A Fort Gibson man found a skull while exploring the Arkansas River for treasures after this spring’s historic flooding.
Andy Horlick said he immediately contacted authorities after he and his friend realized they may have found a human skull on a river sand bar. A Cherokee Nation councilor said they did exactly the right thing.
Like many others, he had never seen anything like the spring’s historic flooding.
”The river was as high as I’ve ever seen it, and now in 3 and a half months, it’s as low as I’ve seen it,” Horlick said.
Tuesday’s trip on his friend’s boat was an adventure to discover what the floods washed up. They arrived at a sandbar in the Arkansas River south of Okay and west of Wybark.
“We hit one sand bar walking it over and noticed it was full of bones,” he said.
Those bones included a human skull.
“At that point, we contacted the authorities,” he said.
The Wagoner County sheriff’s office says they took the skull to a medical examiner. They believe the floods could have washed it out of a Native American burial site. The skull might even be prehistoric.
“If it’s a burial ground or something, that might tell our story from a few hundred years ago,” said a Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Wes Nofire. “It could be prehistoric. It’s something we would definitely like to know about.”
Wes Nofire is a Cherokee Nation tribal counselor and he said if you find anything like it, do exactly what Horlick did and leave it untouched.
“Leave the area undisturbed. Don’t mess with it. This could be something of true significance,” Nofire said.
Horlick said he wants to see the skull identified and hopefully shed some light on the history of his home state.
“I would like to do my part to help out with the historic cultural from these parts, the parts that I grew up in,” Horlick said. “It’s very interesting.”
Nofire said after the medical examiner looks at the skull to make sure it’s not criminal, it will likely go to the Oklahoma Historical Society to identify the age and