Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




There are a number of Allen phase Historic Caddo sites on Bowles Creek (Figure 1), a southwardflowing tributary to the Neches River in the East Texas Pineywoods, including the Bowles Creek (41CE475), Cornfield (41CE476), and Peach Orchard (41CE477) sites (Perttula and Stingley 2016a, 2016b; Perttula et al. 2016). In conjunction with remote sensing investigations conducted by Dr. Duncan P. McKinnon (University of Central Arkansas), renewed archaeological investigations have been completed in January 2016 at these three sites to better understand the subsurface character of their archaeological deposits.

At the Bowles Creek site, on a low alluvial rise, the first investigations included a surface collection, along with the excavation of a number of shovel tests (n=13, generally 35-40 x 55-60 cm in width and length and 30-50 cm in depth) as well as three units (Units 1-3, generally 1 x 1 m in size) done by Stingley at the site; the units were excavated to between 50-80 cm bs (Perttula et al. 2016). These initial archaeological investigations at the Bowles Creek site recovered 617 ceramic sherds (Perttula et al. 2016:Table 13), of which 461 were decorated. A single radiocarbon date has been obtained on a piece of animal bone from Unit 3, 40-50 cm bs, at the site. The radiocarbon age of this AMS sample from the Bowles Creek site is 410 + 24 years B.P. (D-AMS 11799), or A.D. 1540 + 24. The 2 sigma calibration (95 percent probability) of this radiocarbon age, using IntCal13 (Reimer et al. 2013), is A.D. 1525 + 84. This result suggests that there are also Frankston phase (ca. A.D. 1400-1650) archaeological deposits preserved at the site.

An additional sample of material culture remains from the Bowles Creek site was obtained by Stingley in July and August 2015, primarily from areas recently disturbed by wild hogs (see Perttula and Stingley 2016:Figure 2). This surface collection recovered another 337 ceramic sherds, including 206 decorated sherds (Perttula and Stingley 2016a:Table 1). There were also a small number of unburned animal bones and teeth in this surface collection, as well as a gray novaculite Cuney arrow point.

The Cornfield site is on an upland ridge between Bowles Creek and Turkey Creek, and is known as the 1870s cornfield of an Anglo-American settler on this tract of land. In the only archaeological work at the site before the investigations reported on herein, a 2 acre area of the landform was recently plowed and disked, and archaeological evidence of a Caddo settlement was obtained from a surface collection (Perttula et al. 2016). The surface collection had 227 ceramic vessel sherds, including 156 decorated sherds (Perttula et al. 2016:Table 5).

The first work at the Peach Orchard site consisted of a general surface collection from the grass-covered upland landform (Perttula et al. 2016). That work recovered 71 ceramic sherds, 60 of which were decorated (Perttula et al. 2016:Table 9). In November 2015, the landowner decided to shallowly plow the site area to improve its grass cover, and this plowing provided an opportunity to complete a comprehensive surface collection of the site area from November to December 2015. After the site area and the larger field had been plowed and rained on several times, a grid of 21 10 x 10 m units (numbered 1-21) was laid out over the known surface spatial distribution of ancestral Caddo ceramic sherds (Perttula and Stingley 2016b:Figures 2 and 3).

The systematic surface collection recovered 2102 ceramic vessel sherds, 1496 of which were decorated, two ceramic elbow pipe sherds, a clay coil, two burned clay pieces, 12 chipped stone tools (including two dart points from a Woodland period component), 67 pieces of lithic debris, one core, one fire-cracked rock, four animal bones, and 14 mid-nineteenth to early 20th century historic artifacts (Perttula and Stingley 2016b). Based on the distribution of the major categories (i.e., total sherds, and the distributions of utility ware and fine ware sherds) of ancestral Caddo artifacts across the site, the core area with the highest density of all categories of Caddo artifacts is in a 700 square meter area in the central and eastern part of the surface collection grid (Perttula and Stingley 2016b:Figure 4).

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