Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




European glass beads are one of the most common artifact categories found on historic Caddo sites in the middle reaches of the Sabine River basin in East Texas on what Jones had dubbed Kinsloe focus sites. Several thousands beads were found by Jones in his investigation of burial features at these sites, along with other European trade goods and Caddo ceramic vessels, pipes, and chipped stone tools.

In Jones’ description of the beads from the Kinsloe focus sites, he relied on the analytical and chronological interpretations of John Witthoft, then of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, although he did seek the advice of R. K. Harris, a notable glass beads expert who had worked on numerous historic Caddo and Wichita sites in eastern and northern Texas. Witthoft’s interpretations of the age of the beads from the sites tended to suggest that the Kinsloe focus sites dated to the early 17th century—when beads of such types tended to date in aboriginal sites in the Northeast U.S.—while Harris suggested that the glass beads on the Kinsloe focus sites dated from no earlier than the early 18th century, and likely dated in several cases after ca. A.D. 1750. Given the likely late 17th to late 18th century ages of the engraved ceramic vessels found on the Kinsloe focus sites, based in large measure on their occurrence on a wide range of Historic Caddo sites, Harris’ temporal interpretations of the glass bead assemblages are consistent with these ceramic temporal ranges, and thus the Kinsloe focus sites are seen as indicative of Caddo settlements postdating the beginning of intensive contact between Europeans and Caddo peoples that began after A.D. 1685.

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