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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/.ita.2016.1.34

Abstract

During the late 17th-early 18th century, Spanish forces colonized the middle reaches of the Neches River and its tributaries when several missions were established for the Tejas and other Hasinai tribes in this locale: Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, 1690-1693, Mission El Santisimo de Nombre Maria (1690-1692), and Mission Nuestra Padre de San Francisco de Tejas (1716-1719, 1721-1730), otherwise known as Mission San Francisco de los Nechas. These missions were established along the Hasinai Trace, later known as El Camino Real de los Tejas . None of these missions have been located and identified in the many archaeological investigations that have been conducted in East Texas since the 1930s.

It has been known, however, since 1940 that early 18th century artifacts have been found at the George C. Davis site (41CE19) on the Neches River at the crossing of the Camino Real. H. Perry Newell, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) excavator of the site, had noted in the published report on the 1939-1941 excavations at the George C. Davis site, that:

some pieces of Spanish pottery found near a spring in one of the ravines cutting the slope a few hundred yards southeast from the mound [Mound A]…The Spanish ware were examined by Arthur Woodward, Los Angeles County Museum…The Spanish ware was analyzed as follows: “The fragment of blue and white glazed ware is Mexican majolica, made at Puebla, Mexico, sometime between 1700-76 but more than likely it dates from 1720-1750."

This majolica from the George C. Davis site, about 20 sherds in total, has been recently relocated in the collections of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin. The sherds are from early 18th century (ca. 1720) Puebla Blue on White plates, a bowl, and a cup. Given the rarity of majolica on archaeological sites in East Texas outside of Spanish Colonial archaeological deposits, its presence at the George C. Davis site is especially intriguing given the fact that Mission San Francisco de Tejas/de los Nechas or Neches was built in this part of the Neches River valley in 1716, then rebuilt in 1721, and finally abandoned in 1730.

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