Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




Attempting to trace Caddo Origins in Smith County and surrounding counties depends a lot on what we end up defining as Caddo. Separating the Caddo culture from previous cultures in East Texas becomes tedious when trying to fit the available archaeological record to existing models of Woodland cultures. Krieger stated that there was no evidence in East Texas of a Woodland (or Hopewellian) culture, with Mississippian culture beginning as early as 500 B.C. I mention this partly for the sake of argument, but also to point out that in this area there is not such a clearcut difference between the archaeology of Woodland and Early Caddo cultures. If Krieger is correct, it might make better sense to have a Formative phase of Caddo rather than trying to make a Woodland culture fit the transition from Archaic to Caddo.

Based on current thinking, Caddo culture developed around A.D. 800-900, based primarily on work conducted at the George C. Davis site. In Smith County there seem to be few sites that fit into what has been termed either the Formative and Early Caddo (A.D. 800-1200) periods or Alto phase sites as defi ned at the Davis site. Rather, in this area, Caddo culture reached a florescence during the following Middle Caddo (A.D. 1200-1400) time period, at least in the number and visibility of sites on the landscape. Then, for reasons that we do not fully understand, this area was apparently abandoned by prehistoric groups.

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