Category Archives: Uncategorized

TARL TAM 2020 Lecture Series: Careless, Spiny & Succulent

This October for Texas Archeology Month, TARL is offering a series of online lectures, free and open to all. Our second lecture (“A Trade-Friendly Environment”) included unpublished data and the recording will be shared when our speaker clears this with his co-authors. The third lecture took place on October 27 and is available for viewing below.

Dr. Casey Wayne Riggs, Steward with the Texas Archeological Stewards Network and farmer at Pasigono Farms in Lamesa, Texas, presented recent research from his doctoral dissertation, completed at Texas A&M University.

Careless, Spiny, and Succulent: Terminal Late Prehistoric (A.D. 1250-1535) Plant Foods of the Eastern Trans-Pecos

In this talk, Dr. Riggs discusses nine sites in the eastern Trans-Pecos region that have occupations dating to the Terminal Late Prehistoric/Perdiz point time period and have evidence of plant foods. Investigation of these archeological plant food remains made it possible to reconstruct the inhabitants’ diet and look at which were the most likely important foods. Dr. Riggs explains how his new research changes our understanding for the region and the time period.

Clovis In Kentucky: The Little River Clovis Complex

Dr. Alan Slade of the Prehistory Research Project and Gault School of Archaeological Research recorded this talk for the 2020 Festival of Lithics: Lithics Studies Society Online Conference, and we’re sharing it today as part of the our digital outreach program for Texas Archeology Month 2020.

Check out this amazing new collection, collected from Little River Complex Clovis sites in Kentucky beginning in the 1970s and recently moved to TARL for curation.

Clovis in Kentucky: The Little River Clovis Complex: A Recent Acquisition for the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin

Colors of the Past: Mission Espiritu Santo

This week’s new coloring page features items from the Espiritu Santo Mission in Goliad county, Texas. This site has been excavated by several different projects from the 1930s to 2000s, and the artifacts recovered tell the story of a transitional time in Texas’ history. The mission was established by Spanish colonists as they attempted to stake their claim to the territory that would be come Texas, and convert native inhabitants into Christians who practiced a more European way of life.

The Mission Espiritu Santo collection includes objects of European and Mexican origin, such as ceramics, metal tools and ornaments, and glass trade beads. It also includes items that were used by the native Aranama people as they continued to conduct traditional activities, such as grinding stones, locally made pottery, and stone projectile points.

Learn more about Mission Espiritu Santo on Texas Beyond History

Download the coloring page by clicking the text below:

Espiritu Santo Coloring Page

TARL TAM 2020 Lecture Series: Peopling of the Americas and the Origins of Agriculture

This October for Texas Archeology Month, TARL is offering a series of online lectures, free and open to all. Our first lecture took place on October 15 and is available for viewing below.

Dr. Andrew Somerville, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Iowa State University, presented on his recent research.

Peopling of the Americas and the Origins of Agriculture: New Insights on Old Questions from the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico

The Tehuacan Valley of Central Mexico is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its high biodiversity and rich archaeological record. During the 1960s, excavations led by Richard S. MacNeish registered over 10,000 years of human occupation within the valley and discovered thousands preserved botanical remains, including early examples of domesticated plants such as maize, beans, and chili peppers. Recent studies have returned to the collections recovered by MacNeish and apply new analytical techniques to further our understanding of the ancient history of this region. In particular, stable isotope analysis of animal bones documents significant environmental and dietary changes over time. Additionally, new radiocarbon analyses reveal surprisingly early dates and cause us to reevaluate the timing of the arrival of humans to the region and to North American more broadly. This presentation summarizes these recent findings and discusses their implications to questions about the peopling of the Americas and the origins of agriculture.

 

 

We have three more talks scheduled for this month. The first two will be streamed live over Zoom and all three will be posted here for future viewing.

October 22: Dr. Adam Schneider of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder, will present “A Trade-Friendly Environment: Climatic Influences on Early Bronze Age Maritime Trade Between the Near East and Indus Valley” 

October 27: Dr. Casey Wayne Riggs, Steward with the Texas Archeological Stewards Network, will present “Careless, Spiny, and Succulent: Terminal Late Prehistoric (A.D. 1250-1535) Plant Foods of the Eastern Trans-Pecos

October 29: Alan Slade of the Prehistory Research Project (Gault School of Archeological Research) will present a pre-recorded talk, “Clovis Points in Texas: A Further Update to the TCPPS, 4th Edition

Colors of the Past: Ransom & Sarah Williams Farmstead

This week we’re featuring a new coloring page with artifacts from a fantastic historic archeological site. The Ransom and Sarah Williams Farmstead near Austin was home to a family of previously enslaved farmers during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. Excavated by a joint project between UT, TxDOT, and two private firms from 2007-2009, the Ransom Williams collection provides an in-depth view into the lives of previously enslaved Texans. More than 26,000 artifacts were recovered during this project, which also included historic records research and oral history interviews with descendants.

The artifacts represent a wide range of activities, from the farming and homestead activities that supported the family to their education and leisure preferences. Overall they paint a picture of a hardworking family that was able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Learn more about the Ransom and Sarah Williams Farmstead

collection on Texas Beyond History

Download the coloring page by clicking the text below:

Ransom Williams Coloring Page

Colors of the Past: Hunter’s Pouch from Horseshoe Ranch Cave

This week’s new coloring page features one of the most spectacular finds in the history of Texas archeology: a woven pouch found with more than 200 unique artifacts still contained inside. The pouch was found by archeologists working in Horseshoe Ranch Cave in West Texas in 1936. They found the pouch wrapped in a larger bundle of woven matting and rabbit fur, and removed it to the lab in Austin to be opened there.

The contents of the pouch appear to be the toolkit of a hunter, healer, or shaman, with various types of tools, toolmaking gear, and special objects. These objects were made and used by an indigenous inhabitant of the area more than 4,000 years ago!

Learn more about the Hunter’s Pouch on Texas Beyond History. 

Download the coloring page by clicking the text below:

Hunter’s Pouch Coloring Page

 

 

2020 Texas Archeology Month Preperations

 

October 10th from 10 AM to 2 PM at the JJ Pickle Research Campus of UT Austin. 

TAM FAIR UPDATE 

The Texas Archeology Month Fair scheduled for October 10th 2020 is canceled due to concerns around the pandemic. In lieu of the fair, TARL is releasing a series of archeology-related content to be released on a rolling basis through the entire month of October. While we are saddened that we can not host the in-person fair, we are delighted to be able to celebrate the rich history of Texas all month long! Virtual content will include a variety of archeological related coloring books, virtual story time for kids hosted by BookPeople, Texas Archeology activities in your own backyard, videos highlighting TARL’s collections and research opportunities, and virtual brown bag discussions led by professional archeologists in our community. To end the celebration of archeology month, we will be hosting a virtual pumpkin carving competition on Halloween! Something is available for archeology enthusiasts of all ages!

For four years, we have had the great pleasure of hosting the Texas Archeology Month Fair. A variety of organizations, institutions and companies have contributed interactive experiences through an assortment of archaeological displays and hands-on activities.  In celebration of the fifth year since the fair’s re-institution in 2016, we are bringing Austin an even bigger and better opportunity to engage with the history of Texas. Building on the successes of previous fairs, the 2020 fair will provide even greater opportunities for participation from the local Texas archeological community. At no cost to participate, this is an ideal opportunity for your organization to reach the public as an exhibitor or for your firm to donate in support of their outreach goals. Donations of just $100-$200 would go far in establishing the TARL Fair fund. Through contributions we will address the limitations from years past. We will secure stronger advertisement targeting our public audience and provide more appealing amenities. Among our already 26 confirmed exhibitors, we are delighted to announce new involvement from the Buffalo Soldiers and the larger Austin community with a classic Austinite array of food trucks. This extension of the fair is expected to attract a larger audience than previously reached in the fair’s recent history.

Update Summer 2020:

Along with our community, TARL has had to adjust in the current crisis and like our ancestors we adapt. Amidst these events we are still looking forward and in the deference of limited time for planning we are sharing our preparation progress and future plans for the 2020 Texas Archeology Month Fair. While we are planning for future normalcy we will continue to adjust with the ongoing situation. A contingency plan is already being formed in the event that the current COVID-19 crisis is still limiting public gatherings in the fall. In such a case, donors will be given the option of a reimbursement or the option for the funds to be retained for use in the following 2021 TAM fair. The TARL Fair fund is yet another way in which we are securing the future of the Fair as any contributions will be retained with the sole purpose of use in the future fair.  Our greatest commitment is to promote preservation and public edification of the great Texas archeological legacy. It would be our pleasure if you would join us in that endeavor.

Here at TARL we think Texas archaeology is a big deal. So please, help us celebrate archeology the Texas way!

The fair is free and open to the public. Tables and chairs will be provided for the exhibitors. More details will be provided over the next couple of months. For more information or inquiries into participation, please contact Annie Riegert at dariegert@utexas.edu and Clark Wernecke at Clark.Wernecke@austin.utexas.edu.

 

 

In Memory of John Wilburn Clark, Jr.

By Wendy Clark

Historical archeologist John Wilburn Clark, Jr. passed away on Sunday, May 24th. He was seventy-six years old.

A lifelong Austin, Texas resident, John initially went to the University of Texas at Austin to refine his artistic skills. However, after venturing on a field trip with an anthropology professor, he soon developed a lifelong passion for anthropology and archeology and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology. He later attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas and became a Registered Professional Archeologist. His knowledge base was expansive, enabling him to identify historical architectural styles, ceramics, and other artefacts. Though his interest in archeology was broad and spanned continents, he further specialized in Texas historical archeology and contributed extensively to current understanding of Spanish Colonial and Texas history. His work has been used to preserve and protect numerous historical sites.

Among his publications and contributions were: Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo: Archaeological Investigations, December 1974, 1978; La Reina Norteña: History and Archaeology of San Jose Mission, 1980; “Historical Antecedents Beyond the Texas Border” in A Texas Legacy, the Old San Antonio Road and the Caminos Reales, 1998; and many others. He was a contributor to such journals as the Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society, and regularly wrote extensive reports for the Texas Department of Transportation.

John’s passion for history and archaeology took him to many places, including Mexico, where he met his wife of forty-two years. A dedicated husband and father, John supported his wife and children throughout his life. He was also a doting grandfather who delighted in and encouraged his granddaughter’s artistic skills.

John is survived by his wife, Gloria Clark; three children, Wendy Clark, Ellen Dass, and Ashley Balcom; one grandchild, Aislyn; and a sister, Linda Clark.

Donations in memory of John W. Clark, Jr. can be made to the Texas Archeological Research Lab (TARL), at the University of Texas at Austin. Online donations can be made using the link https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/utgiving/online/nlogon/?menu=LA**&source=LWE. Be sure to select TARL from the drop-down menu. Use the blank to enter John’s name and use the “special information” to indicate Friends’ Group. Mail-in donations can be sent to TARL, 1 University Station, R7500, Austin, Texas 78712 and indicate on your check in memory of John W. Clark, Jr.

Abstract for a Special Brown Bag Jan. 17th!

The Carl Yahnig Little River Clovis Collection:

A Recent Acquisition for GSAR

 

Alan M. Slade and Mike B. Collins

 

In December 2019 the GSAR and TARL (Texas Archeological Research Laboratory) were fortunate to acquire on a three-year loan, a remarkable Clovis assemblage. Over a period of more than 40 years, Carl Yahnig has collected artifacts from around his property and surrounding area in Christian County, Kentucky. The collection of nearly 20,000 pieces that include stone tools and debitage are from a complex of Clovis single-component workshop sites that lie in southwestern Kentucky; the Adams site (Sanders 1990), and a series of five other workshops, Ezell, Roeder, Boyd-Ledford, Brame, and Brinnon (Yahnig all known as the Little River Clovis Complex (Figure. 1).

Figure.1 Location of the Sites in Christian County, Kentucky. (photo C. Yahnig)

The lithic raw material that the assemblage is made on is predominantly a local variety of Ste. Genevieve chert (> 90 %,), the rest of the artefacts are made on are Dover chert from Tennessee, and an unknown unnamed local chert. The six workshop sites are spaced 1-2 km apart along the course of the Little River. Other Clovis artifacts occur downstream from these sites and are evidence of further Clovis occupation (Gramly and Yahnig 1991). Each of Mr. Yahnig’s workshop sites has in its assemblage a complete Clovis manufacturing sequence, from primary flakes struck from the toolstone nodule through to late-phase fluted preform / early-phase completed fluted point, which we believe are comparatively rare in North America. Other Clovis manufacturing workshops are present in the archeological record, such as Thunderbird (Gardner 1977) and Williamson (Peck 1981) in Virginia, Carson-Conn-Short in Tennessee (Broster and Norton 1993) and Ready-Lincoln in Illinois (Morrow 1995). The Little River Clovis collection represents the only complete manufacturing sequence from Clovis Paleoindian sites made on predominantly one lithic raw material. Although surface-collected, Mr. Yahnig has collected every worked piece of stone he recovered; therefore, this collection has an extensive representation of the debitage that is associated with the tool manufacture, allowing for the possibility of re-fitting sequences. In fact, Mr. Yahnig has already previously recorded several conjoining artifacts, one example was two sections of a late-phase Clovis fluted preform found several yards away from one another and recovered five years apart (C Yahnig pers. comm. December 2019).

The authors of this paper and staff at GSAR and TARL would like to thank Mr. Carl Yahnig for his generous loan and for the opportunity to study this remarkable collection.

Figure 2a and Figure 2b A sample of Clovis artifacts from the Adams site in Kentucky. (photo C. Yahnig 2009)

 

References

Broster, J.B., and M.R. Norton. 1993 The Carson-Conn-Short site (40BN190): an extensive Clovis habitation in Benton County, Tennessee. Current Research in the Pleistocene 10: 3-4.

Gramly, M.R., and C. Yahnig. 1991 The Adams Site (15CH90) and the Little River, Christian County, Kentucky, Clovis Workshop Complex. Southeastern Archaeology 10: 134-145.

Morrow, J.E. 1995 Clovis Point Manufacture: A Perspective from the Ready / Lincoln Hills Site in Jersey County, Illinois. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 20 (2): 167-191.

Sanders, T.N. 1990 Adams: The Manufacturing of Flaked Stone Tools at a Paleoindian Site in Western Kentucky Persimmon Press, Buffalo, New York.

Yahnig, C. 2009 My One Hundred and One Artifacts from the Little River Clovis Complex from Christian County, Kentucky. Hynek Printing, Richland Center, Wisconsin.

2019 Texas Archeology Month Fair

Much thanks to all who participated and attended the 2019 Texas Archeology Month Fair! With the help of 78 student volunteers and our local professional and avocational archeologists, TARL was able to hold another successful Texas Archeology Month Fair!  This year’s fair was attended by 303 guests who were able to visit representatives from 22 different museums, archaeological organizations, and student groups. These groups had booths with a wide array of activities including atlatl throwing, ochre painting, multiple show and tell displays, flintknapping, interactive dance demonstrations, and much more! Much gratitude also goes to our generous donors including the Council of Texas Archeologists, the Texas Historical Commission, the Travis County Archaeological Society, AR Consultants, and the Gault School of Archaeological Research.

 

Check out some of the highlights from the fair below! (Photos courtesy of Tom Williams, Gault School of Archaeological Research)

 

      

Great Promise for American Indians conducted a dance demonstration and pulled the crowd in to learn a snake dance.


Christopher Ringstaff, Sergio Ayala, and Robert Lassen demonstrate flintknapping.


Student volunteers show fair attendees how to use the Atlatl.

Keva  Boardman  shows  our  younger  attendees  how  to  paint  with fat  and  ochre.

  Kenneth Headrick discusses real artifacts vs. reproductions.