Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




While attempting to locate and evaluate prehistoric Caddo archaeological sites in the Dry Creek watershed, Wood County, Texas, that had been originally recorded by A. T. Jackson and M. M. Reese in 1930, the M. W. Burks site (41WD52) was discovered by James E. Bruseth and Bob D. Skiles in June 1977. The site is in the Forest Hill community, about 5 km north of Quitman, Texas, in the East Texas Pineywoods and Gulf Coastal Plain. It is on a small rise in the uplands overlooking a small intermittent drainage that is an unnamed tributary of Little Dry Creek.

The landowner, Mr. M. W. Burks, had resided in this part of Wood County since the 1920s, and recalled where A. T. Jackson and crew had spent time excavating the J. H. Reese (41WD2) site. He mentioned that while putting in a fence on his property in the early 1960s, adjacent to the property where the Reese site is located, he had found some pottery sherds in one of the post holes. Bruseth and Skiles placed a small shovel test next to this fence post hole, and a large articulated red-slipped Ripley Engraved carinated bowl was encountered at 65 em below the surface (bs) in tan sand E-horizon deposits. This find demonstrated that the Burks site contained both intact archaeological deposits as well as an apparently undisturbed Late Caddo Titus phase burial or cemetery.

Bruseth, Skiles, and Perttula followed up this work with more intensive investigations in the spring and fall of 1978. This research was carried on as an adjunct to the ongoing (and final season of) archaeological work being conducted by Bruseth and Perttula at Lake Fork Reservoir on Lake Fork Creek, a few miles to the west of the Burks site. Our purpose in carrying out archaeological research at the Burks site was to examine in more detail the spatial character of a Late Caddo Titus phase settlement, and also obtain information on the material culture remains (especially the ceramics) made and used by the Caddo peoples that lived at the Burks site some 400-500 years ago.

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