A 200,000 Year Old Mosaic Tile Floor Was Found In Oklahoma
In the year 2022, the world is overwhelmingly considered "explored" in the grand sense that there's nothing left to discover outside of insects and oceans, but it wasn't that long ago that new discoveries happened every day. That's how Oklahoma was once the home of the oldest man-made object in human history.
Odds are, if you think back to your schooling about the oldest things in the world you know about, the typical thoughts are going to pop into your head. The Great Wall of China... The pyramids in Egypt... Stonehenge and remnants of the Roman Empire, but these are practically the gently used cars of the ancient natural world.
In 1969, while doing the dirt work to build a new section of OKC's Northwest Highway - AKA - the Northwest Expressway - a construction crew ran across what appeared to be an ancient mosaic tile floor about three feet in the ground. Suspecting that there was more than meets the eye, they reached out to scientists to determine what it really was.
Geologists and archeologists flooded the area to do the research in determining if the greatest human discovery of natural history had just really happened. Much to their surprise, what they found was a perfectly flat mosaic floor made of strange diamond-shaped rocks that sprawled in an area of about one hundred feet by sixty feet.
In testing, the geologists were amazed how hundreds and hundreds of perfectly flat and perfectly diamond-shaped pieces of rock were found in such good condition. As the archeological dig expanded, they found holes drilled perfectly spaced to common ancient units of measurement as well as an unknown source of grout between each rock.
One of the most curious observations of this phenomenon was the type of rock that made up this formation. In testing, it turned out to be a type of oceanic limestone called Permian normally found around the coast... It stumped researchers on how it ended up in Northwest Oklahoma City.
It was determined that the mosaic tile floor was, in fact, man-made and at or about 200,000 years old. That made it the oldest man-made discovery at that point in time... but that's not the interesting part of the story.
Around that same time, our capital city of OKC was expanding. As such, roads needed to be built. Real estate developers had invested heavily in the area that the proposed Northwest Expressway would travel through. Driving it today, it's hard to notice the abundance of businesses and upper-class housing that exists along OKC's mother road.
At this point in time, the road project was put on hold for three weeks so that scientists could determine the validity of the claims. If the mosaic tile floor was actually a major discovery, the project would have halted, so the developers pushed to gain a second opinion and hired a geologist from Arizona to come out and offer his professional and scholarly opinion.
After scouring the area... examining the formation, walking around, and getting up close and personal with the 'tiles,' the hired-gun geologist determined it was a natural formation and not of any measure to human or ancient history.
His examination lasted roughly two hours.
The announcement naturally drew much ire from the community, especially those in the science field that had contrasting opinions, but officials sided with the declaration it was of no significant importance and the Northwest Expressway road project continued the next day.
Before you cry foul, keep in mind that similar rock formations have been discovered since then that are confirmed to have naturally occurred. If fact, it's a geological wonder that appears often in the oil fields of the great Texas Permian Basin. We even see similar patterns in the slick hills of the Wichita Mountains. While not flat, it's easy to see how someone could assume each stone was perfectly laid next to the others.
While the story is mostly forgotten, as the events all transpired in a two or three-week period over fifty years ago, all is not lost. If there ever is a time when scientists want to mount a new archeological dig, odds are it still exists. While bulldozers may have destroyed the original find, if it was a naturally occurring feature it should stretch for miles. It's also easy enough to detect with ground-penetrating radar... the story just has to recapture the interest it once had in the summer of 1969.