Lace found at the Spiro Mounds in eastern Oklahoma by a University of Oklahoma excavation team in the 1930s has been classified as one of the state’s top 10 most endangered artifacts.
The lace was found buried beneath Craig Mound. Elsbeth Dowd, museum registrar at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, says archaeologists found a number of artifacts under the mounds.
But how did a piece of lace survive? The mounds were actively used from 800 to 1450 AD. In a University of Oklahoma press release, Dowd says it survived because of its probable proximity to copper plates, whose metallic properties served as a preservation tool.
“This fragment of lace survives as one of Oklahoma’s oldest textiles and offers previously unknown information about the way Native Americans lived centuries ago,” Dowd said in the release.
She believes a lot can be learned about textile production of the time from the piece of lace.
“We are thrilled the Spiro Lace was chosen as one of the Top 10 Most Endangered Artifacts,” said Michael Mares, San Noble Museum director. “We are working hard to ensure this piece and our entire collection receives proper care so we can continue to share these treasures with visitors for many years to come.”