Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




The first archaeological investigations at the M. S. Roberts site in the Caddo Creek valley of the upper Neches River basin in East Texas (Figure 1) was by University of Texas (UT) archaeologists in 1931 (Perttula 2016). In that work, UT archaeologists excavated a trench of unknown size in the ancestral Caddo mound at the site, and gathered a surface collection from the plowed cotton field around the mound.

No further archaeological work was done at the site until January 2015 when a surface collection was obtained at the site with the permission of the landowners, Jim and Denise Renfroe (Perttula and Walters 2016). Later that year, a number of shovel tests and auger tests were excavated in and around the earthen mound, and an aerial survey of the site was done by Arlo McKee (University of Texas at Dallas) to map the topography of the landform, the earthen mound, and its associated borrow pit, as well as reconstruct changes in the shape and size of the mound between 1931 and 2015 (Perttula et al. 2016). The shovel and auger tests identified burned zones in the mound that were thought to represent the remains of burned Caddo buildings that stood on the mound, and also identified non-mound habitation deposits at the site.

In January 2016, again with the permission and support of the landowners, we returned to the M. S. Roberts site to conduct additional investigations, including remote sensing (see McKinnon et.al., this volume) of a 2.8 acre area over and around the mound, more shovel tests and the excavation of three 1 x 1 m units (Units 1-3), and a surface reconnaissance of landforms to the east of the site to ascertain if the site boundaries continued to the east (see Appendix 1, this article). The main purpose of the latter archaeological work was three-fold: (1), to better define the spatial extent of non-mound archaeological deposits; (2), to locate and sample well-preserved non-mound habitation deposits and obtain charred plant remains for AMS dating; and (3) investigate the stratigraphic character of the mound deposits, identify cultural features in the mound, and hopefully obtain charred plant remains or unburned animal bones from these deposits for AMS dating.

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