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DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/ita.2017.1.17

Abstract

In this article, I discuss the character of the Caddo archaeological assemblages at two sites on Bowles Creek in the Neches River basin that are just north of the important mound center at the George C. Davis site (41CE19): namely the Gas Line site (41CE63) and 41CE289. All three sites are on a broad alluvial terrace of the Neches River and Bowles Creek (Figure 1); the confluence of the two streams is ca. 4.0 km south of 41CE289. Both sites appear to have been occupied by Caddo peoples after the main occupation at George C. Davis ended at ca. A.D. 1300, and 41CE289 is not far north of a ca. A.D. 1560- 1680 Frankston phase component at the George C. Davis site on the northern part of the alluvial terrace east of the Neches River (Fields and Thurmond 1980).

The Gas Line site was first identified in 1969 along an excavated gas line trench, and a surface collection was obtained from the site by a University of Texas (UT) crew. Site 41CE289 was identified and investigated by Janice Guy and Susan Lisk, both UT graduate students, just prior to a planned expansion of the Indian Mound Nursery in August 1982. At the time, the landform had been plowed, and surface visibility was excellent; Guy and Lisk conducted a general surface collection of the site, which was estimated to cover a ca. 400 x 150 m area (ca. 15 acres). At the present time, almost all of 41CE289 is on lands owned and controlled by the Texas Historical Commission at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site (see Figure 1).

Another ancestral Caddo site in the vicinity of 41CE63 and 41CE289 on Bowles Creek is the R. F. Wallace site (41CE20) in the Bowles Creek floodplain near the confluence of Bowles Creek and White Oak Creek. The site is ca. 2.0 km north of the core area of the George C. Davis site (41CE19) (see Figure 1). The site is a Neche Cluster Historic Caddo Allen phase site with habitation and burial features that was investigated by A. T. Jackson (1932) and a University of Texas crew in June 1932. Human teeth, two glass beads, and ceramic sherds were encountered at ca. 58 cm bs, and the landowner had recovered two ceramic vessels from a burial feature that washed out of the site in 1930; one of the vessels is a Poynor Engraved bottle (Marceaux 2011:595), and the other was a bowl of unknown type or decoration.

More than 230 ceramic sherds recovered at the site were analyzed in detail by Marceaux (2011:187- 192, 500-501, 504, 506, 524). The regular occurrence of Patton Engraved sherds, a low plain to decorated sherd ratio (0.40), a considerable proportion of brushed sherds among the decorated sherds, a high brushed to plain sherd ratio (2.07), and a brushed to other wet paste sherd ratio of 5.0, are consistent with a Neche cluster site (Marceaux 2011; Perttula 2016). These metrics are thought to be the material culture correlates of the Neche Caddo, one of the Hasinai Caddo groups that lived on the Neches River in the late 17th and early 18th century just north of the crossing of El Camino Real de los Tejas and the Neches River.

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