Texas Historical Commission
This report documents the archaeological excavation of a prehistoric, burned wattle and daub domestic structure dating between 4830–5060 BP at site 41BX256, located along the San Antonio River in Bexar County, Texas. The feature is described as a large, U-shaped mass of fired clay measuring about 2 meters (m) in diameter at a depth of 70 centimeters below the modern ground surface (cmbs). It was discovered through remote sensing and was archaeologically tested in 2006 and it was later fully excavated in 2008. Following both of these investigations, the feature was provisionally interpreted as a baked clay cooking feature. Later examination of hundreds of chunks of the baked clay revealed numerous mold impressions of sticks and twigs, leading to the speculation that the feature, since backfilled, might actually be a domestic structure constructed of wattle and daub. To investigate this possibility, archaeologists revisited the site in 2011 and re-excavated the feature and a similar, smaller clay mass located nearby. Additional surrounding units were explored, the features were excavated deeper to 90–110 cmbs, and a trench through the main feature was carefully examined and profiled. The profile exhibits distinct reddening below 70 cmbs in a pattern consistent with the interpretation of the feature as a structure. No post molds were found, but additional features were documented including three burned rock hearths. Additional samples of the baked clay were recovered and were subjected to analyses for possible lipids, starches, phytoliths, and for reconstruction of estimated firing temperatures. Multiple radiocarbon samples confirmed the Middle Archaic date. The newly recovered data support the interpretation that the feature is a burned domestic structure.
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