Dig into Fort Washita!

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by Maddie Currie

From September 19th to September 24th, the Oklahoma Anthropological Society (OAS) will be holding its annual Fall Dig at Fort Washita in Durant, Oklahoma!

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A model of what Fort Washita originally looked like in the 1800s.

Fort Washita is a beautiful site that dates back to 1842 when it was built in Choctaw territory to protect the recently removed Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. Several famous Civil War generals—like Randolph B. Marcy, George McClellan, William G. Belknap, and Theophylus H. Holmes—served at Fort Washita prior to the war. United States federal troops abandoned the fort in 1861 and it was occupied by Confederate soldiers shortly after. Fort Washita was then used as the headquarters of Confederate Brig. Gen. Douglas Cooper for the remainder of the war.

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The 2013 Fur Trade Rendezvous.

Today, Fort Washita is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public, thanks to the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). The fort and its museum are very popular among residents in the surrounding area (including the author of this post) and frequently hosts family gatherings, weddings, school field trips, and other special events.

If you are interested in the OAS Fall Dig—and meet the
OKPAN team as we help out with the dig!— visit OAS’s Facebook page. Even if you can’t attend the excavation, Fort Washita hosts an annual Fur Trade Rendezvous in the spring, as well as many other reenactments, in addition to being open most days of the year. If you want to learn more about Fort Washita, visit their Facebook page or its OHS page. We hope to see you at Fort Washita!

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The abandoned West Barracks in 1887.

 

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The West Barracks today.

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