Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




The Boxed Springs Mound site (41UR30) is one of three major Early Caddoan (ca. A.D. 900- t 200) multiple mound centers in the Sabine River basin of northeastern Texas, the others including the Jamestown (41SM54) and Hudnall-Pirtle (41RK4) sites upstream and downstream, respectively, from Boxed Springs. It is situated on a large and prominent upland ridge projection that extends from a bluff on the Sabine River about 500 m north to where the landform merges with a broader stretch of uplands and Bienville alluvium. Sediments on the site are Trep loamy fine sand, a relatively fertile soil. The site is approximately 1.6 km west of the confluence of Big Sandy Creek and the Sabine River, but the old channels, sloughs, and oxbow lakes on both sides of the upland ridge and alluvial terrace suggest that previous channels of the Sabine River as well as Big Sandy Creek ran from north to south immediately adjacent to the site.

When the Boxed Springs site was originally recorded by Sam Whiteside, an avocational archeologist from Tyler (see Walters and Haskins, this volume) in the early 1960s, it had four earthen mounds arranged around an open area or central plaza. The four mounds apparently included two low "structural" or house mounds with clay floors at the southeastern and southwestern ends of the plaza (Mounds #2 and #7 on a ca. 1962 sketch by Whiteside), one burial mound about 12 x 8 m in size and 1 m in height at the northwestern plaza edge (Mound #3), and a flat-topped mound of unknown function at the northeastern end of the plaza (Mound #6). There were borrow pits apparently visible to the east of Mound #3 and south of Mound #6, and occupation areas/midden deposits along the uplands at the southern edge of the site as well as north and northwest of Mound #3.

Some years ago, while Dr. James E. Bruseth and Dr. Timothy K. Perttula were documenting a large collection of vessels and stone tools from the Boxed Springs site, they became aware of the fact that a cremation burial with associated vessels had been dug at the site. A few years later, the cremated remains from that burial were turned over to Dr. Perttula for study. In this paper, Diane E. Wilson summarizes for the first time the results of her bioarchaeological analyses of the cremated burial. With this information now available, it seemed appropriate to provide an archaeological context--as it was known--on the cremated burial, and also summarize in one place the available information on the archaeological record from the Boxed Springs site. Key to this effort was the fact that Mark Walters provided unpublished information and notes from the 1960s archaeological investigations by Sam Whiteside at the Boxed Springs site.

Although it is a major Early Caddoan mound center, the archaeology of the Boxed Springs site is very poorly known. We hope that this paper on a cremated burial from the site, as well as a discussion of previous archaeological investigations at Boxed Springs, will rectify this situation to a certain extent, and also spur renewed professional archaeological interest in this very significant prehistoric Caddoan mound center.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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