A fragment of lace from Spiro Mounds has been placed on the list of Oklahoma's 10 most endangered artifacts.
The list of endangered items was created by a committee of the Oklahoma Cultural Heritage Trust. The Spiro lace is on of two items on the list placed in the acre of the Sam Noble Museum of natural History at the University of Oklahoma.
The other item is a collection of 1920s era organ player rolls.
The lace is a rare textile fragment unearthed from the Craig Mound at the Spiro location, known as one of the most significant ceremonial sites in the United States. The fragment dates from around 1400 AD. The site was actively used from 800 to 1450 AD.
The Top list list resulted from a competition sponsored by the Cultural Heritage Trust with the goal of bringing attention to Oklahoma’s endangered cultural heritage present in museums, libraries, and archives across the state.
The specimen was conserved by Joan S. Gardner in 1979, according to the museum's website. When she found it, the fragment was glued to a yellowed mat board. She noted that the material was too brittle to remove the glue in which it had been saturated and created a Plexiglas mount with a central cut out. The mounted portion of the specimen measures 43 by 16 cm.
According to the website: "Gardner hoped that the at some time in the future a way might be found to remove the specimen from the mat board without further damage. Today, 34 years have passed. Now is the time to re-assess the conservation needs of this exquisite artifact.
"This extremely delicate artifact is very important for its rarity and research potential. From this small piece of fabric, we can learn about an ancient artistic and technological tradition of textile production that has been largely lost to history.
According to the museum, the textile fragment consists of alternating horizontal bands of compact plain twining and single element interlacing. The compact plain twining bands serve to bind together broader bands of openwork. The two main openwork techniques are plain oblique interlacing (braiding or plaiting) and bobbin lace work. The latter includes two elements, a circular hole and a cross in circle. The fabric is blackened from oxidation or burning.
The organ player rolls weigh in at nearly 12 tons. They were made by the M.P. Moller Organ Co. in the early 20th century.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.