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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/.ita.2011.1.34

Abstract

The Browning site (41SM195A) is located on a 3800 m2 alluvial terrace that overlooks the Auburn Creek floodplain in eastern Smith County, Texas. This setting is near the headwaters of a stream system in the Harris Creek drainage; Harris Creek meets the Sabine River ca. 34 km to the north. In the vicinity of the Browning site, the valley, being narrow with steep valley walls, offers few locations suitable for either prehistoric or historic occupations. Soils here arc Entisols; they vary in depth from 30-70 em across the landform, terminating at a sandstone C-horizon. These arc soils that formed mostly under forest vegetation and are dominantly sandy or loamy. The Browning site falls within the Pineywoods vegetation area and represents the western extent of the pine and deciduous forests of the Southeastern U.S. coastal plain.

Archaeological investigations at the Browning site have been carried out intermittingly for several years by the junior author. That work has led to the recognition that it is a stratified site with two very distinct occupations, an early to mid-19th century assemblage of historic artifacts primarily in an upper zone (0-20 em bs) overlying a buried (20-50 em bs) Late Woodland period occupation. The historic occupation is in the center of the terrace, covering approximately 500m2• The historic artifacts arc found primarily in the upper sediments, but due probably to pedoturbations, they have been found as deep as 50 em in the underlying prehistoric archaeological deposits.

Excavations at the Browning site have consisted of 41 1 x 1 m units (with a total excavated volume of 20.4 m3) and 22 shovel tests. Surface collections were obtained from the site in 1996 and 2002.

The 22 shovel tests excavated at the site were conducted first to better ascertain the limits of the site and identify areas of concentrated cultural activity; ST 4, 8-9, 12, and 19 contained 19th century historic artifacts. Once a buried prehistoric occupation zone was identified, units were placed primarily in cardinal directions to better define the occupation zone's boundaries and levels of occupational intensity, and also sample the overlying 19th century component. The I x 1 m units were excavated in arbitrary l 0 em levels and the soil was dry-screened for artifacts through I /4-inch hardware cloth except for a fine screen sample from Unit I that was water-screened through I /32-inch mesh. A level sheet was completed at the end of each level. Profiles were drawn of one wall of each unit or a common wall when several units were joined. The shovel tests followed the same procedures, except they were excavated in arbitrary 20 em levels.

One feature had four refined earthenware sherds (as well as two prehistoric artifacts) and 15 small pieces of animal bone. This was a shallow pit with a very dark grayish-brown sandy loam fill (with charcoal flecks) and a rounded bottom that was 63 em in diameter and extended from 22-29 em bs.

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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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