Dr. Leland Bement, archeologist with Oklahoma University in Norman and a member of the Oklahoma Archeologist Survey, was on hand at the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum Saturday during the annual “Ask the Archeologist Day” event. Bement identified bones, arrowhead and other items for locals, answering many unanswered questions.

“The oldest thing we saw today in terms of Indian artifacts was part of a clovis point that dates back at least 11,000 years,” said Bement. “But, we also saw several dinosaur bones that can go back even further than that.”

Brothers Eric and Aaron Yellow Eagle and Cindee Stephens brought in a mammoth tooth that was found north of Woodward that was at least 11,000 to 15,000 years old.

“This was given to us by a friend who found it,” Stephens said. “Now the boys can take it back to school and tell them exactly what it is and how old it is.”

Bement told the family to preserve the tooth they needed to dilute Elmer’s Glue to where it was so thin when poured on the surface of the artifact, it would seep in instead of sitting on the top. This can be done, he said, with most bones that you want to preserve.

Dwight and Warren Little, who live near Freedom, brought in several items with another friend, Bud Martin, to the event. Items they brought included several arrowheads, grinding rocks and Indian tools. Martin has also found several rifle cartridges on his land that Bement was able to identify.

“This is a 45/70 cartridge from around 1888,” Bement told Martin. “This other one is possibly a 50 caliber, most likely from a buffalo hunter’s gun.”

“This is a pretty neat event,” said Martin. “There are a lot of things I wondered about that he answered.”

Dwight Little brought a photograph and information about one of the oldest living trees in Oklahoma that is located on his land near Green Leaf Creek in Woods County. They estimate the tree is over 325 years old.

Mary Hays and her family of Woodward brought a buffalo skull that dates back around 5,000 years, according to Bement.

“This is a modern buffalo - female,” said Bement. “Of course, modern day means its less that 5,000 years - which is still really old . . . when these come out of the ground, they’re usually moist and have cracked, but this one is in really good condition.”

Shelly and Emily Patton of Woodward were curious as to how you can tell the difference between rocks and things that people have made.

“Shape has a lot to do with it,” said Bement. “Things that people made have specific symmetry or smooth surfaces - you can see on the surface where people tried to smooth them down.”

Bret Murphy of Woodward, who is now going into his junior year at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, also helped Bement. Murphy is studying to become an archeologist.

“Dr. Bement is pretty much my mentor,” Murphy said. “I’ve been acquainted with him since I was 13 or 14 years old - I got to go on a field school dig with him near Fort Supply and became very interested in archeology . . . God chooses what you want to do in life - when this archeology deal came up, God decided that this is what he wanted from me - to further my interests in archeology.”

Murphy will be able to go on a dig in China in May with 80 other archeology students from the United States.

“There’s been a huge dig going on there for about the past 10 years and 80 students get to go tour China and help with that dig,” said Murphy. “I’m really excited about it and hope it will further my interests in archeology even more.”

Robert Roberson, director of the museum, said that there was a lot more participation this year than in years past.

“I think it went great,” said Roberson. “We have got a lot more feedback about the event from the community . . . it’s part of our mission to provide education for the community.”

Roberson and Bement are planning for the event next year to take place already.

“It was a great day - this is our fourth year and every year new things come in and we get to see new people,” said Bement. “We also have several that come back every year. I get information from them to take home and hopefully they get helpful information from me to take home - it’s an even trade.”

For more information about the museum and their many programs, call 256-6136.

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