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La Harpe's Post, La Harpe's Post, 0817311629, 0-8173-1162-9, 978-0-8173-1162-9, 9780817311629, , , La Harpe's Post, 0817382151, 0-8173-8215-1, 978-0-8173-8215-5, 9780817382155,

La Harpe's Post
Tales of French-Wichita Contact on the Eastern Plains
George H. Odell

Quality Paper
2002. 464 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2008. 392 pp.
Price:  $39.95 d

This major contribution to contact period studies points to the Lasley Vore site in modern Oklahoma as the most likely first meeting place of Plains Indians and Europeans more than 300 years ago.

In 1718, Jean-Baptiste Bénard, Sieur de la Harpe, departed St. Malo in Brittany for the New World. La Harpe, a member of the French bourgeoisie, arrived at Dauphin Island on the Gulf coast to take up the entrepreneurial concession provided by the director of the French colony, Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville. La Harpe's charge was to open a trading post on the Red River just above a Caddoan village not far from present-day Texarkana. Following the establishment of this post, La Harpe ventured farther north to extend his trade market into the region occupied by the Wichita Indians. Here he encountered a Tawakoni village with an estimated 6,000 inhabitants, a number that swelled to 7,000 during the ten-day visit.

Despite years of ethnohistoric and archaeological research, no scholar had successfully established where this important meeting took place. Then in 1988, George Odell and his crew surveyed and excavated an area 13 miles south of Tulsa, along the Arkansas River, that revealed undeniable association of Native American habitation refuse with 18th-century European trade goods.

Odell here presents a full account of the presumed location of the Tawakoni village as revealed through the analysis of excavated materials from nine specialist collaborators. In a strikingly well-written narrative report, employing careful study and innovative analysis supported by appendixes containing the excavation data, Odell combines documentary history and archaeological evidence to pinpoint the probable site of the first European contact with North American Plains Indians.

George H. Odell is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. He has also authored Stone Tools: Theoretical Insights into Human Prehistory.



"After 80 years of historical and archaeological speculation, Odell's research provides the first real, tangible evidence of La Harpe's journey and contact with Arkansas River Basin natives. . . .This is insight and a database that will be useful for a long time to come."
—Don G. Wyckoff, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

"Overall, LaHarpe's Post is a good example of what archaeology should be doing. We should make the most of our data, using multidisciplinary analyses of as many kinds of evidence as possible. Especially when we have to excavate under conditiuons that are not ideal, we should be fair about the limitations of the archaeological record and our analyses, while striving for the most interesting interpretations possible. And we should publish our research in a form that is useful to the archaeological profession, interesting and accessible to a wider public."
Lithic Technology

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