East Texas Archeological Conference

Welcome to the East Texas Archeological Conference


We invite you to join us at the University of Texas at Tyler for the 24th annual East Texas Archeological Conference. This year's conference will be held on Saturday, April 29th, 2017.

This 2017 ETAC will feature a full day of presentations as well as a keynote speaker. Lunch will also be provided for attendees. Our keynote speaker, Justin Parkoff, will discuss TAMU's work with the U.S.S. Westfield, a northern ship scuttled in the Houston ship channel in the Civil War, and now the subject of a new exhibition.

FINAL SCHEDULE:

(See bottom of webpage for presentation abstracts.)

8:00-9:00 AM Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:20 George Avery (Stephen F. Austin State University) Preliminary Archeological Investigations at the Odom Homestead, located in Shankleville, Newton County, Texas

9:20 – 9:40 Leslie Bush (Macrobotanical Analysis) Some recent small findings regarding archaeological plants in East Texas: grass stems, bois d’arc, exported corn, and wildbeans.

9:40- 10:00 AM Wally Kingsborough.  (Sam Houston National Forest) The Interpretive Potential of Stratified Holocene Deposits.

10:00-10:20   Coffee Break

10:20-10:40 Shawn Lambert (University of Oklahoma) Ceramic Specialization, Production, and Distribution during the Formative Caddo Period: A Stylistic and Provenance Investigation of the Northern and Southern Caddo Areas.

10:40-11:00 Tom Middlebrook  Recent Investigations at the Mission Concepcion Complex in Western Nacogdoches County. 

11:00-11:20 David Glen Robinson  Petrographic Tools for Determining Nonlocal Ceramics and Looking for Source Localities: Recent Findings in Northeast Texas.

11:20-11:40 S. Alan Skinner (AR Consultants, Inc.) Are Historic Native American Sites Disappearing?

11:40-12:00 Kevin Stingley (Texas Archeological Stewards Network) and Timothy K. Perttula (Archeological & Environmental Consultants, LLC). The Woodland Period Component at the Mike Myers Site (41CE481)

12:00 -1:00 PM Lunch, served on site…Yummmm….Fuzzy’s Tacos!

1:00-1:20 Jim Tiller (Sam Houston State University) Have Those Looking for Santisima Trinidad de Salcedo Taken a Wrong Turn?

1:20-1:40 Kerry Nichols (Texas Historical Commission) Texas Historical Commission Site Reconnaissance/Monitoring Report for Jefferson Ordnance Magazine Relocation, Marion County Texas

1:40-2:00 Aaron R. Norment (Prewitt and Associates, Inc.) Excavations at the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Levi and Elizabeth Ware Plantation, Rusk County, Texas.

2:00-2:45 Colleen Hanratty, Thomas Guderjan, E. Cory Sills, and Kelley Snowden (UT Tyler) Center for Social Sciences Research: Exploration, Innovation, Education

2:45- 3:00 Coffee Break

3:00-4:00 Justin Parkoff  (Texas A&M University) "A Formidable Looking Pile Of Iron Boilers And Machinery": Reconstructing The Civil War Gunboat USS Westfield.

LOCATION:

(Please note we have a new venue for 2017! The 2017 conference is being held in the UTT Business Building - NOT the Ornelas Center. We will have directional signs posted on the UTT campus. )

University of Texas at Tyler.

First Floor of the Business Building, Room 153.

No Parking Passes will be needed on the day of the event.

Click HERE for a UTT campus map.

REGISTRATION and LUNCH:

Lunch will be provided for attendees. The cost will be $10 in advance or cash at the door. You can pay in advance via Paypal or you can mail advance payment to Maya Research Program; 1910 E SE Loop 323 #296; Tyler, Texas 75701 (All proceeds are directed to the ETAC.)

LODGING:

STAYBRIDGE SUITES is the designated ETAC hotel.

 2759 McDonald Road & SE Loop 323, Tyler, Texas 75701 903.566.1100   http://www.staybridge.com

 CONTACT INFORMATION:

Dr. Thomas H. Guderjan tguderjan@uttyler.edu  817-831-9011

Dr. Cory Sills esills@uttyler.edu

Colleen Hanratty cchanratty@gmail.com

Dr. Tim Perttula tkp4747@aol.com

2017 PRESENTATION ABSTRACTS:

Preliminary Archeological Investigations at the Odom Homestead, located in Shankleville, Newton County, Texas.

George E. Avery (Stephen F. Austin State University)

The Odom Homestead is part of Shankleville, a Freedmen’s Community, located in northern Newton County.  Several years ago, the main dwelling was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as it represented the community that developed out of the efforts of Jim and Winnie Shankle—two freed slaves—in 1867.  Cleanings of a nearby cemetery have been an annual event since 1941.  There are a substantial number of oral interviews of people who are part of the community, and the Purple Hull Pea Festival was established about three years ago to promote the story of Shankleville.  Lareatha Clay of the Shankleville Historical Society asked the Deep East Texas Archeological Society, located in Newton, to do archeological investigations around the homestead.  This presentation will describe the results of both metal detecting and two 1 x 1 meter test units.

 

Some recent small findings regarding archaeological plants in East Texas: grass stems, bois d’arc, exported corn, and wildbeans.

Leslie Bush (Macrobotanical Analysis, Manchaca, Texas)

1) Linear plant impressions in daub that have been casually referred to as “cane” (Arundinaria spp.) may represent other large-stemmed grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), eastern gammagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), or big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). 

2) Wood charcoal remains and radiocarbon dates indicate bois d’arc (Maclura pomifera) was present along Lower Bois d’Arc Creek from at least Early Caddo times.

3) Two additional sites, 41HM61 and Barnhill Shelter #3 (41CV1646), join a handful of other Late Prehistoric sites on the Edwards Plateau where evidence of corn (Zea mays), possibly from the Caddo region, has been found. 

4) Small wild legumes such as native vetches (Vicia spp.) and fuzzybeans (Strophostyles spp.) found on East Texas sites may have provided nutrition that complemented grains prior to the advent of domesticated beans (Phaseolus vulgaris).

 

Center for Social Sciences Research: Exploration, Innovation, Education.

C. Colleen Hanratty, Thomas H. Guderjan, E. Cory Sills and Kelley Snowden (University of Texas at Tyler)

The Center for Social Sciences Research (CSSR) at the University of Texas at Tyler is an interdisciplinary research center that was established to promote, enhance and facilitate social science research and related scholarly activities. The CSSR has a diverse staff with expertise in various forms of research methods and data collection. This presentation will summarize the major CSSR research programs and highlight current projects active in East Texas and abroad.

 

The Interpretive Potential of Stratified Holocene Deposits.

Wally Kingsborough.  (District Archeologist, Sam Houston National Forest.)

Investigations in the Sam Houston National Forest, beginning in 1999, has revealed a sequence of alluvial deposition coincident with human occupation during at least the Late Holocene.  To date, this context is known to occur in three depositional regimes: i) as in-fill of erosional features in the streamside face of older deposits, ii) as backfill on the terminal interfluve above stream confluences, and iii) as streamside levees.  In the cultural record, these deposits are characterized by a multimodal vertical artifact distribution (versus the standard, single-mode bioturbation distribution where deposition pre-dates occupation), and by the preservation of perishable artifacts, i.e. charcoal, shell, and bone.  It is theorized that: a) these deposits were built by episodic flooding driven by fluctuations in climate during the Holocene Period, b) that each flood preserved available charcoal, shell, and bone before exposure removed such materials from the archeological record, and c) that these materials relate specifically to the year immediately preceding the flood, and thereby provide the opportunity to date the year of the flood that buried them.  It is proposed that radiocarbon assays from multiple depths, across multiple sites should preferentially return similar dates dependent on the pan-regional, climatic timing of flood events.  It is assumed that these deposits might also preserve a palynological and/or phytolithic record, and might be subject to thermoluminescence dating.

 

Ceramic Specialization, Production, and Distribution during the Formative Caddo Period: A Stylistic and Provenance Investigation of the Northern and Southern Caddo Areas

Shawn Lambert (PhD Candidate, University of Oklahoma)

This paper explores the role of production and distribution in the development of formative Caddo ritual complexity (A.D. 850-1150) in the Arkansas River Basin by performing a stylistic analysis on 199 whole vessels as well as Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) on 264 sherds. In doing so, this project examines the production, distribution, and stylistic variation of formative Caddo finewares between 5 ceremonial centers in the northern Caddo region and 4 ceremonial centers in the southern Caddo region. While the INAA is still on going, preliminary results of the stylistic variation analysis of the designs on formative finewares has shown that the rules when composing the primary motifs or the “design grammar” are potentially even more formal than previously thought. This may suggest either (1) vessel production may be the result of a small number of potters with specialized knowledge and skills or (2) the knowledge and skills to produce these early finewares were freely shared on a regional scale among separate groups of the Caddo. Either outcome will have major implications for how archaeologists view the integration of middle-ranged communities, the origins of Caddo ritual traditions, and how emerging groups developed and interacted on the western fringes of the Eastern Woodlands.

 

Texas Historical Commission Site Reconnaissance/Monitoring Report for Jefferson Ordnance Magazine Relocation, Marion County Texas

Kerry Nichols (Texas Historical Commission)

Texas Historical Commission (THC) carried out a site reconnaissance and monitoring plan on Dec. 6-7, 2016 to assist the Historic Jefferson Foundation (HJF) in Jefferson, Marion County, Texas with a major effort to protect Civil War Period Jefferson Ordnance Magazine (JOM) from destruction due to riverbank erosion. The plan presented by HJF was to very carefully lift the JOM off the ground and move it about 25 feet further inland from the riverbank to be lowered onto a prepared concrete pad. The THC monitoring/reconnaissance plan involved systematic metal detecting, shovel testing, and sampling of displaced soil during earth-mover excavations. Three archeological components were identified to include U.S. Civil War, recent-historic, and a thin prehistoric component. Although much of the site possibly remains in primary context, an indeterminate portion appears to be disturbed due to land-modification activities. Further work is needed to determine the full extent of site disturbance and potential for intact archeological deposits.

 

Excavations at the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Levi and Elizabeth Ware Plantation, Rusk County, Texas

Aaron R. Norment (Prewitt and Associates, Inc., Austin)

Plantation studies in Texas have often focused on the large, romantic estates, because architectural and artifact preservation, coupled with access to resources for study, are two serious limiting factors. The Levi and Elizabeth Ware Plantation (41RK551), located in Rusk County just north of Tatum, Texas, provided an unusual opportunity to examine a rural Texas Antebellum-era plantation. Mining efforts proposed by the North American Coal Corporation–Sabine Mine resulted in the recording of the site in 2008, followed by testing in 2013 and data recovery excavations in 2015–2016. This paper describes the work done and the features and artifacts found. It also summarizes the results of extensive archival research, which provides context for understanding the Ware family’s place in their northeast Rusk County community in the 1850s.

 

 “A Formidable Looking Pile Of Iron Boilers And Machinery": Reconstructing The Civil War Gunboat USS Westfield

Justin Parkoff (Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, Texas A& M University)

 

"I took a look at the position of the blockading fleet and the narrow channel

 through which we had passed coming in, and I resolved, if possible to make a

thorough survey of the small channels before we sailed. We then got into the boat

and started up the bay towards the town of Galveston. My attention was first

directed to the wreck of the Westfield, a formidable looking pile of iron boilers

and machinery sticking out of the water, which marked the spot where this

ill-fated vessel came to her tragical end with some of her officers and crew a

short time previously."  

 

- William Watson, captain of Rob Roy, reflecting on his surroundings upon successfully sneaking through the Union Blockade during the American Civil War on June 2, 1864.

This presentation discusses the USS Westfield Recovery and Reconstruction Project. Westfield belonged to an unusual class of civilian vessels that the Navy converted during the American Civil War to serve in the Union's blockade of Confederate southern ports. Originally built and operated as a double-ended ferryboat, the vessel was purchased by the Navy from the New York Staten Island ferry service. Westfield served as the flagship for the West Gulf Blockading Squadron's operations along the Texas Gulf Coast. The vessel last saw action in 1863 at the Battle of Galveston where it ran aground and was blown up by its crew to keep the vessel out of Confederate hands. In 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) orchestrated Westfield's recovery in advance of their operations to deepen the Texas City Channel. Archaeologists recovered approximately 8000 artifacts during the salvage operation including a 9" smoothbore Dahlgren cannon. The USACE sent these artifacts to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University where the artifacts underwent conservation and study.

Westfield’s wooden hull completely disintegrated over one hundred and forty-six years leaving little evidence of the vessel's construction. Using the recovered artifacts in correlation with historical documentation, Texas A&M University reconstructed large parts of Westfield's steam machinery, proving that even the most fragmentary archaeological remains can be a resource if properly utilized. The collection presents a unique opportunity to examine a rare vessel class, early American steam machinery, and to answer questions about how the components individually operated.

 

Petrographic Tools for Determining Nonlocal Ceramics and Looking for Source Localities: Recent Findings in Northeast Texas

David Glen Robinson

Determining paste groups in Caddo ceramic collections has become a primary tool in identifying difference in Caddo earthenwares’ materials and technologies.  These in turn help determine issues of local/nonlocal production and trade/transport.  In northeast Texas, the ceramic paste variables of voids, tempers, rock types, minerals, and silts serve well as identifiers of meaningful variations.  Voids can be classified by shape, and tempers, especially grog, can point toward differing technical practices.  Specific simple tests, offered here, give finer breakdowns for mineral iron compounds and charcoal, quartz, and animal parts, or bioclasts.  Recent findings and ongoing work in northeast Texas are reviewed as examples of these methods in application. 

 

Are Historic Native American Sites Disappearing?

S. Alan Skinner (AR Consultants, Inc.)

Before NEPA and the TAC were enacted, avocational archaeologists frequently stumbled upon and reported interesting historic Native American sites. These sites were often found in plowed fields or on the riverbanks in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Along with these, they also found hundreds of prehistoric sites.

Since 1970, the number of historic Native American sites reported has plummeted to almost zero. Meanwhile, historic European sites (ranging in dates from the 1600s to the 1800s) and hundreds of prehistoric sites have been recorded and investigated. What is the cause of this disparity? From land use changes to fewer avocational archaeologists to European-introduced diseases, this presentation will explore various topics that could account for such a drop in the number of historic Native American sites that have been found in the last five decades.

 

The Woodland Period Component at the Mike Myers Site (41CE481)

Kevin Stingley (Texas Archeological Stewards Network, Rusk, Texas and Timothy K. Perttula (Archeological & Environmental Consultants, LLC, Austin)

The Mike Myers site (41CE481) is located in the Bowles Creek valley in the Neches River basin in East Texas. The site includes recognized components of Late Archaic, early and late Woodland, Middle Caddo, and Historic Caddo period times. The site was located and recorded in February 2016, by TASN steward Kevin Stingley. Additional testing of the site was resumed in October 2016. The archaeological investigations include a surface collection, some 65 shovel tests, and three 1 x 1 m units. The testing was highlighted by the discovery of two Lake Borgne Incised ceramic sherds, an early Woodland period Tchefuncte culture ware, along with associated artifacts. This paper examines the scope and context of Woodland/Mossy Grove Culture, Early Caddo, and Late Caddo ceramic sherds and artifacts and their relationship at the Mike Myers site.

 

Have Those Looking for Santisima Trinidad de Salcedo Taken a Wrong Turn?

Jim Tiller (Professor of Geography, Sam Houston State University)

What if, as it approached the Trinity River from the west, the Old Spanish Road (OSR) maintained its trajectory to the southeast, passed through the community of Midway and crossed the river, not at Robbins Crossing or even along the large eastern bend of the river just downstream, but between Negro Creek and the Eastham Reservoir? Such might change the area of interest for those searching for Salcedo, but is there any basis in the record for such thinking? In this presentation, period evidence will be presented and comments offered suggesting that perhaps those searching for Salcedo/Trinidad might take a look at the northeast-southwest trending ridge upon which the Eastham Prison Farm facilities are located.

Maps, citations, and text of speculative comments provided as handouts.

 

POSTER

Preliminary Analysis of Asymmetry in Caddo Ceramics: A Case Study from the Washington Square Mound Site

Robert Z. Selden Jr. (Center for Regional Heritage Research, Stephen F. Austin State University)

While pursuing a study of geometric morphometrics for ceramic burial vessels that often articulate with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) from the ancestral Caddo region, there have been no shortage of potentially meaningful observations, a few of which—those associated with rotational, directional, and fluctuating asymmetry—are discussed here. Using Geomagic Design X (reverse-engineering software) and Geomagic Control X (inspection software), metrics associated with rotational symmetry were generated and analyzed. Directional and fluctuating asymmetry measures of the widest vessel profiles were generated in Design X and analyzed using thegeomorph package in R. Preliminary results point toward gainful results that can be used to augment more traditional ceramic analyses as well as geometric morphometric studies of ceramic vessel shape.