Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




The Sam Roberts site is a large ancestral Caddo mound center and habitation site on the floodplain of Prairie Creek, an eastward-flowing tributary to Big Cypress Creek, as well as on an upland landform south of the creek. Robert L. Turner, Jr.'s surface collections came from what he labeled Area A (in a plowed field in the floodplain) and Area B (in the uplands), several hundred meters apart. His notes with the collection also indicated that Caddo vessels had been plowed up in another cultivated field well to the east of Area A in the Prairie Creek floodplain.

The two Turner surface collection areas appear to correspond to two of the five distinct subareas (AE) identified by Thurmond. Thurmond's Area A is the same as Turner's, and Thurmond describes it as a "dense concentration or occupation debris on a floodplain rise adjacent to Prairie Creek, associated with a dark brown greasy soil. Large, dark outlines associated with concentrations of wattle-impressed daub may mark the locations of structures." Area A has a Late Caddo Titus phase component. Thurmond's Area B is the same as Turner's Area B, and this area is marked by an apparent Early or Middle Caddo settlement.

Although unnoted by Turner, there was a Late Caddo, Titus phase mound and a midden deposit about 200 m west of Area A, also in the floodplain of Prairie Creek (Thurmond's Area E). The mound (15.2 m in diameter and 1.1 min height) was built over a burned circular structure. Two radiocarbon dates on burned structural materials have median calibrated ages of A.D. 1567 and A.D. 1681; these dates, along with the brushed and brushed-punctated sherds recovered in the excavations, indicate that the Area E mound was built during Titus phase times, along with a number of other mounds in the Big Cypress Creek basin. Thurmond's Area D may be at the same location where Turner noted vessels had been plowed up; this area also has Titus phase occupational remains. Thurmond's Area Cis just east of Area B, and also represents an Early to Middle Caddo habitation area with substantial amounts of ceramic sherds. Finally, the recovery of Gary dart points from Area A indicates that there was a limited Woodland period use in this part of the Sam Roberts site.

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