East Texas Archeology Conference

26th Annual East Texas Archeology Conference: Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Join us for the 26th annual East Texas Archeology Conference, Saturday, February 23rd, 2019! The conference will be held at the Ornelas Activity Center at The University of Texas at Tyler from 8AM until 4:30PM. The East Texas Archaeology Conference includes speakers from across East Texas and surrounding regions, presenting the latest in archaeological research. The conference is open to the public. (Please note that you do NOT need to preregister for the ETAC conference! You can register at the event starting at 8am on Saturday! The $20 registration fee includes lunch served on site (with vegetarian options).

Keynote Speakers

We are pleased to announce the 26th annual East Texas Archeology Conference will focus on Paleoindians. We look forward to keynote presentations by Dr. Michael Waters, Dr. Michael Collins, and Dr. Amanda Evens. Join us on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 for these keynote speakers plus many more presentations highlighting archaeological research of East Texas and surrounding regions.

  • Dr. Michael Waters: Forging a New Understanding of the Late Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas
  • Dr. Michael Collins: The Earliest Texans at Gualt
  • Dr. Amanda Evans: Investigation of buried and submerged prehistoric archaeological landscapes off the Texas coast

Call for Papers

We invite you to submit a paper to the 26th Annual East Texas Archeology Conference. Please email an abstract (150 words) along with a title and the author’s names and affiliation by December 1, 2018 to either Dr. Tom Guderjan (tguderjan@uttyler.edu), Dr. E. Cory Sills (esills@uttyler.edu), Dr. Kelly Snowden (ksnowden@uttyler.edu), or Colleen Hanratty (cchanratty@gmail.com).

Past ETAC Conferences

2018 ETAC: Keynote Speakers

The ETAC is pleased to announce that our keynote speakers will include Carolyn Boyd and Kim Cox. Carolyn and Kim will discuss their work on the White Shaman Mural - which won the SAA Book Award in 2017 and is featured in the current issue of Archaeology Magazine! You can check out the book here: https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/boyd-white-shaman-mural

The ETAC is also pleased to announce Jeff Girard (Northwest Louisiana State University) will also join us as a keynote speaker! Jeff will discuss "The Discovery and Recovery of a 14th Century Dugout Canoe on the Red River." Abstract: Early in June of this year, a remarkable prehistoric dugout canoe was discovered on the banks of the Red River north of Shreveport, Louisiana. At 10.2 m (about 34 ft) in length, it is the largest yet discovered in Louisiana, and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. A radiocarbon date indicates that the canoe was constructed in the 14th century, contemporary with an extensive Caddo settlement on the east side of the river. This presentation summarizes the challenges that confronted researchers and local volunteers for extracting the canoe from the riverbank and transporting it to Texas A&M university where it now is undergoing conservation.

2018 ETAC: Program

8:00-9:00 AM Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:20 Dub Crook Difficulties in Sourcing Turquoise Using X-Ray Fluorescence

9:20-9:40 Waldo Troell, David Kelley and Jon C. Lohse A Caddo Village on the Verge of the Historic Contact Period: Archeological Data Recovery at A.S. Mann (41AN201) Site in the Upper Neches River Valley, Anderson County

9:40-10:00 Leslie Bush Long Ago and Not Very Far Away: Plant Foods and Other Plant Materials from Four Sites near Texas Toll Loop 49 Segment 3B

10:00-10:20 Coffee Break

10:20-10:40 Rachel Watson Mapping the past for the future: Louisiana’s Cultural Resources Map.

10:40:11:00 Jeffery Williams The Caddo Grass House Project at Caddo Mounds.

11:00-11:20 Charles Frederick and Arlo McKee Progress on understanding archeological site burial in sandy upland settings using single-grain OSL dating.

11:20-11:40 Tom Middlebrook The Discovery and Initial Assessment of the D’Ortolan Gristmill Site

11:40-12:00 Jeffrey M. Williams Geospatial Archaeology: LiDAR Research along El Camino Real de Los Tejas

12:00- 1:10 LUNCH SERVED ON SITE

1:10-1:20 Tom Middlebrook The Very First ETAC.

1:20 – 1:40 PM Kelley Snowden Voices from Small Places: Connecting with Communities

1:40- 2:40 PM KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Jeff Girard Discovery and Recovery of a 14th Century Dugout Canoe on the Red River

2:40-4:00 PM COFFEE BREAK

3:00-4:00 PM KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Carolyn Boyd and Kim A. Cox The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos


2018 ETAC: ABSTRACTS

The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos

Carolyn Boyd (Texas State University and Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center) and Kim A. Cox (Shumla and Maya Research Program)

The prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas and Coahuila, Mexico, created some of the most spectacularly complex, colorful, extensive, and enduring rock art of the ancient world. Perhaps the greatest of these masterpieces is the White Shaman mural, an intricate painting that spans some twenty-six feet in length and thirteen feet in height on the wall of a shallow cave overlooking the Pecos River. In their book, The White Shaman Mural, Carolyn Boyd and Kim Cox take us on a journey of discovery as they build a convincing case that the mural tells a story of the birth of the sun and the beginning of time—making it possibly the oldest pictorial creation narrative in North America.

Unlike previous scholars who have viewed the rock art as random and indecipherable, Boyd and Cox demonstrate that the White Shaman mural was intentionally composed as a visual narrative, using a graphic vocabulary of images to communicate multiple levels of meaning and function. Drawing on decades of archaeological research and analysis, as well as insights from ethnohistory and art history, they identify patterns in the imagery that equate, in stunning detail, to the mythologies of Uto-Aztecan speaking peoples, including the ancient Aztec and the present-day Huichol. This paradigm-shifting identification of core Mesoamerican beliefs in the Pecos rock art reveals that a shared ideological universe was already firmly established among foragers living in the Lower Pecos region as long as four thousand years ago.


The Discovery and Recovery of a 14th Century Dugout Canoe on the Red River

Jeff Girard (Northwestern State University of Louisiana)

Early in June of this year, a remarkable prehistoric dugout canoe was discovered on the banks of the Red River north of Shreveport, Louisiana. At 10.2 m (about 34 ft) in length, it is the largest yet discovered in Louisiana, and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. A radiocarbon date indicates that the canoe was constructed in the 14th century, contemporary with an extensive Caddo settlement on the east side of the river. This presentation summarizes the challenges that confronted researchers and local volunteers for extracting the canoe from the riverbank and transporting it to Texas A&M University where it now is undergoing conservation.


Long Ago and Not Very Far Away: Plant Foods and Other Plant Materials from Four Sites near Texas Toll Loop 49 Segment 3B

Leslie L. Bush Macrobotanical Analysis, Austin, Texas)

Analysis of plant material from Late Archaic through 18th century components at four sites in Smith County has produced both expected and unexpected results. Fuel wood assemblages are typical for the area, dominated by oaks with some hickory and a smattering of other species. Plant food remains are also generally typical for the region and the times, but some unusual specimens have been recovered. Corn peduncles (“shanks”) from 41SM416-A have been directly dated to the early 9th century. A common bean from the same site is much later, dating to the mid-18th century. A fragment of bois d’arc (Maclura pomifera) wood from 41SM446 may represent use of a non-local plant resource. A yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) seed from 41SM445, probably associated with the consumption of the Black Drink, raises the possibility that trees were transplanted from farther south or east.

Difficulties in Sourcing Turquoise Using X-Ray Fluorescence

Wilson W. “Dub” Crook, III

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis is well-suited for sourcing some archeological artifacts, such as obsidian, where geologic sources can be distinguished using a small suite of elements. However, when applied to other minerals found in archeological contexts, such as turquoise, XRF has had mixed results in trying to determine their source. As a result, researchers have tried a number of other methods to source turquoise, all of which are partially or completely destructive to the artifact being analyzed.

Recently, three turquoise artifacts, including two beads and a small pendant, have been recovered from the Branch site (41COL9) in Collin County. In an effort to source the turquoise, the author used a more complex multi-element analysis in an attempt to develop a non-destructive sourcing methodology. This talk will discuss the difficulties in sourcing a complex mineral such as turquoise using XRF and its potential for sourcing similar artifacts found in Caddo sites.

Progress on understanding archeological site burial in sandy upland settings using single-grain OSL dating.

Charles Frederick (Consulting Geoarchaeologist, Dublin Texas) and Arlo McKee (Texas Historical Commission)

Detailed single-grain optically stimulated luminescence dating of sandy East Texas upland sites on flat surfaces has provided key insights on the nature and rate of archeological site burial. In these settings, internal movement of sand by soil fauna, specifically the tossing of spoil onto the surface or bioexhumation, appears to be the dominant factor. This paper reports new observations from several sites which illustrate how bioturbation progressively overturns the soil with time. Examining both new and old datasets of both single- and multi-component sites have afforded generalizations on how deeply a site may become buried during varying lengths of time. Although these rates of burial apply to upland settings, our growing additional work have also been lending to different burial rates on other settings, such as gullies and toe slopes.

The Discovery and Initial Assessment of the D’Ortolan Gristmill Site (41NA400)

Tom Middlebrook

The discovery of a broken millstone in a streamside management zone on Mill Branch east of Lake Nacogdoches in May 2017 led to the discovery of a gristmill complex. The 1809 census of Nacogdoches noted that Bernardo D’Ortolan had a log house over a grist mill and another over a granary. Historical research and archeological investigation of the well-defined mill race and platform for a millhouse has now led to the conclusion that this mill likely served as a combined water-powered gristmill and sawmill well past the Civil War. This paper will summarize the current archeological findings at the site and comment on early milling industry in East Texas.

Voices from Small Places: Connecting with Communities

Kelley Snowden (University of Texas at Tyler)

Initiated in 2014, The Voices from Small Places project combines four different methodologies to document and preserve the history of dispersed rural communities. These methods include: photovoice, oral history, a historic resources survey, and the development of digital community collections. The history of these small communities is then made available to the communities themselves, researchers, and the public, keeping these communities alive for future generations and contributing to the larger understanding of our own heritage.

A Caddo Village on the Verge of the Historic Contact Period: Archeological Data Recovery at A.S. Mann (41AN201) Site in the Upper Neches River Valley, Anderson County

Waldo Troell (TxDOT), David Kelley (Coastal Environments) and Jon C. Lohse (Coastal Environments)

In advance of a planned highway project, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently relocated a Caddo site that was first recorded about 80 years earlier and then lost to archeologist. Under contract to TxDOT, Coastal Environments, Inc., conducted archeological data recovery to mitigate the A. S. Mann Site, within the highway right of way between May 2015 and July 2016. Preliminarily, the site appears to represent a portion of a village that was occupied by high status families associated with a much larger Caddo Community. The main occupation appears to date to the late portion of the Frankston Phase (AD 1480 – 1650) and into the early Allen Phase (AD 1650 – 1680). The investigations reveal evidence of extensive prehistoric trade networks and potential early contact and conflict with Europeans. The investigators also found large numbers of ceramic vessels and stone tools, many of which appear to be ceremonial in function.

Geospatial Archaeology: LiDAR Research along El Camino Real de Los Tejas

Jeffrey M. Williams (Stephen F. Austin State University)

A forest obscures surface features of the archaeological record; however, the analysis of LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) data provides a method of extracting forest biomass and allows for the creation of a model of the surface that is obscured by the forested environment. The model and its subsequent analysis can highlight cultural features not easily seen on the ground or in conventional aerial photography. A four return experimental LiDAR dataset has been obtained for the area encompassing portions of El Camino Real de Los Tejas National Historic Trail, the D’Ortolan Rancho house sites (41NA299 and 41NA 300), and the D’Ortolan Grist Mill site (41NA400). This culturally rich area is heavily forested thereby both protecting and obscuring the features associated with activities of this important historic complex. LiDAR is being used in conjunction with both drone and terrestrial surveys to aid in the identification of hidden archaeological features.

The Caddo Grass House Project

Jeffrey M. Williams (Stephen F. Austin State University)

A traditional Caddo grass house was built at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site near Alto, Texas during the summer of 2016. The fully functional grass house was constructed through a partnership with Caddo Nation elder Phil Cross and the Friends of Caddo Mounds. The Project included funding for a Caddo apprentice to work with Phil and the production of a documentary film that recorded the construction of the Caddo house from the identification and collection of raw materials through the final thatching. The new grass house provides Caddo Mounds State Historic Site with a tangible and visual foundation for interpreting Caddo lifestyle and culture. The Caddo house creates multiple opportunities for in-depth cultural exchange and offers supplemental historical reference of the Caddo people through the preservation and dissemination of Caddo knowledge about the skills required to gather the needed natural resources and the processes of design and construction of traditional Caddo grass houses.

Mapping the past for the future: Louisiana’s Cultural Resources Map.

Rachel Watson (Louisiana Office of Cultural Development)

This paper will outline the processes and decisions that the Louisiana Division of Archaeology made to create an effective, comprehensive GIS system that could be utilized by both professionals and the citizenry of Louisiana to help promote both progress and preservation. Furthermore, I will discuss how we handled gaps in data and converting paper files into a digital format. Finally, I will outline future endeavors to raise public awareness of Louisiana’s rich cultural history utilizing public maps, story maps, and applications for smartphones and tablets