The Antiquity of Man in America

Objects of human manufacture recently found in the Southwest

Tillman County fossils

Fig. 6. Artifacts found associated with fossil mammal remains near Frederick, Tillman County, Oklahoma. No. 1–From basal stratum. See “A” in diagram, Fig. 5. No. 2–Cross-section of artifact No. 1. No. 3–From horizon marked “B” in diagram, Fig. 5. 

J. D. Figgins
As Mr. Cook’s account will cover the geological history of these deposits, and the immediate vicinity, here it is necessary merely to say the sand and gravel pit consists of an open cut on the east face of a ridge approximately half a mile in width and running for some miles in a generally north and south direction. Sand and gravel from an area of about two acres have been worked out near the crest of this ridge, which, with the overlying stratum of clay, silt, etc., varied from ten feet to twenty-five feet in thickness. At the time of our visit, a nearly vertical cut of not less than 150 yards in length and varying from fifteen feet to twenty-four feet in height was exposed, in which every phase of the several strata was clearly defined.

Independent of the opportunities thus offered for studies of the exposed formations, it also made it easily possible for Mr. Holloman to point out the horizons at which artifacts and the several varieties of fossils had been found.

That a great deal of fossil material has been uncovered since the opening of the pit, there can be no doubt, but not until during the past year was an effort made to preserve any part of it. Accounts are unanimous in showing that quantities of such material have gone into the refuse heap, now comprising thousands of tons; into the surfacing of roads; the cement mixer, etc. Seven known artifacts are buried somewhere in this refuse pile or carried away: a metate and six pestles or manos, but these cannot be considered here. (The Colorado Museum of Natural History has arranged to keep a representative constantly on the ground to search for and preserve all artifacts and fossils hereafter uncovered.)

Although fossils are found throughout the entire stratum of sand and gravel deposits, a superficial study of all the evidence suggests the possibility that two faunal and cultural stages are represented. This, however, is for others to determine, and the writer will confine himself to the circumstances connected with the finding of the artifacts and to brief references to the deposits from which they were taken.

Figure 5 illustrates a typical section of the deposit, and [as originally published] is drawn to the scale of ¼ inch to 1 foot for the average thickness of the several strata. It also indicates the horizons at which the several artifacts were exposed.

The base member, composed of clean river gravels, pebbles, and occasional boulders up to five inches in diameter, is solidly cemented with semi-translucent lime, and lies uncomformably upon red beds of Permian age. This stratum contains numerous fossils of several varieties, such as Mylodon cf. harlani, three species of Equus, Trilophodon, sp., and a primitive Elephas, etc. Associated with them and at the point marked “A,” the artifact illustrated in Fig. 6, No. 1, was found by Mr. Holloman. It is a light-gray flint, and while the flaking exhibits considerable skill, perhaps, as a whole, the workmanship is poor, with the chipping confined to the reverse sides of the edges (see cross-section, Fig. 6, No. 2). Whether or not other flints have been uncovered at this level, there is no means of determining, this single example having been picked up by Mr. Holloman as it was broken out of the hard matrix by workmen. Two stones taken at the same level and described by Mr. Holloman, can scarcely be regarded as other than pestles or grinding instruments, but subsequently these disappeared and cannot be otherwise recorded here.