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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

Abstract

The Joe Meyer Estate #1 site (41SM73) is an ancestral Caddo settlement and cemetery on an upland landform west of Saline Creek, a southern-flowing tributary of the Neches River in the upper Neches River basin. In the spring of 1957 members of the East Texas Archeological Society (ETAS), including John Mulligan, Sam Whiteside, Derrell Sanders, and Jowell Proctor, had located the site and commenced excavations. The site had substantial midden deposits as well as Caddo burial features.

W. A. Davis and E. Mott Davis of The University of Texas visited the site in April 1957, took notes on the burial features and associated funerary offerings, and obtained a surface collection of artifacts. The summer of 1957, LeRoy Johnson, Jr. visited the site and obtained a surface collection as part of a broader survey of Blackburn Crossing Reservoir (now Lake Palestine) on the Neches River. In December 1957, E. Mott Davis visited the site again, at which time ETAS members had excavated two test pits (A and B) in the midden deposits.

In June 1969 George Kegley and Dan Witter returned to the site, and made a small surface collection. They also noted that at least 25 Caddo burials (some, if not all, of apparent post-A.D. 1400 age based on the finding of Poynor Engraved vessels) had been excavated in 1966-1967 in another cemetery at the site; one of the main excavators of this cemetery was William “Red” McFarland of Whitehouse, Texas, a well known East Texas digger; this same cemetery may have also been explored by Buddy Jones and ETAS members some years before, where two burials were excavated. Finally, in August 1969 and March 1970, archaeologists from Southern Methodist University (SMU) returned to the Joe Meyer Estate #1 site as part of a more intensive survey of proposed Lake Palestine. A large assemblage of ceramic sherds (n=596) was collected from the surface of the site as part of this survey. About 86 percent of the decorated sherds in this assemblage were from brushed jars, suggesting the sherds were collected from a Late Caddo occupation area, probably an occupation dating to the 17th century given the very high proportion of brushed sherds in the decorated sherd assemblage. The Joe Meyer Estate #1 site was not one of the sites selected for excavation by SMU before construction of the reservoir, likely because the site was not to be inundated by the reservoir flood pool. There have been no professional archaeological investigations at the site since 1970.

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