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Help Marble Falls Museum Put 700-Year-Old Bison Back Together Again

The Falls on the Colorado Museum has kicked off an effort to raise $12,000 to reconstruct the 700-year-old bison skeleton found in northeast Burnet County. Courtesy photo

MARBLE FALLS — The Falls on the Colorado Museum board wants to rebuild a 700-year-old bison skeleton, and they’re hoping you’ll lend a hand — well, in this case, a few dollars or more.

In June, Ryan Murray designated the museum as the bison skeleton’s caretaker. Murray found the skeleton in 2013 while fishing on Rocky Creek in the Briggs area. He spotted what he thought was a small bone and started digging, only to realize there was much more to it.

He took some small bones he discovered to the University of Texas, where experts told him he had found the remains of a female bison that roamed the area about 700 years ago. In May 2014, Murray, along with help from avocational archeologist David Calume, began excavating the remainder of the bison. By the end of the two-week excavation, a crew of eight recovered most of the skeletal remains.

Murray, at first, kept the remains, particularly the skull, in his house. His wife named the bison Rockie.

The museum has set up a Rockie exhibit, which showcases the head, humerus, and one rib bone from the mature female bison, which weighed an estimated 1,300-1,800 pounds.

According to Falls on the Colorado Museum board member Thomas Hester, a retired University of Texas archeology professor, Rockie was one of many bison that expanded into central, coastal, and even south Texas during a period of cooler weather known as the “Little Ice Age.”

The museum would like to reconstruct the entire skeleton, which would include reproducing some smaller bones that were not recovered at the dig. Officials are trying to raise $12,000 for the reconstruction and display of Rockie, which would take about two years to complete.

“Rockie is a special project for the museum because the whole town and surrounding communities can become involved,” museum chairwoman Darlene Oostermeyer said. “We already have had major interest in the reconstruction project.”

Donations may be mailed to: The Falls on the Colorado Museum, P.O. Box 1333, Marble Falls, TX 78654. The museum is a 501(c)(3) entity.

Oostermeyer also invites donors and others to stop by the museum at 2001 Broadway in Marble Falls to see the current Rockie exhibit. The museum is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Go to fallsmuseum.org or call (830) 798-2157 for more information.

editor@thepicayune.com

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