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The Deer Creek Site

An eighteenth-century fortified Wichita village on the American Southern Great Plains

Sarah Trabert, Stephen M. Perkins, Susan C. Vehik, Richard R. Drass, and Sheila Bobalik Savage
Publication Year:
156 pages, Illustrated throughout in black & white, and colour.


The Deer Creek site (34KA3), located next to the Arkansas River in the Southern Plains of the U.S., served as a crucial hub for exchange and interaction during the eighteenth century between ancestral Wichita peoples and French traders from Louisiana. Despite its significance as one of the few Indigenous trading villages in the region to have a historically reported fortification complex, previous owners denied researchers access to the site. In 2016, an agreement was reached with the current site managers and the Wichita and Affiliated tribes so that the professional excavations could be carried out. This monograph presents the findings of recent research conducted at the site, employing a combination of remote sensing and archaeological methods. Unlike the northern Plains where entire villages were fortified, southern Plains villages contained fortified refuges within their settlements. These fortifications and their associated features are examined in depth, along with DNA analysis of horse and dog remains, European guns and other trade goods, and analyses of ancestral Wichita material culture.


Sarah Trabert is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on Indigenous responses to settler colonialism on the Plains.

Stephen M. Perkins is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology at Oklahoma State University.

Susan C. Vehik is a specialist in Great Plains archaeology and Professor Emerita at the University of Oklahoma.

Richard R. Drass is a Research Faculty Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. His interests include paleoethnobotany, agricultural development, and Native fortifications at Plains villages.

Sheila Bobalik Savage is an affiliated researcher at the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey. She is interested in zooarchaeology and Great Plains and Eastern North America archaeology.

Contributors: Cara Munroe


‘This is a significant contribution to our knowledge of culture contact and culture change. It casts light on an understudied region of the United States and uses data sets in a compelling manner.’ Professor Richard Veit, Monmouth University

‘This book has a unique strength: by understanding how the Wichita were not passive actors in early European contact history, it contributes greatly to the literature discussing borderlands and tribal zones.’ Andrew Clark, Director of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, State Historical Society of North Dakota

‘The Deer Creek Site is incredibly valuable to the study of Great Bend Aspect and pericolonial Wichita sites.’ Associate Professor Crystal A. Dozier, Wichita State University

Table of Contents (S3176_Trabert_9781407361451_-_toc.pdf, 265 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (S3176_Trabert_9781407361451_-_introduction.pdf, 2,180 Kb) [Download]