Selden (PhD, Texas A&M University, 2013) is a US Marine Corps veteran, cyclist, kayaker, backpacker, hiker, climber, fisherman and general all-around outdoor enthusiast. His research is focused at the confluence of archaeological methods and digital technology, and he is particularly interested in the application of 3D technologies to archaeological problems, geometric morphometrics, network analyses, predictive modeling, archaeological theory, and archaeological science.
In August 1994, the Center for Archaeological Research entered into a contract with the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department to provide monitoring for the Trevino Street improvements immediately to the north of San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. Previous investigations had shown that the stone-lined San Pedro acequia existed at the curb line on Main Avenue.
Monitoring was conducted as the street surface was removed and, as expected, the acequia was exposed. The location of the acequia was documented by photography and measured drawings. A plan map of the location was produced and archival research revealed the history of the channel at this location.
Personnel from Prewitt and Associates, Inc., conducted test excavations at 41HE257, a prehistoric site located in central Henderson County. This work was conducted for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Environmental Affairs Division, since part of the site is within the right of way for the southern expansion of FM 317, the Athens Loop. The work was done under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 3070 and all materials collected and records generated are curated at the Texas Archeological Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. The excavations showed that the site is shallow and contains few lithics or ceramic artifacts, limited botanical remains, no faunal remains, and only one possible rock feature. One radiocarbon assay indicates the presence of an early Late Prehistoric component. However, that component could be mixed with earlier and later materials, and definition of discrete components is not possible. As such, the site has little capacity to yield important information and is considered ineligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designation as a State Archeological Landmark.
Cultural resources management (CRM) reports represent a rapidly growing proportion of our knowledge associated with archaeological undertakings in the United States. Historically, these reports were printed in limited numbers and distributed to a few libraries and individuals, and few were distributed beyond the political boundaries of any given state. Libraries on the distribution list are reticent to allow patrons to check out these reports due to the fact that they have—and will only ever have—a single copy. Late in 2009, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) permitting guidelines for CRM reports were updated, requiring CRM contractors to submit a digital copy of a redacted (no site locations or photographs of human remains) report before their permits could be closed. These reports, the lion’s share of which were funded with public monies, were meant to be made publicly accessible and should be available.
The Index of Texas Archaeology (ITA) is your source for open access archaeological reports from projects conducted throughout the State of Texas. The digital reports can be read on the ITA site or downloaded to your computer at no cost. All authors retain, at minimum, a Creative Commons Attribution license to their work, meaning that they, and in some instances the funding agency, must be credited for original creation.
Licensing information can be found on the cover page for each report. All reports are organized by year (Volume No.), and can be accessed using the drop down menu in the right column. To begin searching for archaeological reports from your area, enter a term in the search bar or click on the Advanced Search tab at the bottom of the right column.
Click here or on the image of the front page below to read the full article.
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Using the suite of tools available to us through bepress means that the Index of Texas Archaeology (ITA) is archived in Portico, and that our content is indexed by Google, Google Scholar, CrossRef, and Altmetric. Digital object identifiers (DOIs) are being assigned to each report using CrossRef, whereby both the report and the references that each report cites—those that have a DOI—are indexed (view ITA records on CrossRef here).
In addition to CrossRef, we are also working with bepress to integrate CrossMark, which will allow readers to ensure that they are citing the most up-to-date content. Any changes in the published version will be noted in the metadata, which can be accessed by clicking on the CrossMark logo. We are also working through the process of implementing the CrossRef API to include cited-by linking, where readers will be able to view those publications that cite each of the ITA reports. This manner of increased accessibility and distribution also helps to ensure that report authors, and those authors whose work is cited in the reports, receive full credit—and accessible metrics—for their efforts, similar to their colleagues in academia.
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To visit the Index of Texas Archaeology, click here.
The excavations by Atkins at the Santa Maria Creek site (41CW104) described in the following report have succeeded in bringing together a myriad of information regarding aboriginal occupations in eastern Central Texas at the dawn of the Historic period. The analysis of the materials recovered from National Register of Historic Places testing and data recovery has demonstrated that even a site buried in sandy, bioturbated sediments can still significantly add to the archeological record. This becomes even more important for areas such as Caldwell County, Texas, which have witnessed few such investigations. The report utilized a wide array of analytical techniques to unravel the site, including extensive ethnohistorical research, artifact analysis, special studies, and experimental archeology.
While pursuing a study of 3D geometric morphometrics for ceramic burial vessels that often articulate with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) from the ancestral Caddo region, there have been no shortage of potentially meaningful observations, one of which–rotational asymmetry in coil-built vessels–is discussed in this publication. Using Geomagic Design X (reverse-engineering software) and Geomagic Control X (computer aided inspection software), metrics associated with rotational asymmetry were generated then analyzed.
Results indicate variable asymmetry among the different vessel shapes (i.e., bottles, jars, etc.), which may augment and strengthen studies and discussions of vessel form. Future directions include the incorporation of directional and–possibly–fluctuating asymmetry measures for the widest vessel profiles. Preliminary results point toward substantive analytical gains that can be used to augment more traditional ceramic analyses as well as geometric morphometric studies of ceramic vessel shape.
In addition to the analysis of rotational asymmetry, there is a brief discussion for analyses of (directional and fluctuating) asymmetry using geometric morphometrics. While the bulk of that discussion remains the topic of another paper, the citation network for asymmetry studies that use geometric morphometrics was included in this paper, and can be accessed by clicking on the image or the link below.
Link to the publication here, and view the 3D models of the Caddo vessels from the Washington Square Mound site here. Links to the digital repository where you can download these data are included in the publication.
Many thanks to the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma for the requisite permissions needed to scan the vessels, and to the Anthropology and Archaeology Laboratory for access.
Archeologists from TRC Mariah Associates Inc. of Austin conducted mitigation excavations at the Lino site (41WB437) during a six-week period in April and May 1998 under contract with the Texas Department of Transportation, Environmental Affairs Division. The prehistoric archeological site was within the right-of-way of the planned expansion of Highway 83, south of Laredo. A single 196 m2 block measuring 7m north-south by 28 m east-west was investigated following requirements of a contract that stipulated a three-pronged approach to data recovery. First, a Gradall™ was employed to carefully strip 2 to 4 cm thick layers in eight 3m wide areas within the block. Balks measuring 80 cm wide by 120 cm tall were left standing between each 3 m wide Gradall™ -stripped area. The material discovered in situ during the Gradall™ stripping was plotted using a total data station. When clusters of cultural materials were encountered during the Gradall™ stripping, these were designated as features, and a series of manual excavations in 1 by 1 m units were dug around each feature. The matrix surrounding these features was screened and in situ data recorded with the total data station. Feature matrix was collected and floated in the laboratory. A total of 124 m2 were hand excavated around 24 recognized features discovered during Gradall™ stripping. Upon reaching the target depth of 120 cm below the surface, the Gradall™ stripping ceased, having mechanically removed 187 m3 of deposits.
One trench was excavated to a length of thirty-five feet. It was oriented approximately north-south and designated Trench One. To eliminate unnecessary man hours, a backhoe initially removed the disturbed and late fill from the upper levels of the trench. Beneath the levels removed by backhoe, the trench was staked in units of five feet by five feet. Each unit was excavated by hand in arbitrary one foot levels, but the ashy soil was not screened. The elevation of a point on a concrete slab in the middle of the trench was established, using a Texas Highway Department Bench Mark as reference. Having so established a point of known elevation, corresponding levels of every unit could be kept at a constant elevation.
In addition to testing this dump, a test was made of a second area where core samples demonstrated the presence of garbage. A backhoe trench was used to expose that deposit which was determined to be from the 1940’s. No further effort was expended in that area.
A detailed analysis and study of the artifacts at this time seems inadvisable because the sample is so small in terms of the entire dump. Any attempt to utilize the data recovered in September and October 1974 would probably result in biased conclusions. Consequently, further excavation is necessary to provide a larger sample. However, in order to indicate what sort of artifact return was generated, a catalogue of artifacts prepared by Marshall Eiserer, of the Texas Highway Department Archaeology Sections, is appended.
A search for unmarked graves in the state-owned right of way and underneath the pavement of State Highway 332 resulted in the discovery and archeological excavation of 11 unmarked graves associated with Pioneer Cemetery, an African American burial ground in Brazoria, Texas. Prewitt and Associates, Inc., conducted the fieldwork for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Archeological Studies Program. Between 2008 and 2012, the 11 unmarked graves were discovered, exhumed, analyzed, and then reinterred in Pioneer Cemetery in September 2012. This report describes the bioarcheological investigations of those burials along with 3 other unmarked burials that were previously exhumed and reburied in 2003. The mortuary remains, especially the manufacturing dates on the coffin hardware, indicate that the 14 exhumed burials date to the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth centuries. Based on the osteological evidence, the deceased persons were 5 women, 2 men, 2 indeterminate adults, and 5 children. Seven of the 14 individuals display skeletal traits indicating that they are of African descent, but 2 indeterminate adults and 5 children do not. Based on historical evidence, it is likely that all 14 individuals were African Americans, and several of the older individuals may have been born into slavery. These 14 burials do not constitute a representative sample of the African Americans in Brazoria County or the town of Brazoria, but they are an interesting and historically significant burial population nonetheless. The overall health status of these people was generally good, with no evidence of abnormally high pathologies. However, skeletal remains of several older individuals exhibited evidence of various forms of degenerative joint disease indicative of lives spent doing hard labor. One adult male had an amputated leg and an iron and wooden prosthesis; it is not known if the loss of his leg was due to violence, accidental trauma, or disease. Several of the Pioneer burials exhibit traits that may represent mortuary behaviors of African origin. Three individuals had vaulted burials, with the casket or coffin located inside a shaft under a protective wooden arch. One adult female was buried with a complete whiteware saucer and a bird talon that was partially wrapped in gold plating and may have been worn as a necklace.