Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




Perttula (2016) had analyzed ceramic sherds and other material culture remains curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin (TARL) from four sites in the Brazos River basin in the Central Texas prairie that had been identified as Prairie Caddo sites by Shafer; one of the sites was the Urbankte site (41CV26). The Urbankte site is on the Leon River in Coryell County, at Belton Reservoir; the Leon River is a southward-flowing tributary to the Brazos River. The term “Prairie Caddo” used by Shafer refers to Caddo groups affiliated with Caddo communities in East Texas, most likely affiliated with the George C. Davis site in the Neches River valley, that occupied portions of the Central Texas prairies in Late Prehistoric times, from ca. A.D. 1000-1300.

Each of the four assemblages in the Brazos River basin have sherds that stylistically compare closely to decorated Caddo vessels from East Texas Caddo sites, and the distinctive character of these decorated sherds suggested that the four sites were occupied between ca. A.D. 1000-1200 or to post-ca. A.D. 1200-1300 times in the case of the Urbankte site. Where these ceramic assemblages seemed to differ from East Texas Caddo ceramics, however, was in their manufacture: the grog and bone temper inclusions added to the paste of the ceramic vessel sherds from these sites had numerous, large, and coarse-grained temper inclusions, while East Texas Caddo ceramics tend to have more fine-grained temper inclusions, even in the manufacture of utility ware jars.

The Urbankte site ceramics (n=118 sherds) I examined at TARL were heavily bone-tempered (88 percent) and had a considerable proportion of brushed sherds (46 percent of the decorated sherds). Both characteristics were consistent with a post A.D. 1200-1300 Prairie Caddo occupation, as was the fact that eight of the nine arrow points in the TARL collections from the Urbankte site are Perdiz arrow points. The common occurrence of both Perdiz points and brushed ceramic sherds suggested then that this Prairie Caddo occupation at the Urbankte site took place sometime after ca. A.D. 1200-1300.

As Dr. Shafer mentions below, the artifacts from the Urbankte site that he had discussed in the Prairie Caddo module were from a different part of the site than the TARL collection I had documented, and were from a different and earlier cultural component. We will return to those artifacts shortly.

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