Colors of the Past: Ceremonial Cave

Throughout this October for Texas Archeology Month, we’ll be releasing new coloring pages featuring some of the amazing artifacts in the TARL collections. This is a fun way for kids and adults alike to learn about prehistoric life and the archeology of Texas.

Our first featured site and collection is Ceremonial Cave! This cave site in West Texas was a special place where people left offerings over the course of more than 1,000 years. The deposits left in the cave were badly damaged by looters in the early 20th century, prompting archeologists to excavate the remaining areas of the cave. What they found remain some of the most incredible artifacts ever recorded in Texas.

Exotic materials like the turquoise in this bracelet, obsidian and abalone shell found in the cave show that some of the objects traveled a great distance before they were left as offerings. It is likely that people traveled to the cave from parts of what is now New Mexico and northern Mexico as well as from nearby villages.

Learn more about Ceremonial Cave on Texas Beyond History. 

Download the coloring page by clicking the text below:

Ceremonial Cave Coloring Page

 

Take a Hike this Texas Archeology Month

October is always beautiful in Texas, and no time is better to get outside and enjoy nature. Next time you visit your local park, try this fun family activity to learn more about prehistoric life in Texas.

The Take A Hike scavenger hunt encourages kids (of all ages) to engage with the natural world by imagining what life was like in prehistoric times. By visualizing ourselves in the shoes of people who lived here before us, we can gain an appreciation of traditional lifeways and learn to think about what people may have left behind–the clues archeologists use to piece together prehistoric cultures.

This activity comes with a worksheet for kids and a guide to help parents and educators lead a discussion. We hope you enjoy it!

Download by clicking the link below:

Take A Hike

Illustration of Native American woman gathering plant foods by Ken Brown

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.

Join us for the Texas Archeology Month Fair!

 

UPDATE: Thanks to the generous donation from the Gault School of Archaeological Research the Texas Archaeology Month Fair will be held in the Commons Learning Center again this year (the purple building in the map below). Some booths such as atlatl throwing and flintknapping will still take place outside. We look forward to celebrating Texas Archeology Month with you!

October is almost here and  TARL is planning our annual Texas Archeology Month Fair! Please join us to kick off Texas Archeology Month sponsored by the Texas Historical Commision, Council of Texas Archeologists and the Texas Archeological Society. This year’s Fair will take place on October 5, 2019. Join us on the soccer field at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in north Austin from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free, hands-on fun for all! Thanks to the collaboration of professional and avocational archeologists, this free event provides an interactive education experience on the history of Texas through archaeological displays, hands-on activities, and artifact identification. Along with artifact identification, kids and adults have the opportunity to test their skills in pottery-making, atlatl throwing, artifact reconstruction, excavation, and more! Other highlights of the fair will include flintknapping demonstrations and face-painting. In addition the fair offers information on innovating techniques in the field such as 3-D modeling and how scientific methods are utilized to preserve the rich history of Texas at nearby sites. Please come out to join us for this free event open to the public!

The event is open to all visitors and there’s something fun for everyone!

 

The Pickle Research Campus is located in north Austin near the Domain shopping center, just west of MoPac at the corner of Burnet Road and Braker Lane.

 

This year’s activities and demonstrations will include:

  • Pottery-making
  • Flintknapping
  • Atlatl and rabbit sticks (prehistoric hunting techniques)
  • Painted pebbles
  • Rock art
  • Artifact Show and Tell
  • Dance Demonstration by Great Promise for American Indians
  • Artifact Reconstruction
  • Face painting
  • Leather-Painting
  • And many more!

This year’s donors include:

 

TARL’s event partners include:

  • UT’s Anthropological Society
  • UT’s Anthropology department
  • UT’s Classics department
  • UT’s Mesoamerica Center
  • The Texas Archeological Society
  • The Texas Memorial Museum
  • Great Promise for American Indians
  • TxDOT
  • The Travis County Archeological Society
  • Texas State University’s Forensic Anthropology program
  • Texas State University’s Anthropology department
  • The Gault School of Archaeological Research
  • The Council of Texas Archeologists
  • The Texas Historical Commission
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Many individual volunteers

TARL is looking for general volunteers to assist presenters and help with set-up and clean-up. To volunteer, please email the curatorial associate, Annie Riegert at dariegert@utexas.edu

Thank you so much to our partners and sponsors, who are helping to make this event possible!

We are delighted to kick off the 2019 Texas Archeology Month. For more TAM events going on throughout October please visit:

https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/texas-archeology-month.

 

 

 

 

Join TARL and the Prehistory Research Project for our Brown Bag Speaker Series!

 

UPDATE: Scheduling update! Lectures 2 and 5 have now been switched so that Thomas J. Williams will be presenting on September 27th and Nancy Velchoff will be presenting on November 8th.  Please see the corrected schedule below. 

 

Join the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory and the Prehistory Research Project this fall to learn all about Clovis Technology. Originally associated with the earliest peoples in North America, continued research has shown that Clovis technology is a younger cultural manifestation. Despite this, it remains unique in the Americas for its geographic range and technology. Researchers from the Prehistory Research Project will present on various topics including the history of Clovis research, overshot production, regional variability, experimental reproduction, and blade technology.

 

 

All lectures will take place on Fridays from 11:30-1:30 in Portable 5A outside of TARL’s main building on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus.

Event Dates:

September 20th  Michael B. Collins

Clovis at Gault and in the Western Hemisphere

Robust data on Clovis lithic technology from the Gault site, Central Texas, and other sites suggest an improved concept of Clovis as an archeological manifestation.  Historically, fluted Clovis points have been the operative diagnostic artifact for Clovis which has given rise to interpretive limitations.  When available evidence permits, a more reliable characterization of Clovis emerges from the full technology of stone tool production, use, maintenance, and discard.  This paper will discuss Clovis technology and highlight some of the upcoming talks from the research staff at the Prehistory Research Project.

 

September 27th Thomas J. Williams

Blade manufacturing: The Other Clovis Technology

Twenty years ago, Michael Collins identified the presence of a core-and-blade industry within the Clovis technological spectrum. While now general accepted as part of Clovis stone tool manufacturing, blade and blade cores are often under researched. In contrast to the ad-hoc production of long, narrow flakes, Clovis technology demonstrates a specific production sequence to generate a series of regularized blades from prepared cores. This talk will focus on the Clovis assemblage from the Gault Archaeological Site and explore the blade cores themselves. By understanding and examining the reduction sequences, chaîne opératoire, and blade use, archaeologist can explore the larger implications of this core-and-blade industry.

October 4th  Alan M. Slade

Clovis Fluted Point Regional Variability: What’s the Point?

Clovis projectile points were long regarded as the hallmark of the first human presence in North America, although now there is considerable evidence of an ‘Older-Than-Clovis (OTC) technology present. Clovis groups spread rapidly across the continent during the end of the last Ice Age at around 11,500 14C BP / 13,300 Cal yrs leaving behind similar fluted projectile points in all 48 inland states of North America during a period of what could be as little as 250 years, going by the oldest dated Clovis site, to the youngest. As an archaeological culture Clovis portrays a range of variations in technology and the projectile point has often been the primary, if not only, diagnostic means of identifying a particular assemblage as being ‘Clovis’.

There is at present a real need for Clovis as a technological culture to be defined and until archaeologists and analysts agree on what is and what is not Clovis, there will always be a problem in definition due to the fact that some archaeologists and researchers call certain assemblages Clovis and others assign their projectiles to being ‘Clovis-like’, or in some cases assigning different culture or type such as Gainey, Ross County and St. Louis, even though they appear chronologically and technologically contemporaneous in the archaeological record.

A Clovis projectile point typology, defined by ‘stylistic variation’ may go some way in clarifying the issue. In this presentation I will identify and separate some of the variations within the projectile point assemblages from well documented and archaeologically recorded Clovis sites, some projectile points that are in private collections and selected isolated point discoveries will also be included.

November 1st  Sergio Ayala

Behavioral Perspectives on Clovis Biface Technology

 

Clovis technological behaviors orbit closely around a central design and production system but does contain variability. From both Clovis caches and Clovis sites, ovate bifaces, completed lanceolates, and refurbished lanceolates encompass a spectrum of Clovis behaviors that merit behavioral/technological analysis and experimental support. A preliminary review of examples from the broad physiographic regions of the US, the degree of observed variability, and the implications will be discussed.

 

November 8th  Nancy Velchoff M.Ph, CIG

Inventing the Clovis Bourgeois: Hyperbole and Periphery of the

 Clovis Overshot Flake

(translated)

(Most People Will Never be Great at Intentional Overshot Flaking)

Overshot flakes and scars have long been considered diagnostic of Clovis biface technology even though there were few data to support the argument. Recent debates in Clovis biface technology raised issue against assumptions countering Clovis’ use of overshot flaking was unintentional. Traditional research approach to Clovis technology often focused on finished bifaces or projectile points, and thus only provided a myopic view of the manufacturing process.  An unusual love for waste flakes inspired a very different approach through reverse engineering to address several issues, specifically the overshot flaking problem.  The Gault Site — a quarry/campsite – was the ideal case study to conduct research on Clovis biface production where hundreds of thousands of manufacturing waste flakes and nearly 500 overshot flakes were recovered from Clovis contexts.  This presentation will discuss cracking the Clovis technology code and overshot flakes and reveal unexpected behavior patterns.  These unusual flakes served a dual-purpose during reduction phases, but an even bigger surprise was discovering evidence that Clovis knappers intentionally used overshot flaking as part of their technological repertoire.

 

ARCHAEOLOGY DAY 2019 AT THE MUSEUM

On October 19, 2019, The Falls on the Colorado Museum will host its second Archeology Day program from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm.  This program will provide the public with a discussion of ongoing research in Texas archaeology.  The program will be followed by an artifact identification event (“show and tell”) during which local collectors and others can share their finds and obtain help in identifying specimens.

At 10 am, Dr. Thomas R. Hester will start program with a discussion of “Trade and  Technology: Ancient Stone Tools in Texas.”  Dr. Hester is Professor of Anthropology, emeritus, at UT-Austin, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the museum.

Following Dr. Hester will be Clint McKenzie, speaking on “Archaeology, Radiocarbon Dates and Summary of Black Vulture Rockshelter, Bandera County, Texas”.  Mr. McKenzie is working on his doctorate at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Following these two presentations, light refreshments will be available.

During the afternoon program, from 1-3:30, Dr. Hester and colleagues will help identify artifacts and discuss collections. Their only request is that large, cased collections be limited to one frame due to space.

The museum does not charge admission, but relies on donations from our visitors. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Saturday, from 10-4.  The museum is located at 2001 Broadway, Marble Falls.  Phone 830.798.2157.

Please visit our website:  www.fallsmuseum.org.  

 

 

 

CATS Corner

 

We are pleased to introduce a component of the TARL family, the
Center for Archaeological and Tropical Studies (CATS). The CATS
research facility is primarily focused in tropical Central America,
but has research interests in broader regions of the neotropics.
This interdisciplinary research unit has been operating for several
decades with a sister facility in Belize, the Programme for Belize
Archaeological Project (PfBAP).  PfBAP research has been conducted on over 60 Maya sites within the research focus defined by the nature reserve covering 260,000 acres at the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area.

While this comment serves to Introduce CATS, forthcoming
newsletters will provide specific research interests and findings
of CATS as well as ongoing research right here at CATS Corner!
Serving as Director of CATS is Dr. Fred Valdez of the Department
of Anthropology (UT-Austin) and may be reached at
fredv@austin.utexas.edu.

The Texas Archeological Research Laboratory