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Agency

National Science Foundation

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/ita.1967.1.1

Abstract

In 1965 several anthropologists drew up plans for a one-year pilot study of the archeology and ethnohistory of the Wichita Indian tribes. After financial support had been generously provided by the National Science Foundation, the proposed research was carried out. This is a report on the results of that study.

The pilot study was designed to: a) obtain a body of field data from the components of the Spanish Fort sites, the largest and best=documented of the historic Wichita sites in the Red River area; b) make test excavations at several other sites in order that a problem=oriented program of future research can be accurately planned; c) attempt to locate, by field reconnaissance, sites that relate to the Wichita occupation of the southern plains on both the historic and prehistoric time levels; d) make a survey of available ethnohistorical data in order (1) to compile a bibliography of documentary materials relevant to Wichita ethnohistory, (2) to make a detailed study of documents that relate specifically to the excavations being carried out at Spanish Fort and at the sites being tested, (3) to seek information that might lead to the field locations of other Wichita sites, and (4) to appraise those sources best suited for more extended examination.

The co-investigators of the project were Tyler Bastian of the Museum of the Great Plains, Robert E. Bell of The University of Oklahoma, Edward B. Jelks of Southern Methodist University, and W.W. Newcomb of the Texas Memorial Museum at The University of Texas. Bastian supervised the archeological field work in Oklahoma under the direction of Bell. Jelks directed the archeological work in Texas. Newcomb directed the ethnohistorical research. Marvin E. Tong of the Museum of the Great Plains served the project as general coordinator.

The main part of the ethnohistorical study consisted of a thorough search of the archives at The University of Texas for documents relating to Wichita ethnohistory. The archeological work included extensive excavations at the Longest Site in Oklahoma and at the Upper Tucker and Coyote Sites in Texas. More limited excavations were carried out at the Glass and Gas Plant Sites in Texas. Several other archeological sites were visited but not excavated beyond a test pit or two: the Devils Canyon and Wilson Springs Sites in Oklahoma, and the Gilbert, Stone, Vinson, and Womack Sites in Texas. An effort was also made to locate several sites in Oklahoma and Texas which were reported in historical documents but which had not been located in the field.

After the library research and the archeological field work had been completed, a brief, general report could have been prepared to satisfy our contractual obligation to the National Science Foundation. It was felt, however, that the data which had been collected would be of interest to archeologists and ethnohistorians and, if possible, it should be made available to them in some detail without delay. Consequently, a series of descriptive papers was prepared instead of a summary report. Those papers are presented here.

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