Oklahoma’s 200,000-year Old Mosaic Tile Floor

200k year old mosaic tile in okc

In 1969, Oklahoma City became the epicenter of a significant archaeological event. While laying the groundwork for the Northwest Expressway, construction workers stumbled upon a seemingly ancient mosaic tile floor. This discovery, nestled three feet beneath the city’s surface, was composed of hundreds of flat, diamond-shaped rocks spanning an area of about one hundred by sixty feet.

Experts were astounded by the tiles’ remarkable preservation, their careful arrangement, and the mysterious presence of Permian limestone, typically found near the coast. Initial testing suggested that this man-made artifact could be around 200,000 years old, potentially making it the oldest known human creation.

However, the discovery’s significance was disputed, with the potential impact on local development and the controversial judgment of a hired geologist contributing to a contentious debate. Today, the story of this intriguing find is largely forgotten, yet the possibility for further investigation remains, ready to reignite the interest sparked over five decades ago.

What We Know

In 1969, a surprising discovery was made in Oklahoma that sparked a contentious debate among experts, potentially reshaping our understanding of history. Construction workers unearthed what appeared to be a 200,000-year-old structure, a find that was extensively reported by The Oklahoman newspaper at the time.

The so-called “Ancient Mosaic Floor” of Oklahoma, with its enigmatic post holes, raised the possibility of rewriting not just the history of North America, but of the entire world.

According to the 1969 newspaper report, the structure found by the workers is believed to be approximately 200,000 years old. Around the globe, archaeologists and researchers have occasionally stumbled upon inexplicable discoveries, and this was no exception. The Oklahoma find, described as an expansive mosaic floor with peculiar post holes, was one such puzzling discovery.

This led to a flurry of questions and ignited a lively debate among scientists. How old was the supposed floor? Was it a product of human endeavor or a natural formation?

The alleged age of 200,000 years baffled many, with several speculations suggesting that this could be a man-made artifact. If this was indeed the case, who could have possibly crafted it? Moreover, could this intriguing floor be the last vestige of a once grand structure? These questions continue to captivate researchers, promising fascinating avenues for exploration.

Can it Really be 200,000 Years Old?

Undoubtedly, the most astonishing aspect of the structure discovered in Oklahoma is its proposed age. The question arises: How did they determine it to be 200,000 years old?

The first mentions of this remarkable discovery can be traced back to The Oklahoman, Oklahoma’s largest daily newspaper and the main news source for the Greater Oklahoma City area.

In a captivating chapter of lost history, construction workers in 1969 uncovered a structure in Oklahoma believed to be 200,000 years old. The Oklahoman documented this finding in June of that year:

“On June 27, 1969, laborers, while working on a rock shelf located on the Broadway Extension of 122nd Street between Edmond and Oklahoma City, made a discovery that sparked considerable debate among experts.”

To the untrained eye, the site resembled an intricate mosaic floor. Some experts, too, concurred with this perception. Durwood Pate, an Oklahoma City geologist, stated, “I’m confident it’s man-made, as the stones are arranged in perfect sets of parallel lines, forming a diamond shape and all oriented towards the east.”

He added, “The surface of the stones is exceptionally smooth, suggesting surface wear. The alignment is too precise to be a natural formation.”

Dr. Robert Bell, an archaeologist from the University of Oklahoma, however, viewed the find as a natural formation, seeing no evidence of any mortar-like substance. Pate contradicted this by noting some form of mud between each stone.

Delbert Smith, a geologist and president of the Oklahoma Seismograph Company, observed that the formation, found about three feet below the surface, seemed to extend over several thousand square feet.

The Tulsa World quoted Smith, “There’s no doubt about it. It was intentionally placed there, but by whom, I can’t say.”

As reported by the newspaper, Smith and Pate, an independent petroleum geologist, visited the site to study the area and collect samples. Smith later asserted, “I’m convinced that it isn’t a natural earth formation and that it is manmade.”

Three excerpts from The Lawton [Oklahoma] Constitution from the summer of 1969 further illuminate the contrasting opinions about the nature of this geological discovery at the time. Delbert Smith summarized the enigma of the tile floor in the Tulsa World of June 29, 1969:

“There’s no doubt about it. It was placed there, but I’m clueless as to who did it.” The question of the structure’s age added another layer to the mystery. While opinions on the involved geology varied, the most plausible estimate pegged the tiles as being 200,000 years old.

The Discovery of a Second Hole

200k year old mosaic tile in okc

On July 1, 1969, The Oklahoman once again reported on the discovery, this time highlighting “the unearthing of a second hole through the rock strata, found to be exactly one rod or 16.5 feet apart from the first. Pate identified the rock as Permian limestone interlaced with quartz grains.”

On July 3, The Oklahoman extended its coverage, reporting “the archaeologists’ discovery of an ancient stone hammer at the site.”

“The enigma of a dolomitic limestone formation, uncovered between Oklahoma City and Edmond, deepened with the Wednesday discovery of what seemed to be a stone hammer at the site.

Geologists, who were already intrigued by the unique formation, were baffled about the origins of both the formation and the artifact.

John M. Ware, an Oklahoma City geologist, expressed, ‘It simply transcends the realm of geology – we need the expertise of an archaeologist to provide a definitive opinion.'”

Researchers Found a Tool

Despite the intrigue surrounding the site, the geologists, as quoted in various articles, did not provide a definitive assessment regarding the age of the “floor” or the nature of the tool that they discovered. They acknowledged the unusual characteristics of the “tool” but emphasized the need for an archaeologist to investigate further.

The fate of the “stone tool” remains unknown, adding another layer of mystery to the entire episode. Suggestions for additional sources of information are highly sought after, as most of the materials available from the Oklahoma Historical Society have already been thoroughly explored.

Is it Real?

In conclusion, the true age and origin of this fascinating structure may continue to be shrouded in mystery unless a dedicated archaeologist decides to undertake the project soon. In less than three weeks, construction work will resume, transforming the site into a foodstuffs warehouse.

Another compelling aspect of this rock formation is its marine deposits, suggesting an oceanic origin. Pate noted that the 100 feet by 60 feet site is quickly gaining popularity as a tourist attraction. “People are rushing to the site and taking fragments of the rock with them,” he lamented, “We need to protect it until we can ascertain its origins.”

It appears that a few lines in old newspapers managed to generate considerable buzz around a discovery that might have been perceived differently had the age of 200,000 years not been mentioned.

Nevertheless, Oklahoma has been a trove of intriguing finds. One such example was discovered in 1912 by Frank J. Kennard in a mine in Wilburton, Oklahoma – an iron cup embedded within a piece of coal estimated to be 300 million years old. Amidst these mysteries, one thing is clear: Oklahoma continues to surprise us with its hidden treasures and echoes of the distant past.


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