Prehistoric remains found during construction of Tulsa turnpike

VIDEO: Archeologist looking into prehistoric artifacts in west Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — Prehistoric remains estimated to be around 900-1,000 years old were discovered and collected at the site of the new Gilcrease Expressway Turnpike leg being built in west Tulsa near the Berryhill community.

During a stakeholder update on Monday, it was announced that while crews were digging the new drainage system for the turnpike in the early part of the project, multiple artifacts were found in a place that was believed to have seen some kind of prehistoric activity.

After being examined by archaeologists and cultural experts from the Osage Nation, the University of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, it was determined that around 7,000 pieces at the scene were deemed significant.

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Nov. 30, 2020 - Prehistoric remains estimated to be around 900-1,000 years old were discovered and collected at the site of the new Gilcrease Expressway Turnpike leg being built in west Tulsa near the Berryhill community.
Nov. 30, 2020 - Prehistoric remains estimated to be around 900-1,000 years old were discovered and collected at the site of the new Gilcrease Expressway Turnpike leg being built in west Tulsa near the Berryhill community. (FOX23)

The pieces are mostly broken pottery, parts of stone tools, cooked animal bone remains that helped them determine an approximate age, and fire cracked rock which show a large campfire was burning at the site centuries ago and that fire was hot enough to crack the stones that were put around it like someone would do nowadays with bricks around a fire pit.

Experts from Texas and Colorado also came to help excavate and look for more remains and artifacts, some smaller than a fingernail clipping.

Once analyzed, the artifacts collected will be displayed at the Sam Noble Natural History Museum on the OU-Norman campus.

Crews were told when they started working on the project to be aware of a possible finding when they did their digging because the turnpike runs through an area where prehistoric activity is believed to have taken place.

We do not know what animals were cooked for food. That was not released, but the bones showed they were at one point cooked.