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Archaeological Studies of the Hatchel Site (41BW3) on the Red River in Bowie County, Texas
Friends of Northeast Texas Archaeology
The Hatchel site (41BW3) is a major prehistoric and protohistoric Caddo village and mound center on a natural levee deposit in the floodplain of the Red River in Bowie County, Texas. The platform mound and the main part of the associated village overlooks two channel lakes of the river; these likely were part of the channel of the river when the site was occupied by the Caddo.
The site was occupied by the Caddo from at least A.D. 1040 to the late 17th century. The earliest end of this age range is based on 2-sigma calibrated ages from radiocarbon dates obtained in the site’s village areas.
In 1691, a Spanish expedition led by Don Domingo Teran de los Rios explored the Red River area, and a detailed map was drawn of a Nasoni Caddo village that depicted a templo or temple mound at the western end of the village. That mound has been identified as the large earthen mound at the Hatchel site. The map also showed many houses, and associated outbuildings, from numerous individual compounds in the village. The village itself is believed to have extended several miles along the Red River, likely encompassing contemporaneous sites such as Eli Moores (41BW2), Paul Mitchell (41BW4), Hargrove Moores (41BW39), and Horace Cabe (41BW14). The Roseborough Lake site (41BW5) is a later Nasoni Caddo settlement that postdates the community shown on the Teran map by a generation or more.
It is known that the Hatchel site contains extensive village archaeological deposits to the south, southeast, and southwest of the main earthen mound, as well as village cemetery areas in Burial Plots 1-4. The platform mound stood at least 25 ft. in height at the time of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) work investigations. A second, and lower mound (Md. 2), stood about 3000 ft. southeast of the Hatchel Mound, in a cultivated field some distance east of one of the village areas, in what is considered the Hill Farm site (41BW169).
The WPA excavations at the Hatchel site have not been fully studied or the results fully published to date, more than 70 years after the excavations were completed. The article represents a renewed examination of the records and collections from the WPA archaeological investigations in the platform mound, and the findings concerning the construction and use of the mound contributes to a fuller understanding of the history and prehistory of the Caddo peoples that lived at the Hatchel site and other villages in the Red River valley of Northeast Texas. Only a small remnant of the platform mound remains at the Hatchel site.
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