Uncovering The Original Fort Gibson

Wednesday, March 28th 2007, 10:31 am
By: News On 6

A piece of Oklahoma history is being unearthed in Fort Gibson. Archeologists are there looking for the remains of the old fort, dating back to 1824. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the Fort Gibson Fort standing now is a replica that was moved slightly off the original site.

Just outside the walls of the new Fort Gibson Fort archeologists are digging to find the original. And just a few inches under the grass they have found a stone wall.

"All of this stone is exactly what we are hoping to find to support that this was one of the walls of the old fort," said Dr. Leland Bement, Supervising Archeologist

What the archeologists think they've found is the foundation of the original stockade. They're going to do more digging just to make sure.

On the first day of digging, alongside the wall, dozens of small artifacts were found, including lead, glass and even a wooden button in almost perfect condition. They also found pieces of fine dinnerware.

"It's nice to find all the early 19th century artifacts like the plate that dated back to the Civil War, that helps," said Bob Rea with the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The archeologists are working by carefully digging around the stone, scooping out the soil, then sifting it to find anything historic.

"There's always been a little bit of debate about where the original of the fort was," Fort Gibson Property Manager Chris Morgan said.

And by finding the stone foundation they might have begun to settle the debate.
"The significance of finding the wall of the old fort is just for the historical documentation of it, because we've lost all records of where the old fort was," Bement said.

The larger discovery was made after years of smaller digs at the site. What they've uncovered will be protected, and possibly incorporated into tours of the site to give visitors a little better idea of what it was like in the early 19th century.

For more information about Fort Gibson Fort, click here.