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2016 Archaeological Investigations at the T. M. Sanders Site (41LR2), Lamar County, Texas
Friends of Northeast Texas Archaeology
On March 4th and 5th, 2016, Bo Nelson and Mark Walters returned to the T. M. Sanders site (41LR2) to inspect the property after Julia Trigg Crawford, the main landowner of the site, informed us that the fields at the site had been prepped for this year ’s planting. This article summarizes the findings from these archaeological investigations, which also included the surface examination of the 40 acres of the Sanders site owned by the Sanders family.
The Sanders site is a large and impressive ancestral Caddo mound center and village situated on an alluvial terrace (450 ft. amsl) at the mouth of Bois d’Arc Creek and the Red River (Figure 1). The Sanders site was first investigated by archaeologists from the University of Texas in 1931 (Chelf 1939; Jackson 2000; Jackson et al. 2000; Krieger 1946, 2000; Pearce and Jackson 1931), where the work concentrated on the excavation of a number of burial features in Mound No. 1 or the East Mound, the trenching of Mound No. 2 or the West Mound, and the trenching of thick midden deposits that were present between the two mounds. The collections from this work are at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin. Members of the Dallas Archeological Society excavated burial features and obtained surface collections in the 1940s-1950s (Hanna 1950; Harris 1953; Housewright 1940) from the Sanders site. R. King Harris, in particular, amassed a large collection of artifacts from the Sanders site that are now held by the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution (Perttula et al. 2015).
Other than a number of bioarchaeological studies of the human remains from the East Mound burial features (Hamilton 1997; Maples 1962; Wilson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997; Wilson and Cargill 1993), there were no professional archaeological investigations conducted at the Sanders site again until 2011, when survey and/or test excavations were carried out in the proposed right-of-ways for the Keystone pipeline where they crossed non-mound habitation areas (Acuna et al. 2011; Perttula and Marceaux 2011; Peyton 2013). This work renewed attention to the significance of the Caddo archaeological deposits at the Sanders site, including both mound and non-mound areas, and with the permission of the Crawford family and the Sanders family, periodic archaeological and geophysical investigations have been conducted across much of the 200+ acres of the Sanders site since 2013 (Perttula 2013; Perttula et al. 2014, 2015, 2016; Perttula and Nelson 2016; Walker and Perttula 2016). The 2016 work represents a continuation of this effort.
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