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Abstract

The U.S. Army occupations at Fort McKavett from 1853 until 1859 and from 1868 until 1883 were part of Texas's frontier defense. During the Civil War and from 1883 until the present, civilians have inhabited and used the fort buildings, creating the small town of Fort McKavett. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department developed part of the town as a state historical park, restoring this property to its appearance during the second military occupation. Archeological investigations at the park between 1978 and 1990 focused on recovering architectural data and artifacts to support restoration, stabilization, and interpretation of the military occupations. The archeological work varied from surface collection to large-scale excavations, the latter generally confined to Officers' Quarters 4, but the most common approach was limited testing in building foundations and suspected architectural features. Work took place in 16 structures. Most of the archeological work focused on officers' quarters, although a few enlisted mens' barracks and other buildings also were tested. Relatively few temporally diagnostic artifacts were recovered in the vicinity of walls, fireplaces, and other architectural features, and only sparse military and military-period artifacts were found. The 372 military and military-period artifacts recovered from the post-1977 work at Fort McKavett and described in this report represent less than 0.01 percent of the total artifact assemblage and likely represent only a small proportion of the trash generated by the military occupations. Much of that trash probably was disposed of and possibly burned off-site or, if on-site, in pit latrines or other deep features not excavated during the 1978-1990 work. Military conduct, discipline, and policing may have functioned in keeping public spaces at this frontier military fort relatively litter free and thus artifact poor.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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