Research in the Collections
by Kerri Wilhelm
Dr. Timothy Perttula, owner and cultural resources director of Archeological & Environmental Consultants and author of both The Caddo Nation (1992) and Archaeology of the Caddo (2012), is accessing TARL’s vessel collection. Citing it as one of the largest collections of intact prehistoric Caddo ceramic vessels, Dr. Perttula is documenting the vessels and their various stylistic and compositional design elements. Aside from his visits to the TARL collections over the years, Dr. Perttula has also contributed to TARL’s virtual museum, Texas Beyond History, which presents the artifacts in their proper historical and archeological context. Dr. Perttula wrote the Lake Naconiche Prehistory exhibit (http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/naconiche/index.html) with contributions from Bob Wishoff. He serves on the Smithsonian Institution’s Native American Repatriation Review Committee in addition to being an Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Specializing in Caddo ceramics and East Texas archeology, Dr. Perttula is also the tribal archeological consultant to the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma. He has produced dozens of reports and publications and with TARL’s Head of Collections is engaged in coordinating the release of these valuable texts about the archeology of East Texas and Caddo archeology.
Efficiently documenting both the intact ceramic Caddo vessels, as well as the decorated sherds, Dr. Perttula is providing valuable new inventories of the materials excavated during the WPA era. The documentation that he provides, in addition to his knowledgeable insights about the people who created these artifacts, will enrich our understanding of the Caddo, their history as a people and their continuing importance in the modern Texas cultural landscape.