Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




During the 1939-1940 WPA-sponsored archaeological survey of East Texas, Gus E. Arnold was particularly active in identifying and recording sites in San Augustine County, in the East Texas Pineywoods (see Perttula 2015a, 2017a), as well as sites along Patroon, Palo Gaucho, and Housen bayous in neighboring Sabine County (Perttula 2015b, 2017b), and sites in the Angelina River basin in Angelina County (Perttula 2016c). During his archaeological survey efforts, he collected substantial assemblages of ceramic and lithic artifact assemblages (curated by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin), primarily due to the fact that the surface of sites were well-exposed because of plowing, and he was encouraged to collect robust artifact assemblages by A. T. Jackson, the WPA survey director at The University of Texas at Austin. This article concerns the analysis of the recovered artifact assemblages from 14 different WPA sites in various parts of San Augustine County (Figure 1).

The 14 archaeological sites are situated in several different stream basins, on a variety of landforms (i.e., floodplain rise, alluvial terrace, and upland ridge), including the Attoyac Bayou basin (41SA1 on Attoyac Bayou; 41SA5, at junction of Little and Big Arenosa Creek; 41SA24 on Price Creek; 41SA9, 41SA15, and 41SA16, Arenosa Creek), Patroon Bayou in the Sabine River basin (41SA11 and 41SA32), Palo Gaucho Bayou in the Sabine River basin (41SA108), Ayish Bayou (41SA77, 41SA80, 41SA95, and 41SA96) in the Angelina River basin; and Hog-Harvey creeks (41SA85) in the Angelina River basin.

According to Arnold, these sites ranged from 1-6 acres in size, based on the surface distribution of artifacts as well as the extent of the landforms. In the case of the Hanks site (41SA80), midden deposits marked by mussel shells and animal bones were preserved there. The landowner had also previously collected two ceramic pipes, a celt, and a 33 cm long notched chert biface from the site. Burned and unburned animal bones were also noted on the surface of the Frost Johnson Lumber Co. site (41SA5); and burials associated with ceramic vessels and other material remains were noted when the site was first put into cultivation. Whole ceramic vessels from ancestral Caddo burial features had been reported to have eroded out of the Allan Howill (41SA24) and J. McGilberry (41SA85) sites. The Allan Howill site also had mussel shells and fragments of animal bone visible on the surface, and an area with ancestral Caddo burials (at least three with skeletal remains) was reported on the edge of an upland bluff there. Arnold also excavated several test pits of unknown size at the D. C. Hines site (41SA95), where he encountered archaeological deposits between ca. 60-76 cm bs. Arnold also noted “exceptionally large quantities of petrified wood, chert and flint flakes and chips cover the surface” of the D. C. Hines site.

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