STAA QUARTERLY MEETING
JANUARY 26, 2013
INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES
801 E. Cesar Chavez Boulevard
12:30 P.M. TO 4:00 PM
The STAA Quarterly Meeting will be held on Sat. Jan. 26, 2013, at the Institute of Texan Cultures located at 801 E. Caesar Chavez . The meeting will be held in the Connally Room on the 3rd floor. There is limited free parking in Lots 7, 8 and 9 (in front by the flag poles) and there is a city parking lot as well. The meeting schedule is as follows:
12:30 p.m. Registration; Meet and Greet
1:00 p.m. Business Meeting, Officer Elections and Awards Ceremony
1:30 p.m. Presentation by Dr. Steve Black
2:15 p.m. Presentation by Ashleigh J. Knapp
3:00 p.m. Break
3:15 p.m. Presentation by Charles Koening
Ancient Southwest Texas: Progress and Prospects
Dr. Steve Black
Texas State University-San Marcos
Abstract: Ancient Southwest Texas is an ongoing long-term research program launched in 2009 at Texas State University-San Marcos with the broad aims of: (1) improving our understanding of the prehistoric human record of southwestern Texas and adjacent northern Mexico; (2) sharing what we learn with the scholarly community and the public; and (3) training the next generation of archaeologists. Undergraduate and graduate students from Texas State and other universities have taken part in a variety of research experiences including archaeological field schools in 2010 and 2011, and a six-week field season in 2012. These experiences have been enhanced by numerous visiting and collaborating researchers. Our ongoing investigations in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands include surveys, excavations, experiments, photogrammetry, geoarchaeology, remote sensing, and lab analyses. The paper highlights the program’s research progress and prospects, including new work in Eagle Nest Canyon beginning with a field school combining dirt and rock art archaeology in June, 2013.
Earth Oven Plant Baking at the Little Sotol Site (41VV2037)
Ashleigh J. Knapp
Abstract: The Little Sotol site is an earth oven facility, and the location of repeated plant baking through much of the Archaic period. The site is located in a tributary canyon to Dead Mans Creek, a west bank tributary to lower Devils River. The site consists of a 2-meter deep burned rock midden on a low, open terrace at the mouth of two small caves. Texas State University field school students uncovered several remnant earth oven beds, charred plant materials, and lithic tools indicative of plant processing and earth oven baking. Patterns in burned rock debris and artifactual remains at Little Sotol and nearby sites are shedding light on the history of plant baking in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.
Burned Rock Middens, Settlement Patterns, and Bias in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas
Abstract: Burned rock middens (BRMs) are one of the most common archaeological features encountered in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas and Coahuila, Mexico. BRMs form from the repeated use of a single location for constructing earth ovens. Based in part upon interpretations of BRM accumulations, two models of Archaic settlement patterns have been hypothesized for the Lower Pecos: the semi-sedentary rockshelter and canyon collectors model and the nomadic foragers model. However, these two settlement pattern models have never been tested using site survey data. In order to test these two competing settlement pattern models, a new area within the Lower Pecos was surveyed: Dead Man’s Creek (a tributary to the Devils River).
Through the use of GIS, site frequency and density was analyzed using Buffer analysis to determine site patterns in relation to the Devils River. The patterns observed within the DMC data were then compared to three additional datasets: the Lower Pecos regional site data, site data from Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site, and site data from Devils River State Natural Area – North Unit (DRSNA-NU). Patterns within the frequency and density data for DMC, Seminole, and DRNSA-NU indicate that more earth oven cooking was occurring as distance away from the major rivers increased. This pattern of increased earth oven cooking away from the major river canyons conflicts with the canyon collector settlement pattern model, but there is too little site data to fully evaluate either the canyon collector or the nomadic forager models of Lower Pecos settlement pattern models. Further, the site data for the Lower Pecos is heavily biased in two ways, both of which impact settlement pattern modeling.
First, nearly all of the surveys have occurred along the major river canyons. Second, there is a recording bias towards recent sites found on the surface. Based on the analysis of the limited geoarchaeological investigations, there is the potential for buried archaeology in the three main topographic settings in the region (uplands, rockshelters, and canyon bottoms). Further, due to geomorphic processes the most common sites present on the surface date to the last 3,000 RCYBP. These two biases have severely impacted previous settlement pattern hypotheses, and until we collect additional site data from areas greater than 7 kilometers from the major rivers and conduct extensive geoarchaeological investigations, settlement pattern models will remain biased. Only through multi-disciplinary, systematic studies can data be objectively collected to test previous hypotheses and build new, better-grounded settlement pattern models for the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.