FIRST IMPRESSIONS: ANGLO TRAVELERS AND THE ORIGINS OF EL PASO, TEXAS, 1846-1852

Volume 2, Article 4

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: ANGLO TRAVELERS AND THE ORIGINS OF EL PASO, TEXAS, 1846-1852

By: Mark Cioc-Ortega

ABSTRACT

El Paso del Norte was a thriving agricultural region on the Santa Fe-Chihuahua trail when the U.S.-Mexico War (1846-1848) and the 1849 gold rush turned it into a border town on the southern route to California. The diaries and letters of the Anglo-American soldiers, engineers, and gold seekers who passed through the area in the 1840s and 1850s document the emergence of a new political and economic landscape that helped define the pattern of Anglo-Mexican relations in the new town of El Paso, Texas (across the Rio Grande from El Paso del Norte), well into the next century.

Link to complete article.

A BLACK DEER AT BLACK CAVE: NEW PICTOGRAPH RADIOCARBON DATE FOR THE LOWER PECOS, TEXAS

Volume 2, Article 3

A BLACK DEER AT BLACK CAVE: NEW PICTOGRAPH RADIOCARBON DATE FOR THE LOWER PECOS, TEXAS

By: Lennon N. Bates, Amanda M. Castañeda, Carolyn E. Boyd, and Karen L. Steelman

ABSTRACT

A Pecos River style painting of a black deer from Black Cave Annex (41VV76a) in southwest Texas was radiocarbon dated. Using plasma oxidation and accelerator mass spectrometry, we obtained an age of 1465 ± 40 RCYBP (2 sigma calibrated age range of A.D. 470-660). This age is younger than the accepted age range for Pecos River style paintings, which is approximately 4000-3000 years B.P. This new measurement in association with other younger dates prompts us to question whether the Pecos River style endured for a longer time period than previously thought. More radiocarbon research is needed in order to understand how this anomalous result might fit within the Lower Pecos Canyonlands rock art chronology.

Link to complete article.

CERAMIC TYPES FROM LATE PREHISTORIC SITES ALONG THE EAST FORK OF THE TRINITY RIVER

Volume 2, Article 2

CERAMIC TYPES FROM LATE PREHISTORIC SITES ALONG THE EAST FORK OF THE TRINITY RIVER

By: Wilson W. Crook, III and Mark D. Hughston

ABSTRACT

Ceramics are one of the key diagnostic artifacts that define the Late Prehistoric culture of the peoples that lived along the East Fork of the Trinity and its tributaries. We are completing a 42-year re-evaluation of the Late Prehistoric period of the area and have studied nearly 32,000 artifacts, of which over 10,200 are ceramic sherds. From this study, 20 distinct ceramic types have been recognized. Plain ware, both shell-tempered and sandy paste/grog-tempered, are the predominant ceramic types present, comprising over 90 percent of the total ceramic assemblage. While there is little direct evidence for indigenous manufacture, the abundance of these types suggests they were produced locally. Lesser quantities of decorated ware of distinct Caddo ceramic types from the Red River and East Texas suggest they are likely the product of exchange. There is also a small amount of Puebloan material indicative of a longer distance exchange.

Link to complete article.

Special Announcement

The JTAH is pleased to announce a publishing relationship with Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).  You will find evidence of this on the website under the Publications/Special Publications Tab with new menu item for “TxDOT Special Publication 1 (2015).

The first article in this Special Publication volume is the new Peering through the Sands of Time article. It is available in both versions: iBooks for Mac computers and a standard PC version.  It is a simple click of a button download that will not require you to have an account in order for access.  Please note that several 3-D interactive images and hypertext links to additional information are included in the iBook version. Unfortunately, the PC version does not include these advanced features.

An additional note regarding JTAH “Special Publications”: articles published from governmental agencies and significant research organizations are considered “internally reviewed” prior to release for publication on the website.  Articles published integral to the JTAH annual volumes will continue to be peer reviewed. Publication of research works, such as Peering through the Sands of Time are provided to the public as a service to the archeology and history community.

TxDOT Special Publication 1 (2015): Peering Through the Sands of Time

TxDOT Special Publication 1 (2015) – Article 1

Peering Through the Sands of Time: The Archeology of the Caddo at the Kitchen Branch Site (41CP220) in East Texas

By: Mason D. Miller, M.A., Timothy K., Perttula, Ph.D., and Rachel J. Feit, M.A. with Contributions from Robert Z. Selden, Jr., Ph.D. and Chase Earles

Introduction

Beginning in 2004, archeologists working on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation conducted several phases of investigations at the Kitchen Branch site (41CP220) in northeast Texas’ Camp County. The Kitchen Branch site, situated on the northern bank of the Kitchen Branch of Prairie Creek (the site’s namesake), was located within the footprint of a proposed bridge slated for construction during expansion of FM 557 and would (within the expansion area) be destroyed as a result. For compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended) and the Antiquities Code of Texas (see sidebar on Page 7), those impacted areas were investigated and excavated in detail prior to bridge construction. While the site contained evidence of occupations that ranged from among the earliest humans in the New World through the 20th century, researchers focused on the remnants of a single-family home site attributed to the later phases of Caddo native history, the peoples who dominated the region of northeast Texas, eastern Oklahoma, northwest Louisiana, and western Arkansas from A.D. 800 through the age of European contact.

Initial excavations were conducted by Coastal Environments and Archeological and Environmental Consultants, LLC in 2004 under the direction of David B. Kelley (Coastal) and Timothy K. Perttula (AEC). Subsequent, larger-scale data recovery excavations were completed by Hicks & Company Environmental, Archeological and Planning Consultants (Hicks & Co) and AEC under the direction of James W. Karbula (Hicks & Co) and Timothy K. Perttula (AEC). Finally, analysis and final report preparation was completed by AmaTerra Environmental Inc. (AmaTerra) and AEC with Mason Miller serving as the Co-Principal Investigator with Timothy K. Perttula. Through the course of investigations and analysis, archeologists documented some 236 prehistoric features and collected roughly 20,000 artifacts, shedding light on a lesser-known period of Caddo culture in this particular area.

The results of this extensive investigation and analysis have been exhaustively discussed in the excavation’s final report entitled Archeological Investigations at the Kitchen Branch (41CP220), B.J. Horton (41CP20), and Keering (41CP21) Sites, which is publicly available through your local library. The reader is encouraged to read a copy of this work to dig deeply into the analysis and detail of the investigations and interpretations from the site. It is important that the archeological excavations, artifact analysis, and the preparation of a final report of the findings from the work at the Kitchen Branch site, provide a public benefit. We recognize that with respect to the cultural resource management investigations that were completed at the Kitchen Branch site, in accordance with both federal and state historic preservation laws (see sidebar), a public outreach component is warranted to, according to Lipe and Sebastian “ensure that the nation [or the state] could benefit, over the long-term future, from the active preservation and management of the country’s heritage of archeological and historical properties.” This electronic document represents just that: an opportunity to learn about this site in an approachable, interesting manner. In the next chapter, this electronic report will cover the basics of Caddo native history and culture, while focusing on the Titus phase in this region. From there, discussion will turn to the site excavations themselves, providing the reader with general summaries of the work conducted, the artifacts and features observed and analyzed, and general site interpretations.

Next, this report will focus on Caddo ceramic traditions, from manufacture to form and style before finally turning to the modern recreation of Titus phase ceramics found at the site by a Caddo potter from Oklahoma. From interactive images (be sure to tap away as you read and explore), photo galleries, and three-dimensional models you can explore, the authors hope that this opens up new avenues of learning about this site, the archeologist’s science, and the human history and culture preserved in the sands on this northeast Texas knoll.

Apple Computer Version: Link to full Mac .pdf version. (fully interactive)

PC Computer Version: Link to full PC .pdf version.

Apple iBooks eReader version. (fully interactive)

Android tablet/phone eReaders with Google Play accounts.

Publisher’s note: Please note this article is copyright by TxDOT.

CREVICE INTERMENTS DECONSTRUCTED

Volume 2 (2015) – Article 1

CREVICE INTERMENTS DECONSTRUCTED

By: Stephen L. Black, M. Katherine Spradley, and Michelle D. Hamilton

ABSTRACT
The discovery of two well-preserved human crania in a crevice overlooking a spring-fed creek near Austin, Texas, led to medico-legal, archeological, and bioanthropological investigations aimed at understanding the context and biological affinity of the crania. Archeological excavations uncovered no evidence that the crania were interred in the crevice during prehistoric times. Skeletal analysis showed they were of Native American ancestry. Radiocarbon dating indicated they are contemporary to one another and probably date to the seventh or eighth century A.D. Measured stable isotopic rations of carbon (13C/12C) and nitrogen (15N/14N) derived from human bone collagen samples from the crania are not consistent with other burial populations from the region, having higher nitrogen values than all other comparative samples. The crania also showed polish from repeated handling and several of the molars in one cranium had been glued in place. Taken together, these lines of evidence suggest the crania were removed from an unknown locality outside the Central Texas region, kept in a private collection, and placed in the crevice recently.

Copyright 2015. Journal of Texas Archeology and History. All rights reserved. ISSN 2334-1874