Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




1980s and early 1990s excavations at the Henry M. site (41NA60) on Bayou Loco in the Angelina River basin exposed a well-preserved Historic Caddo midden deposit that partially overlapped a ca. 8.8 m circular Caddo structure (apparently rebuilt to some extent) marked by a variety of cultural features and stains, including two central posts from sequent structure use. There is a probable storage platform or arbor just outside the north wall of the structure. The Patton Engraved sherds in the recovered ceramic assemblage, the two gunflints, and one European glass bead suggests that the Henry M. site was occupied by a Caddo group in the late 17th century. Given that Caddo wood structures would probably only last at most 20 years before they begin to deteriorate (see Good 1982:69), available feature evidence suggests that the houses and midden deposit were created over a ca. 20-40 year period, at most, by one or two Caddo families that lived at the site year-round. Sherd midden accumulation rates suggest that the occupation may have lasted less than 10 years.

Recovered archaeological materials from the site are representative of Historic Caddo Allen phase domestic activities, including food processing, cooking, and serving foods, hunting, and animal procurement and trash disposal. Maize and other plant foods were grown at the site during the occupation, and a variety of wild plant foods were also gathered, particularly hickory nutshells. With respect to the animal species that were gathered by the Caddo during the occupation, white-tailed deer was particularly important, both for meat as well as probably for its pelts. Other important animal food sources include a variety of fish (including freshwater drum, gar, and catfish), turtles (notably the box turtle), turkey, and several mammals, among them opossum, rabbit, and raccoon.

Technological, functional, and stylistic comparisons of the ceramic assemblages between the Henry M. site and nearby Caddo settlements at the Deshazo (41NA27), and Spradley (41NA206) sites, and then with other Historic Caddo sites in Nacogdoches County indicated that: (a) the closest ceramic comparisons between the Henry M. site and the other known Nacogdoches County historic Caddo sites is with the Deshazo site; (b) Bayou Loco and Angelina River sites are dominated by brushed utility wares; and (c) the Lanana Creek Caddo sites, Legg Creek sites, and Attoyac Bayou sites are part of a different local ceramic tradition, where brushed pottery is much less important. The Henry M. site appears to be part of temporally and culturally related communities of Caddo peoples within a small part of the Angelina River basin, although at present it is not known which of the many related tribes in the Hasinai Confederacy they are affiliated with. It is suspected that the Henry M. and Deshazo sites are affiliated with the Hainai tribe.

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