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Abstract

Between September of 1970 and February of 1971, the Texas Highway Department, now the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), carried out extensive hand and mechanical excavations at 41TV163, the Millican Bench site. The highway maintenance crew was ably directed by Frank Weir. Millican Bench represented the first archeological site excavated by the then Texas Highway Department (THD) under their archeological program. In 2001, TxDOT contracted with the Center for Archaeological Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio to provide an assessment of the documents and data and develop research topics that may be successfully pursued with the materials from the site. Based on the assessment it was determined that dependent on data types, four broad analytical units could be defined (Late Prehistoric, and Late, Middle and Early Archaic), and two diachronic and one synchronic research topic would be pursued: changes in subsistence strategies and lithic technological organization, and the evaluation of Feature 3, a possible structure noted at the site. The analysis of the faunal material from the site and comparison with other archeological collections indicates that hunter-gatherers may have pursued a broad-spectrum adaptation, even when bison were present in the region. The lithic assemblage, characterized by predominantly expedient and minimally retouched tool forms, supports this contention. The percentages of what we think are nonlocal raw materials increases through time. This increase hints at changes in the level or scope of mobility. Patterns in projectile point discard and replacement strategies suggest some premium on preventive tool replacement. Although the photographic documentation strongly supports the likelihood of Feature 3 representing a structure, we have little surviving direct data in support of this possibility. The artifactual data that we can investigate suggests, however, that the circular area may have at least represented some type of maintained space.

All artifacts retained, in consultation with the Texas Historical Commission and TxDOT, and all site documentation are permanently curated at the Center for Archaeological Research. The remains of the single skeleton recovered from the site are also permanently curated at the Center.

Licensing Statement

This is a work produced for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) by the report producer. TxDOT and the report producer jointly own all rights, title, and interest in and to all intellectual property developed under TxDOT’s contract with the report producer. The report may be cited and brief passages from this publication may be reproduced without permission provided that credit is given to both TxDOT and the report producer. Permission to reprint an entire chapter, section, figures or tables must be obtained in advance from either the Supervisor of the Archeological Studies Branch, Environmental Affairs Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701 or from the report producer.

 

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