancy member Foss Farrar.