East Texas Archeological Conference

Welcome to the East Texas Archeological Conference !


 

22nd East Texas Archeological Conference

February 14, 2015

Ornelas Activity Center; 3402 Old Omen Rd. (Click here for map)

University of Texas at Tyler campus.

9 AM until 4 PM.  Admission is $10 at the door.


Conference Sponsors:

Center for Social Sciences Research, University of Texas at Tyler

Beta Analytic

 

Schedule

 

8:30                 Registration begins.

 

9AM:              Welcome

 

9:10-9:30         Mano a Mano:  East Fork Ground Stone Artifacts

Wilson W. Crook, III

 

9:30-9:50         Alluvial Geoarchaeology in the Lower Red River Floodplain, Northwest Louisiana

Jeffrey S. Girard

 

9:50-10:10       Archeological Survey of Camp Tyler                                                                                            Kevin Austin

 

10:10-10:30     The Application of 3D Laser Scanning of Ceramic Sherds to Understand Site Formation Processes at the Murvaul Creek Caddo Site

Arlo McKee

 

10:30-10:45     Coffee break

 

10:45-11:05     A New Immersive Museum Experience at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site Inspires Increased Visitor Engagement

Anthony Souther and Rachel Galan

 

11:05-11:25     The Red River's "Great Raft": How the geography and destiny of East Texas and its peoples were shaped by a log jam...

Bob Vernon

 

11:25-11:45     The Texas Historical Commission and the Rediscovery of Timber

                        Hill (41MR211)

Kerry Nichols

 

11:45-1:00       Lunch

 

1:00-1:20         Oral Interviews of People from Sabine, San Augustine, and Nacogdoches County

George Avery and Connie Hodges

 

1:20-1:40         Three Women Who Inspired Tejas: New Discoveries in Nacogdoches County Archeology

Tom Middlebrook

 

1:40-2:00         Recent Investigations at the Loco Fork Site - 41NA183

Ronald Coleman and Tom Middlebrook

 

2:00-2:20         How the Ji’kmaqn Came to Spiro: A Possible New Addition to the Inventory of Sound-Making Instruments Depicted in the Spiro Shell Engravings

                        Jim Rees

 

2:20-2:40         Rotational Symmetry and Coil-Built Ceramics: Preliminary Results

                        Robert Z. Selden Jr.

 

2:40-2:50         Coffee break

 

2:50-3:10         Constructing the Caddo Grass-Thatched House

                        Phil Cross

 

3:10-3:30         South American Style Fishtail Points in Texas—What’s Up with This?

Michael B. Collins and Sergio J. Ayala

               

3:30-4:00         Digital Interpretation of Cultural Heritage: A Question of Value

Bob Warden

 

 

 

 

Abstracts

 

 

Kevin Austin (The University of Texas at Tyler)

Archeological Survey of Camp Tyler                                                                                   

 

During the 2013-20144 academic year, the University of Texas-Tyler faculty and students undertook an archeological survey of Camp Tyler on the shores of Lake Tyler. This is the first of a planned ongoing series of field efforts involving the Center for Social Sciences Research. Several sites were located and practical experience was made available to students.

 

 

George Avery (Center for Regional Heritage Research, Stephen F. Austin State University) and Connie Hodges (Center for Regional Heritage Research, Stephen F. Austin State University)

Oral Interviews of People from Sabine, San Augustine, and Nacogdoches County

 

This project was funded by El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, 1680-1845. This time frame includes American Indians as the dominant group early on, with the Spanish and French sharing power in the 1700s, and finally the non-Spanish Europeans—primarily Anglo-Americans—rising in the 1800s. There were free African Americans at this time, but many were slaves. Connie Hodges and George Avery conducted an oral interview survey of mostly older people in the Sabine, San Augustine, and Nacogdoches County areas. The hope was to get a sense of the world as it existed in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s by talking to people who had experienced it.  We tried to focus on all manual pre-1845 behavior such as cotton processing and quilting, and what was done before there was electricity and indoor plumbing. We also asked if the people knew of any archeological sites. This presentation will share a portion of the results of the survey.

 

 

Ronald Coleman (East Texas Archeological Society) and Tom Middlebrook (Texas Archeological Stewardship Network)

Recent Investigations at the Loco Fork Site (41NA183)

 

In January 1986, Tom Middlebrook and his then five-year-old son discovered the Loco Fork site (41NA183) on the Middlebrook farm in northwestern Nacogdoches County, Texas.  Subsequently, Middlebrook and members of the East Texas Archeological Society conducted several surface collections, and excavated eight shovel tests and two 1 x 1 m square units between 1986 and 1996.  The ceramic artifacts from these endeavors were analyzed by Shawn Marceaux and discussed in his May 2011 University of Texas Ph.D. dissertation. Marceaux concluded that the Loco Fork assemblage was very similar to that found at the Spradley site (41NA206) of his Historic Caddo Nacogdoche Cluster.  Chet Walker of Archaeo-Geophysical Associates conducted a magnetometer survey of a 45 x 30 m section of the site in early February 2014.  Coleman and Middlebrook set up a 5 x 5 m Block 1 over a large magnetometer anomaly observed in Walker’s data.  This paper will present preliminary data from the first 12 1 x 1 m units within Block 1.

 

 

 

Michael B. Collins and Sergio J. Ayala (Texas State University &

Gault School of Archaeological Research)

South American Style Fishtail Points in Texas—What’s Up with This?

 

In about 1938 Bob Turner found a large stemmed projectile point in far northeastern Nacogdoches County near Attoyac Bayou and the Shelby County line.  He marked the find spot on a soils map.  Among the several professional and avocational archaeologists knowledgeable about northeastern Texas prehistory we have consulted, this piece is enigmatic. Here we present our interpretation that it is a classic Fishtail point of the kind found widely in South and Central America and dating to ca. 13,000 Cal years BP.  This would be the second such point to be recently documented in Texas and raises the possibility that there may be more such items than have gone unrecognized and unreported.  If identification of the two Texas finds is correct, it also raises specific questions about when and how these two objects came to be found here as well as broad questions about the cultural-historical milieu in which their movements occurred.

 

 

Wilson W. Crook, III (Houston Archeological Society)

Mano a Mano:  East Fork Ground Stone Artifacts

 

Manos and metates were the basic food grinding tools used by aboriginal Americans until the early 1900s when pre-milled flour became readily available. The presence of ground stone tools in archeological sites has traditionally been associated with the processing of plant materials for food. In particular, ground stone tools have been linked to Late Prehistoric period sites where dependence on maize and other cultigens increased. However, ethnographic studies have shown that manos and metates were used to process a wide range of other materials including salt, clay and temper for ceramics, pigments, and even for hide softening.

 

Recently, a detailed study has been conducted on the 145 known ground stone tools from Late Prehistoric period sites along the East Fork of the Trinity River and its tributaries. The study included an analysis of grinding surface area, microscopic examination of wear patterns on both manos and metates, and X-Ray Fluorescence trace element analysis of selected artifacts for evidence of pigment processing. Using the East Fork material as an example, this presentation summarizes results of the analysis and demonstrates how much information can be obtained from a study of ground stone tools.

 

 

Phil Cross (Caddo Nation of Oklahoma)

Constructing the Caddo Grass-Thatched House

 

The construction of the iconic Caddo Indian beehive-shaped grass-thatched house is discussed in this presentation. Current Caddo house building projects underway will be discussed and will include the difficulties and issues for collecting the materials for the planned structures. Also discussed will be alternative types of grass thatching materials used and the possible processing of materials using stone tools.

 

 

 

 

Jeffrey S. Girard (Northwestern State University of Louisiana)

Alluvial Geoarchaeology in the Lower Red River Floodplain, Northwest Louisiana

 

The lower Red River floodplain is a highly dynamic aggrading geomorphological system characterized by high sediment load, recurring flooding, frequent channel shifts, rapid alluvial deposition, bank caving, and a distinct process of channel blockage known as rafting.  The active nature of the landscape has had profound implications for human settlement and land use strategies.  Differential surface exposure and burial of sites pose challenges for archaeological research.  An ongoing study in Northwest Louisiana involves surface reconnaissance, geological mapping, and study of historic maps to further understanding of the formation and dissolution of late prehistoric dispersed Caddo floodplain villages.

 

 

Arlo McKee (Consulting Geoarcheologist)

The Application of 3D Laser Scanning of Ceramic Sherds to Understand Site Formation Processes at the Murvaul Creek Caddo Site

 

Data recovery excavations at the Murvaul Creek Site (41PN175), located in Panola County, Texas, recovered a ceramic assemblage that was contained within both colluvial deposits and a buried soil.  Although the site is situated on the edge of a relatively flat sandy upland, the colluvial deposits on the site suggested that slope processes played a significant role in the burial and preservation of the site.  However, it was not readily apparent from the macroscopic analysis of the collection whether artifacts in the colluvium were redeposited through slope processes or whether they were moved through the profile through bioturbation.  A 3D laser scanning study was conducted in order to help identify the degree of micro-abrasion on sherd edges.  This study ultimately proved useful for identifying the portion of the collection that had been redeposited on the site rather than being in primary context.

 

 

Tom Middlebrook (Texas Archeological Stewardship Network)

Three Women Who Inspired Tejas: New Discoveries in Nacogdoches County Archeology

 

Three women became icons that inspired the Spanish colonial understanding of “Tejas”, the Caddo peoples of the Angelina and Neches valleys that gave their name to the Spanish province, and eventually, to our State.  This paper explores the underlying stories and legends of these women: Maria de Agreda, Angelina and Guadalupe.  Recent archeological findings at the Gallant farm sites and three Nacogdoches area sites may be related to these women or their name.   

 

 

Kerry Nichols (Texas Historical Commission)

The Texas Historical Commission and the Rediscovery of Timber Hill (41MR211)

 

The historical record offers only brief references to the village of Sha’chahdinnih (Timber Hill) as the last Caddo settlement in the traditional Caddo homeland. Unfortunately, not long after its abandonment in the early 1840’s, its true location was lost to historians. In 1998, the combined efforts of archival and field researchers succeeded in locating a site believed to be Timber Hill.  In the interest of confirming the identity and significance of the site, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) conducted test excavations in 1999 with volunteers and stewards of the Texas Archeological Stewardship Network. These excavations established that the site was most likely the Timber Hill settlement and that further research was needed. To this end, THC is currently working with the new landowner to continue research at Timber Hill in an effort to define the site extent and map settlement components.

 

 

Jim Rees (Arkansas Archaeological Survey)

How the Ji’kmaqn Came to Spiro: A Possible New Addition to the Inventory of Sound-Making Instruments Depicted in the Spiro Shell Engravings

 

While doing research on turtle shell rattles, I stumbled onto a photograph of a rare and unusual idiophone whose exact likeness appears twice in one of the engraved shell images from the Spiro site.  This presentation describes the instrument and the Spiro image and discusses how an instrument currently found only in the Maritime Provinces of Canada may have come to be portrayed on a marine shell cup found at Spiro.

 

 

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

Rotational Symmetry and Coil-Built Ceramics: Preliminary Results

 

During the course of our recent foray into 3D geometric morphometrics, the topic of rotational symmetry became increasingly important. What’s more, understanding that a section (or profile) of a coil-built ceramic vessel cannot—in most cases—be mirrored or revolved to accurately represent the entirety of a ceramic vessel is important. In this analysis of rotational symmetry, 3D data for Caddo NAGPRA vessels from the Washington Square Mound site (41NA49) were modeled in Design X by identifying the widest section of the vessel, creating a mesh sketch of that section, then revolving it 360-degrees around a central vector. These data were subsequently exported to Verify to calculate the deviation between the 3D mesh and the modeled surface. Once complete, results are organized by fine and utility wares with the hope of exploring whether fine wares are more symmetrical than utility wares. Derived from the biological notion that symmetry correlates with attractiveness, studies of vessel symmetry may further archaeological dialogues concerned with perceived value, providing further insight into ceramic economy, craft specialization, and ceramic technological organization.

 

 

Anthony Souther and Rachel Galan (Caddo Mounds State Historic Site)

A New Immersive Museum Experience at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site Inspires Increased Visitor Engagement

 

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site protects and interprets a unique Texas and Caddo legacy—the remains of a large village and ceremonial center built by the ancestors of today’s Caddo people. It was established 1,200 years ago on the prairie overlooking the Neches River. The historic El Camino Real de los Tejas runs through the site and its traces can still be seen today.

 

The site has been studied since the 1930s. In 1939 and 1940, archeologists excavated the High Temple Mound. In 1968-1970, additional excavations were conducted on the Burial Mound, the Low Platform Mound and the surrounding village. Through these excavations, the significance of the site was revealed, and in 1974 the site was acquired by the state for the citizens of Texas. In 1982, the site opened to the public as a State Historic Site.

 

In 2008, the site was transferred to the Texas Historical Commission and planning began for the expansion and renovation of the existing visitors center and improvements to the exhibits. In March 2013, the visitors center was closed to the public so the renovation project could begin. The $1.7 million project included extensive renovation and expansion of the visitors center to provide an improved visitor experience.

 

The expanded exhibit gallery contains all new, more immersive and interactive exhibits and a new orientation video. This new hands-on environment provides and engaging backdrop for new site education and interpretive programs. 

 

 

Bob Vernon (Texas Archeological Steward Network)

The Red River's "Great Raft": How the geography and destiny of East Texas and its peoples were shaped by a log jam...

 

The geography of East Texas -- and the destinies and development of its prehistoric and historic cultures -- were shaped by "The Great Raft", a huge, mobile log jam on the Red River.  Annual floods, adding timber to the head of the "Raft", and decay at its downstream end, caused the 100 mile-long raft to "migrate" upstream like a slowly moving freight train. Controlled by the position of the Raft's head, the river bypassed the Raft by flowing across its floodplains, first on the east, and then on the west -- driving Caddo Indians from their villages, and forming numerous lakes, of which, Caddo Lake and a few others remain. The elevated water level in Big Cypress Bayou made steamboat access to Jefferson practical.  Extensive graphics will illustrate the Raft's effects and "action over time", and emphasis will be placed on “Sha’chadinnih (Timber Hill)”, reported last refuge of the Caddo people forced from the floodplain. 

 

 

Bob Warden (Center for Heritage Conservation, Texas A&M University)

Digital Interpretation of Cultural Heritage: A Question of Value

 

After more than 30 years of ever increasing digital interpretation of our cultural heritage it is time to ask whether we are better off now than we were.  This presentation will explore the growth of digital tools for interpreting cultural heritage through 2d drawing and 3d models and raise questions about the value of this growth on our understanding of our heritage. 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 For more information on conference arrangements, contact Dr. Thomas Guderjan: guderjan@gmail.com.