Texas Archeological Society
90 th 2019 Annual Meeting 
Speakers

Public Forum Speaker is Dr. Don Wyckoff

Pondering Southern Plains Prehistory

Don G. Wyckoff 

University of Oklahoma. David Ross Boyd Professor Emeritus

 

Abstract

     For nearly a century, the area of Oklahoma, central and northern Texas, and eastern New Mexico has been a fount of paleontological and archaeological information about the evolution of mammals, the earliest presence of humans, at least 600 generations of their adaptations, and the potential origins and spread of particular tribal societies.  Despite many volumes of paleontological and archaeological information, several intriguing questions prevail regarding human prehistory on the Southern Plains.  For instance, the long record of bison hunting across the region overwhelmingly consists of sites where bison were driven up ravines and trapped and killed at nick-points or ravine heads.  Yet throughout the physiographic Plains region numerous settings offered opportunities to drive bison off cliffs or down rock-strewn slopes, but with one exception (Bonfire Shelter near the Texas-Mexico border) mass herd drives off such precipices are not reported while they abound on the Northern Plains.  Why?  A second topic of interest involves the many blue-gray to blue-black chert artifacts recovered from Oklahoma archaeological sites, particularly those of late Pleistocene and early Holocene times.  Long thought to come from late Cretaceous deposits (Georgetown/Round Rock) east of the Balcones escarpment, we now know a look-a-like chert occurs in an earlier Cretaceous formation in the northwestern margins of the Edwards Plateau.  Given this latter’s location is nearer western Oklahoma, it seems likely that the many Oklahoma artifacts have misidentified sources and thus our thoughts on trade and band movement routes are in error.  A third bewildering topic involves the origin and dispersion of Caddoan speaking people.   With Arikara villagers in South Dakota, four Pawnee bands in Nebraska, at least eight Wichita bands across Oklahoma and north Texas, and over a dozen Caddo tribes in east Texas and adjacent Louisiana in the 16th through 18th centuries, one can’t help but wonder when and from where these entities split off and eventually wound up where historically recorded.  Was there a Caddoan homeland?  Where was it?  Tangentially linked to those questions, one has to ask, “Why Spiro?”  Tucked away in the Arkoma Basin between the Ouachita Mountains and the Ozark Platea, the Spiro site was a small community center with a long cultural heritage and an unprecedented profusion of Mississippian cultural goods that came from the Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, the Gulf Coast, and even Mexico.  Why did all this exotic ritual material wind up at a place where earthworks consisted of far fewer basketloads of dirt than such Mississippian centers as Moundville, Alabama; Cahokia, Illinois and Missouri; or even the Crenshaw site in southwest Arkansas?  This presentation examines these three archaeological issues.

 

 Biography

Don G. Wyckoff

 

     Don received his B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from University of Oklahoma, and his Ph.D. in the Quaternary Studies Program at Washington State University, defending his dissertation five days before Mt. St. Helen erupted in May of 1980.  From 1962 to 1968, he was principal archaeologist for the Oklahoma River Basin Surveys of the University of Oklahoma Research Institute.  Was hired in October 1968 as the first State Archaeologist of Oklahoma, and served in that position till 1981 when he became director of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey.  In 1996 he was hired as archaeology curator for the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and as associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma.  He retired in July of 2011 as a David Ross Boyd Professor in Anthropology.  His career has changed through time, initially being mainly concerned with Caddoan prehistory but in 1985 he increasingly focused on Pleistocene and Holocene locations where information could be gathered on past environments of the ice age and afterwards and  human adaptations through those times.  Largely trained by Dr. Robert E. Bell, he has always had an interest in knappable stone sources in Oklahoma and elsewhere on the Plains.  He has been a member of the Texas Archeological Society since 1961. 

Banquet Speaker is Dr. Douglas Scott

Finding Apache and U.S. Army campsites in the Guadalupe Mountain National Park:

The Value of Systematic Metal Detecting

 

Douglas D. Scott

Adjunct Research Faculty, Colorado Mesa University

 

The Apache and U.S. Army tried to control water sources during the 1870s and early 1880s in what is now Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Recent archaeological work on several of these conflict related sites has identified differing cultural preferences for campsite locations and camp organization. The value of systematic metal detecting cannot be overestimated in finding Apache and military campsites. Coupling landscape archaeology concepts with metal detecting allowed Apache and U.S. Army African-American (Buffalo Soldier) campsites to be located and described and contrasts in land use identified.

 

Biography

 Retired in 2006 from the National Park Service after more than 30 years with the Department of the Interior. Doug was the BLM Montrose District Archaeologist from 1975 to 1983 when he transferred to the National Park Service.  His last position was as Great Plains Team Leader, Park Programs, at the Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is currently Adjunct Research Faculty at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Doug received his Ph.D. in 1977 in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has worked throughout the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain West on a variety of archaeological projects.  Doug specializes in nineteenth century military sites and forensic archaeology. He is particularly noted for his expertise in battlefield archaeology and firearms identification having worked on more than 40 battlefield sites, including the Sand Creek Massacre, and the Battles of Big Hole, Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, and Santiago de Cuba.  He was awarded the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award in 2002 for his innovative research in battlefield archaeology that started with his work at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. His 2013 book Uncovering History, on the archaeology of the Little Bighorn battle, has received several book of the year awards. Doug has also been involved with human rights and forensic investigations since the early 1990s. He has worked with the United Nations and various human rights organizations in El Salvador, Croatia, Rwanda, Cyprus, Iraq, and on an animal welfare case in Canada. In 2015 Doug was presented with the J. C. Harrington Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology for lifetime achievements in the field of historical archaeology.

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