Data recovery investigations at the Tank Destroyer site (41CV1378) were conducted in August 2007 for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This work was required because of potential impacts to the site from TxDOT’s planned improvements of Tank Destroyer Boulevard and State Highway 9. The investigations focused on a burned rock mound (Feature 1), one-half of which has been destroyed by an adjacent tank trail. The mound contained two internal features: an off-centered earth oven and a small cluster of Rabdotus sp. shells. With the exception of the location of its earth oven, the mound at the Tank Destroyer is typical of a classic central Texas domed mound, though slightly flattened by postdepositional processes.

In all, an area of 30.5 m2 and volume of 11.8 m3 of cultural deposits were hand excavated, and an additional ca. 17.3 m2 was mechanically stripped. The mound excavations yielded 5,570.5 kg of burned rocks. Artifacts recovered from mound and nonmound contexts consist of 129 chipped stone tools, 9 cores and core fragments, 4,466 pieces of unmodified debitage, 1 ground stone tool, 2 unmodified bone fragments, 1,415 Rabdotus sp. shells, and 40 historic artifacts. In addition, 413 pieces of microdebitage and 251 Rabdotus sp. shells were recovered from flotation and soil column samples taken from the mound. There was virtually no preservation of vertebrate faunal remains and poor preservation of botanical remains. No economic plants (i.e., food resources) were recovered despite the collection and processing of flotation samples. Sixteen radiocarbon assays on charred wood and Rabdotus sp. shells date the site occupation to 1500 b.c. through a.d. 1650. The date range for the diagnostic projectile points recovered from the site (200 b.c. to a.d. 1200) fits nicely within the range of radiocarbon dates. As a group, the radiocarbon dates and the projectile points suggest that the most intensive period of site use occurred intermittently between 1000 b.c. and a.d. 1200.

Like most burned rock mounds, the mound at the Tank Destroyer site consisted of a jumbled mass of burned rocks that episodically accreted around an earth oven. These processes and repeated use over centuries limit our ability to recognize distinct components for analysis. Given these limitations, our analysis took a different approach. While it includes traditional analyses of the lithic, burned rock, and snail assemblages, it also examines social identity during the Late Archaic period in central Texas and the relationships between burned rock mounds and middens and environmental variables through a landscape analysis.

Licensing Statement

This is a work for hire produced for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which owns all rights, title, and interest in and to all data and other information developed for this project under its contract with the report producer. The report may be cited and brief passages from this publication may be reproduced without permission provided that credit is given to TxDOT and the firm that produced it. Permission to reprint an entire chapter, section, figures or tables must be obtained in advance from the Supervisor of the Archeological Studies Branch, Environmental Affairs Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701.


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