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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

Abstract

The Walnut Branch site (41CE47) was recorded by George Kegley and Dan Witter in 1969 as part of an archaeological survey funded by the Texas Building Commission (now the Texas Historical Commission) in Cherokee County and adjacent counties. This ancestral Caddo site is located about six miles southwest of the city of Rusk, in the Box’s Creek valley in the Neches River basin; Box’s Creek is a generally southern-flowing tributary to the Neches River, and enters the river not far to the westnorthwest of the George C. Davis site (41CE19), otherwise known as Caddo Mounds State Historic Site. The landowner’s son had previously collected ceramic sherds and a ceramic pipe from the Walnut Branch site, and a Caddo burial (and associated ceramic vessel, about which nothing is known) had been found at the site in 1964.

Kegley obtained surface collections of ceramic sherds and lithic tools from different parts of the Walnut Branch site, including a number of ceramic sherds (n=69) and one tool fragment from the Walnut Branch stream bed, a tributary to Box’s Creek; at that time, the bank of the stream was actively eroding, exposing artifacts on the surface. Kegley also excavated two small “test pits” or shovel tests at the site, and they contained a small number of ceramic sherds in the archaeological deposits. The sediments in those “test pits” had different zones of alluvial sands to a depth of at least 58 cm.

In 2017, the junior author obtained permission to reexamine the Walnut Branch site, and determine its current condition and research significance. This work consisted of an intensive program of shovel testing across a large field and floodplain north of Walnut Branch and east of Box’s Creek, which is discussed below. He also obtained a substantial collection of ancestral Caddo ceramic vessel sherds from the Walnut Branch stream bed just below the Walnut Branch site and the Ross I site; this surface collection was taken before the shovel testing work was initiated. The intensive shovel testing has demonstrated that the large pasture that contains the Walnut Branch site also contains two other spatially related ancestral Caddo sites (Ross I, 41CE485 and Ross II, 41CE486) to the west and northeast, respectively, of the Walnut Branch site; the findings from these other sites will also be discussed in this article.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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