Tanner Wiseman and Jeanie LaFon, students from the Anthropology Department of Oklahoma State University (O.S.U.), are spending their spring semester studying, researching, and organizing native tribal archaeological artifacts from the Bryson-Paddock and Deer Creek excavation sites, located north of Ponca City along the Arkansas River. “They are learning about items that were excavated in an archaeological dig funded by E.W. Marland in 1926,” stated Jayne Detten, Assistant Director of Marland’s Grand Home and Marland Estate.
The excavation, led by Dr. Joseph P. Thoburn of the Oklahoma Historical Society, unearthed items from Ferdinandina, a 1700’s Wichita tribal encampment where buffalo and deer hides were processed. The furs and leather items were then traded to the French, who had sailed up the Arkansas River from New Orleans.
Detten continued, “Marland’s Grand Home has numerous artifacts from this excavation that had not yet been assembled into one area Marland’s Grand Home for display. It is important to do that, and Wiseman and LaFon are helping accomplish this goal. They are writing labels and story boards with descriptions to address the artifacts. The story boards will then be added to the exhibit for explanation.”
Wiseman and LaFon are creating a “Listen and Learn” power point presentation on the 1926 Marland-Thoburn Excavation, which will tell the story and show artifacts of the excavation; helping assemble a “Touch and Feel” hide exhibit, which will contain parts of the deer used in the Native American lifestyle; and developing a corresponding exhibit, which will include a display of tools used to clean the hides.
In addition, Detten is creating a fictitious 1700’s “travel journal” activity to be used by students fourth grade and up, which will coordinate with the Marland-Thoburn artifacts and the new hide exhibits. Taking their journal along while exploring the museum, students will pretend they are a French fur trader traveling up the Arkansas River to Ferdinandina to do business with the Wichita Indians for furs and leather. The journal will lead students to four locations within Marland’s Grand Home. At each stop they will answer five questions about each location. The stops will include the Marland-Thoburn exhibit case of excavated items, a large Ferdinandina painting, the Touch and Feel exhibit of deer parts, and the new cased exhibit of tools used to tan and prepare the hides.
Working through O.S.U., under Dr. Stephen Perkins, Associate Professor in Social Anthropology, Wiseman and LaFon will receive class credit for their experience at Marland’s Grand Home. In June, they will also participate in a field school with Dr. Perkins at the Deer-Creek site for further class credit. Dr. Perkins incorporates the Bryson-Paddock and Deer Creek archaeological investigations into his class curriculum.
For more information on Marland’s Grand Home, visit marlandgrandhome.com or call 580-767-0427. Marland’s Grand Home is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Exhibits at the site include Marland Family and Marland Oil items, American Indians of the Great Plains Tribes, and the 101 Ranch and traveling Wild West Show.