Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




The Peterson Ranch site (41HS253) is a late 17th to early 18th century Caddo cemetery in the Little Cypress Creek basin in the East Texas Pineywoods. The cemetery, on Gray’s Creek, was found and excavated in 1962 by a number of collectors from the Marshall, Texas, area. In 1963 the cemetery area was destroyed by the construction of an oil well pad.

Most of the collectors kept cursory notes on their excavations at the site, which consisted of plan maps showing the orientation of the burial pits, the human remains in the graves, and the location and kinds of some of the funerary offerings placed in the grave to accompany the deceased to the House of Death in the Sky. Fray Casanas commented in 1691 that the Caddo buried “their dead with all their arms and utensils which each possesses.” The kinds of items placed in Caddo burials, especially the vessels—since they are by far the most common burial offerings—can provide unique insights into how different Caddo groups treated the dead, and what such differences may mean regarding diverse view on life and death among contemporaneous Caddo groups.

The information on the cemetery excavations and burial offerings from the Peterson Ranch site has been reconstructed from notes and drawings on file at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin (TARL). To my knowledge, the funerary offerings from the burials at the site have not been documented by a professional archaeologist, and it is presently unknown what the current provenience(s) of the collections are.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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