Preliminary Review by Elton Prewitt
Thank you to all the TAS members who attended the field school at the Stallings Site, 41LR297, near Paris.
Those who chose not attend this year — for whatever reason — missed a great time and some outstandingly good archeology.
Artifacts were once again abundant — Gary dart points of all sizes, Catahoula, Keota, and Ray arrow points, Red River pipe fragments (both stems and bowls), Williams Plain and a variety of other ceramics including both Caddo and Lower Mississippian wares, daub, quartz flakes, several pitted handstones placed adjacent to post molds, and a couple of large grinding slabs come to mind quickly.
Features included pits, a burned sandstone cluster, dark middens, and two distinctly different kinds — and levels — of post molds. The upper level post molds generally had bits of charcoal in them while the lower level (roughly 6 to 8 cm lower in recognition elevation) lacked charcoal. Several overlapping circular Caddo houses (ca. 8 to 12-m diameter) and associated extra-mural structures may be represented by the upper level post molds. Two large rectangular Woodland Period houses (roughly 8-m wide by 22 m long) appear to be represented by the lower level post molds. (This is my interpretation, not Alan's — I'll let him decide whether this has merit after he has time to analyze the data we collected.)
PI Alan Skinner, assisted by Jimmy Smith, Margaret Howard, and myself, oversaw 15 crew chiefs and their crews for a week of fun and learning about Woodland Period (locally, Fourche Maline) archeology. Doug Boyd and Neal Stilly once again did a great job with the children's excavations where they found artifacts, charred corn, and features that this year included at least one post mold. The survey crew supervised by Shane Prochow concentrated on finding nearby local lithic resources that could have been used by the inhabitants of the Stallings Site. Lab director May Schmidt, site secretary Jonelle Miller-Chapman, and photographers Bonnie McKee and Doug Taylor and all their assistants somehow managed to keep up with the frenetic pace of activities — I'm sure May and her crew will be more than happy to have any of you volunteer to help finish the artifact processing if you happen to visit Austin in the near future.
Coach Gene and Ruth Ann Stallings and their family once again proved to be gracious hosts; they not only visited the excavations daily, but took part in the work along with their grandchildren. We all enjoyed the cookies and punch at their lovely home Friday afternoon after excavations were closed.
The local arrangements provided by Rick and June Proctor, and all the other Valley of the Caddo Archeological Society members, helped make this field school a success. The City of Paris and Lamar County chambers of commerce provided considerable assistance, including a billboard advertising the field school and TAS. Thanks to the Texas Historical Commission for providing a total station and operator, Jeff Durst, for the entire week.
I personally want to thank all of you who took part in field school — I know that by Friday each of you were coming to understand Tom Middlebrook's comment about "the grumpy guy" because I was constantly roaming the excavations with clipboards and oversized site plan urging you to get the units down where we could start recognizing features, but to not go so fast that we missed any post molds or pits. You all did a great job, and took my prodding in good humor.
I look forward to Alan's report on the two field schools at the Stallings Site — it should be quite interesting, and whatever the results, I think we should all be pleased to have taken part in the work.
— Elton R. Prewitt
This summary is a slightly expanded version of the statistics I compiled for the Friday evening wrap-up in Paris. The unit summary by year includes the Valley of the Caddo Archeological Society (VOCAS) and Texas Historical Commission work prior to the Texas Archeological Society excavations in 2005. I have added a few more details about potential house patterns. Artifact counts for numbers of dart and arrow points and the various ceramics types are not yet available.
Preliminary House Pattern Summary:
30 lower level post molds containing moderately dark fill, but with two exceptions (both under the edge of the dark midden of House 1, and probably representing central ridge support posts) they lack charcoal in the fill; these potentially represent two rectangular Fourche Maline (Woodland Period) houses, each oriented NW-SE and parallel to the other, being 16 m apart:
House 1: 24 post molds, 22 wall and 2 interior (possibly 4 additional wall/exterior posts not recorded as post molds; 5 blank 1x1 cells where post molds should have been encountered); dimensions are ca. 9 m (29.5 ft) wide by 22 m (72 ft) long; interior midden-filled pit (the small midden listed in the feature summary above).
House 2: 6 post molds, all wall (1 blank 1x1 cell); dimensions are ca. 9 m (29.5 ft) wide by unknown length (minimum 16 m, but probably 22 m).
These house summaries are extremely preliminary, and are made without benefit of detailed analysis. The two Fourche Maline rectangular house patterns are remarkably similar in size to the one (30 ft by 90 ft) reported by Ray Wood at the Powell Site in Arkansas (Don Wyckoff, personal communication). I have not yet had the opportunity to compare post mold patterns to see if they share other construction similarities.
Great job at this year's field school, TAS! See you next year at Menard!
— Elton R. Prewitt
We have finished washing all artifacts and thanks to Carol Macaulay and Joann Carpenter all the field records have been copied.
The soil samples brought to Austin after Field School have been logged in and transferred to Prewitt & Associates for flotation. Alan Skinner delivered more soil samples last week when he picked up field record copies. These samples are drying out and being logged in and will be delivered to the Prewitt office shortly.
Cataloging has begun on the artifacts.
The following individuals have worked more than 140 hours since Field School: Ron Ralph, May and Jim Schmidt, Elliot Richmond, Pat Hatten, Carolyn Spock, Laura Nightengale, Steven Schooler, Jonelle Miller-Chapman (who is also completing organization of the Red River Field School paperwork), Charlotte Harrison, Ken Headrick, Kay Clarke, Pat Jones, Joann Carpenter, Carol Macaulay
And just a reminder, if you have paperwork, etc. out there, please send it on in to me at TARL — thanks!
— May Schmidt, August 2, 2006
The following TAS members have contributed more than 420 hours in lab work since Field School 2006: Jim Schmidt, Jonelle Miller-Chapman, May Schmidt, JoAnn Carpener, Leslie Bush, Ron Ralph, Pat Hatten, Elliot Richmond, Carolyn Spock, Laura Nightengale, Steven Schooler, Charlotte Harrison, Ken Headrick, Carol Macaulay, Pat Jones and Kay Clarke. Jonelle's hours include working on the Red River Field School paperwork.
All the artifacts from the Field School have been processed. The flotation has been concluded (thank you Hicks and Company for your hospitality!).
We still need to finish artifacts collected in September. Work is at TARL.
— May Schmidt, December 05, 2006