Texas Historical Commission




The third and final season of Phase III data recovery at Lake Alan Henry (formerly Justiceburg Reservoir), located on the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River in Garza and Kent counties, Texas, was conducted during the fall of 1992. The work consisted of intensive archeological investigations at one historic site and four prehistoric sites. Subsequent to the Season 3 data recovery fieldwork, a newly discovered rock art site (41KTl64) was documented. The historic component at 41GR474 consists of a dugout depression and the ruins of a wood frame house and related complex of ranching structures. It was the homestead of Jeff Justice, Sr., who platted the community of Justiceburg in 1910. The Justice family lived in the dugout from 1900-1907. Excavations revealed a typical Plains-style half dugout with upper walls of native sandstone, a roof superstructure of juniper logs, and a sandstone fireplace. Artifacts and features on and near the floor include items from the dugout occupation period, but most represent a short episode (ca. 1907-1910) of reuse as a multifunctional workshop. Numerous artifacts in the upper fill are typical of early twentieth-centnry household debris and indicate use of the abandoned dugout for trash disposal. The Sam Wahl site (41GR29l) yielded an isolated secondary, cairn-covered interment of an adult male radiocarbon dated to A.D. 240-400. The early occupation period, A.D. 600-1050, is interpreted as a seasonal residential base related to the procurement, processing, and storage of plant foods; it may represent the Palo Duro complex. It is characterized by a pithouse, storage pits, hearths/baking pits, bedrock mortars, and an abundance of ground stones. The late occupation period, A.D. 1150-1400, lacks the distinctive features of the earlier period. A decrease in the number of ground stones and an increase in arrow point frequency may indicate a shift toward a hunting-oriented subsistence. Two occupation periods recognized at the Cat Hollow site (41GR303B) approximate those at the Sam Wahl site. The Late Prehistoric 1 period is characterized by baking pits and an abundance of scattered burned rocks, apparently representing use of the site as a specialized plant processing area. The upper deposits, dating to the latter part of the Late Prehistoric 1 period or the early Late Prehistoric II period, lack evidence for intensive plant processing, and increases in some classes of chipped stone tools indicate an increased emphasis on hunting. Two completely excavated rockshelters yielded evidence of Late Prehistoric and Protohistoric occupations. Boren Shelter #1 (41GR546), only 12 m2, yielded few artifacts and three stone-lined hearths, one radiocarbon dated to ca. A.D. 1643. The site saw ephemeral use during the Protohistoric period. Boren Shelter #2 (41GR559), with a sheltered area of 30 m2, contained sparse artifacts and numerous hearths; a midden area in front of the shelter contained a number of clusters of animal bones. The deposits inside the shelter can be separated into two periods of occupation, A.D. 0-1000 and A.D. 1000-1300, during which the site was used infrequently as a short-term campsite. The deposits in front of the shelter, with a single radiocarbon date of A.D. 1500-1660, reflect use of the site as a hunting camp/processing location during the Protohistoric period. Collectively, these sites indicate that significant cultural changes took place around A.D. 1100, when people at the Sam Wahl and Cat Hollow sites changed their economic strategies. The Lake Alan Henry data correspond with other regional archeological data, and there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the Late Prehistoric 1 period (ca. A.D. 1-1100) was radically different from the Late Prehistoric II period (ca. A.D. 1100-1541). Intensive utilization of plant resources seems to characterize the occupations prior to A.D. 1100. Archeological evidence indicates that after A.D. 1100, subsistence strategies shifted away from intensive plant utilization toward more broad-based foraging with a greater emphasis on hunting. This change in subsistence strategies probably was related to regional climatic changes.

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