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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/.ita.2009.1.33

Abstract

Mission San Jose de los Nasonis (4JRK200) and two contemporaneous Nasoni Caddo sites (41RK191 and 41RK197) were located by Mr. Bill Young more than 25 years ago in the southern part of Rusk County, Texas after the general area of the site had been cleared of timber. The mission site covers ca. 6.6 acres of an upland ridge along a small tributary to the Angelina River; the ridge projects into the Angelina River floodplain. The topographic setting of Mission San Jose conforms in all particulars to the settings of other known mission sites established among the Caddo: small hills adjacent to a floodplain, next to a stream, with the hills "lower extensions of more extensive upland areas." Corbin also notes that these missions "were located within the area of the local dispersed Caddoan village, none of the locations are places suited to support the Indian-based community that the Spanish hoped to entice to the location."

This mission was established as one of six different missions by the Spanish in 1716 during their second attempt (the first being in 1690-1691) to establish a religious and political presence among the Caddo peoples in East Texas, specifically to minister to the Nasoni Caddo living in the area. Mission San Jose de los Nasonis ·was formally established on July 10, 1716. Father Espinosa and Captain Don Domingo Ramon, the leader of the expedition, had noted that there were many Hasinai Caddo ranchos in the general area along with arroyos of water and good places for settlement. Both Nasoni and Nacono Caddo were then living in this area of the Angelina river.

Mr. Young made those collections available for study in 2006, and this article is a summary of the Caddo ceramics in the Mission Nasonis collections. In 1990, Dr. James E. Corbin of Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU) and Dr. Kathleen Gilmore of the University of North Texas conducted limited excavations in Area A at the mission site, but these excavations have never been published. More than 930 Caddo ceramic sherds were recovered in that work, and are curated at SFASU; the separate analysis of these ceramic artifacts is underway.

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

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