Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




"I had a farm in Africa," the opening line of the movie Out of Africa, always reminds me of my little farm in East Texas and what it has meant to me during the 25 years we have been associated. Owning land, particularly when you are relying on it to provide your livelihood, can be a very gratifying (and humbling) experience. Since the land and I are now enjoying a well-deserved rest, I have had time to reflect on our relationship and to wonder how people before me related to the land, especially on these upland settings. Why people choose to settle on any given landscape can be the result of a multitude of factors, environmental as well as social, political, or ideological. I know from scattered remains of tenant houses that my farm was cultivated before me at least back to the mid -19th century. While I have not conducted any formal archaeological survey of my 300 acres in Smith County, I have been observant as I have wandered around on my place. From time to time, as the surface has been exposed from farming or timber operations, I have noted artifacts indicating the presence of past occupations. I am sure as time goes on I will find other sites on my farm.

As far as the archaeology on the Walters Farm, I would like to draw attention to what I believe was a substantial prehistoric occupation by peoples with a distinctive culture with a preference for upland settings on the landscape as well as a material culture represented by Williams, Palmillas, and Rice Lobed-like points, made from exotic cherts, and ground stone tools. To distinguish this unique archaeological assemblage I am calling this prehistoric occupation at sites the Browning phase. Browning phase sites are Archaic sites that occur on upland settings usually long distances from water and have a tool kit of large well-made square, expanding, and incurving (or bifurcated) base dart points including numerous examples of Williams, Palmillas, and Rice Lobed-like points. They are made predominately of exotic chert materials. Ground stone tools are found on Browning phase sites. The number of points at some of these locations certainly indicate a major occupation or a series of seasonal occupations.

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