1940 Newspaper Article on Wedel Excavations

Arkansas City Daily Traveler 08/08/1940

Right click and open image in new tab to zoom in


Ruins of Ancient Indian Village Are Sought Northeast of City

A general archaeological survey of Kansas, probably the first of its kind to be attempted, is now under way by Dr. and Mrs. Waldo Wedel of Washington, D. C., and their assistants.
The group is at present camped northeast of the city on the John Goff property and is interesting itself in uncovering the remains of an Indian village which possibly existed about 1600.
“We’re just looking around and we’ve no idea what is here. This is just a preliminary survey to learn the possibilities in this vicinity,” says Dr. Wedel who is assistant curator of archaeology at the United States national [m]useum, a part of the Smithsonian Institute.

Has Staff of Five

For the past 2 ½ summers he has worked in Kansas in an effort to discern the peoples and the land before the settlement of the white man. This summer he has a staff of five, including Mrs. Wedel. The young men are M. F. Kivett, an anthologist student from the University of Nebraska; J. M. Shippee of Kansas City, Mo.; R. G. Slattery, geology student form Georg Washington university at Washington, D. C.; and John Gile, cook, a medical student from the University of Pennsylvania.
A tent city of five “homes” comprises the expedition which travels from place to place in cars. The party will disband in September and Dr. and Mrs. Wedel will resume his regular duties at the museum.
The Indian village site where the party is now exploring was discovered after Monday’s rain washed bits of flints to the surface of the field, which is almost directly west of the camp. It is located on a ridge which is partly on the T. N. Haggard property and partly on the Muret estate farmed by A. T. Larcom. Permission from the owners and tenants is always gained by Dr. Wedel before any excavation is begun and proper papers are always filled out.

‘Cash Pits’ Are Found

So far the diggers have unearthed several “cash pits,” the storage places of the Indians. Each family had three or four of the pits about their homes. The pits were bell-shaped, usually four to seven feet deep and about the same in diameter, and were dug out with bone or small hoes. Corn was usually stored there and, after the corn had spoiled, trash was piled into the hole. Later it was used again as a storage place. In this way, much valuable information is gained now from these old “cash pits” as bits of broke pottery, flints, etc., were swept into the pits as trash in-between the seasons of storing corn.
The Wedels believe this may have been a village of the Wichita tribe which was encamped on
Turn to Page 12

Ruins of Old Indian Town Sought Here

Continued From Page One
the Arkansas river. Dr. Wedel says there is evidence that the river at that time, 300 to 350 years ago, curved and probably went close to the site of the village.
No home sites have been found, probably because the Wichitas lived in grass huts whose foundations were not substantial enough to have survived the elements. The tribe was evidently in contact with other tribes as pieces of t[ur]quoise, pottery and glass has been found, all evidences of trade with tribes of New Mexico and the Yellowstone.
Dr. Wedel mentions that no indications have been found of horses, which meant that the Indians probably went everywhere on, foot. During that era, the Indians lived mainly by farming and gardening with probably an acre or so allot[t]ed to each family for corn. Meat was supplied by buffalo and wild game.

Mounds at Country Club

There are several Indian mounds about this vicinity that have never been opened, the Wedels reveal. For instance, there are two or three at the Country club, south of the clubhouse. They are about 40 feet across and Dr. Wedel says they should be opened by someone who knows how. But he doesn’t think that his group will have the time.
Before coming to Arkansas City, the party was located near Geneseo, in Rice county, for seven weeks. They worked three villages there, probably belonging to ancestors or descend[a]nts of the same Wichita tribe which was located in the Arkansas City area. They found the usual run of beads, flint drills, bone work and also some evidence of contact with white men, such as iron and glass beads.
This business of archae[o]logy Is not all digging although the digging generally occupies about eight hours a day, from 7 a. m. to 4:30 p. m. Much of the “hard” work is done after the exploration is concluded.

Digging Easiest Task

“The digging is the easiest and most interesting of all,” comments Dr. Wedel, who is a native Kansan having been reared at Newton. “After the day’s digging has been concluded, every piece that has been found, no matter how large or small, has to be classified, the number entered in a catalog to later be checked In Washington when we return there.”
Mrs. Wedel has one of the most tedious tasks. She does a majority of the piecing together of the pottery into its original articles, such as vases, jugs, molds, etc. For the glueing, she uses ordinary household cement and, would you believe it, she uses ordinary nail polish remover to remove the excess glue or take any pieces apart. This polish remover is an expensive form of acetone.
The Wedels have received much of their information about Indian lore and relics from local persons who are interested in such work. They are appreciative of this information, they declare.
End Transcript


1942 Newspaper Article on Quivira

Arkansas City Daily Traveler 1/24/1942

Right click and open image in new tab to zoom in


Says Cowley County Quivira Area

The theory of local historians and amateur archaeologists that central Kansas, and particularly the vicinity of Lyons, is the Kingdom of Quivira visited by Coronado in 1541 has been given its first nod of approval by the Smithsonian Institution1.
It comes in an interim report to the society by Dr. Waldo R. Wedel, assistant curator in the division of archaeology who made an investigation into numerous Indian village remains in Rice and Cowley counties in the summer of 1940.
In summarizing his observations in the field and research into Coronado history, Dr. Wedel said:
Scattered throughout a wide area in central and southern Kansas, chiefly in the Arkansas basin but extending also into the Smoky Hill and upper Cottonwood drainages, are numerous aboriginal village sites. Preliminary archaeological investigations show that these were the habitat of a widespread and numerous semisedentary people practicing maize-bean-squash horticulture, as well as hunting and gathering. There is a striking uniformity in the pottery and other cultural remains from sites in Rice, McPherson, Marion, Butler and Cowley counties2.
“The discovery of chain mail fragments, glass beads, an iron axe blade, etc., indicate that the sites were inhabited into or during a very early period of white contac[t]; turquoise, [glaze-paint?] sherds and obsidian are evidences of trade relations with Puebloan groups in the Rio Grande area. Moreover glaze-paint sherds from widely separated sites in Rice and Cowley counties have been identi-
Turn to Page Three

Says Cowley Quivira Area

Continued From Page One
fied with wares produced on the Rio Grande between circa 1525 and 1650.
“As I view the archaeological evidence and its geographical setting the conviction is strong that the Quivira of the sixteenth-and early seventeenth-century Spanish documents and the central-Kansas arch[a]eological sites were the habitat of one and the same people. I cheerfully admit that the final word on the routes3 of Coronado and Onate has yet to be written. Meanwhile, and until convincing evidence to the contrary is adduced, including archaeological and ethnological4 as well as documentary data, I am of the opinion:

  • “(1) That Coronado’s entrada into the province of Quivira probably took place in the present Rice-McPherson county locality.
  • (2) That Onate’s visit to Quivira 60 years later possibly took place on the Walnut river near the present Arkansas City, Kansas.
  • (3) That while the exact limits of Quivira in Kansas cannot now be set up, the heart of the province lay north and east of the Arkansas and south of the Smoky Hill, extending from Rice, or possibly Barton, county east through McPherson and Marion counties, thence south through Harvey, Butler and Cowley counties, to or beyond the Kansas-Oklahoma state boundary.”

Dr. Wedel is a native of Newton, Kas. Some of this earlier work included research into the Pawnee Indian culture of northern Kansas and Nebraska, which is believed to be closely related to the Wichita, or Quiviran.
He has also examined the well-known Whiteford Indian burial excavations near Salina and in a footnote in the booklet just published expressed this opinion:
“Contrary to some local views, I see no evidence whatever for regarding the Whiteford burial pits east of Salina as belonging to the manifestations under discussion. The associated pottery types and earth-lodge dwellings pretty definitely align these burial with a different and earlier people probably more closely related to the pre-historic Upper Republican horizon.”
Dr. Wedel and his Smithsonian Institution party spent several weeks in the Arkansas City area during the summer of 1940, opening Indian mounds on the Country club grounds and in the Walnut valley just above the city.

End Transcript
Map of places mentioned in above article
  1. Wedel’s Smithsonian Report (pg. 322)
  2. Historical accounts’ influence on archaeology
  3. Coronado’s route interactive map
  4. Ethnography,

Etzanoa Director an Extra in Killers of the Flower Moon

Etzanoa Director an Extra in Killers of the Flower Moon

Etzanoa Director, Sandy Randel, was cast as an extra in the Killers of the Flower Moon movie adaptation currently being filmed in Tulsa, Bartlesville, Pawhuska and Fairfax, Oklahoma.

Killers of the Flower Moon is an adaptation of the book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, which is a non-fiction book authored by American journalist David Grann in 2017.

The upcoming movie adaptation is directed by Martin Scorsese and will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, John Lithgow, and Robert De Niro. The movie’s budget is over $200 million and will be released theatrically by Paramount Pictures and stream on Apple TV+ in 2022.

The story follows a Texas Ranger and a team of FBI agents as they attempt to uncover the truth behind over 24 murders. All the murders were of Osage families who had accumulated wealth from the discovery of oil on Osage Indian nation land in Oklahoma. At the time, in the 1920’s, this was the FBI’s first major homicide investigation.

For more information, see the link: Back In Time: Osage Murders – Reign of Terror – YouTube