Spiro Project

Engraved shell from Spiro
Engraved shell from Spiro

The Spiro Mound site, located in eastern Oklahoma, was one of the most important ceremonial sites in eastern North America between ca. A.D. 1000-1450.  After damage by looters, archaeologists from the University of Oklahoma conducted excavations from 1936-1941 and again in the 1970s and 80s.  Many unique and significant artifacts were found at Spiro, including engraved conch shell, decorated copper plates, pottery, ear spools, stone objects, textiles, and basketry.  Today the Spiro collections are split between a number of museums, including the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, the Gilcrease, and the Smithsonian.

The archaeology department at SNOMNH recently received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to inventory and rehouse our Spiro collections.  By the end of the year, we expect to have documented nearly 168,000 artifacts from Craig Mound alone, and many more artifacts from other parts of the site.  We look forward to updating you on the progress of this exciting project!


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