Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




This article discusses a collection of ancestral Caddo ceramic and lithic artifacts found at the Robert Richey site in northern Van Zandt County in East Texas. The site is in a pasture on an upland landform facing year-round flowing Caney Creek about 130-180 m to the east, a northern-flowing tributary that merges with the Sabine River about 2.2 miles to the north. The site lies within the flood pool of the long-defunct Mineola Reservoir, but the Robert Richey site was not recorded at the time of the early 1970s archaeological survey of the reservoir. Sites 41VN53-56, prehistoric sites of either uncertain age (41VN53), Woodland period age (41VN54, 41VN55, and 41VN56), as well as ancestral Caddo (41VN55), likely Early or Middle Caddo period in age. were recorded on alluvial terraces on both sides of Caney Creek not far from the Robert Richey site.

For years, Mr. Richey’s father had been advised by one of the old-timers who owned the adjoining ranch about a rise in his field “that particular mound in the pasture was an Indian mound.” Richey’s father identified the structure to him years ago. So, it was a known and identifiable rise in their land that had (tongue-in-cheek) been called an Indian mound for many years.

Richey’s investigation into the rise was prompted by the fact that he had found a ceramic vessel sherd along the banks of a dam of a recently constructed pond. That sherd was discovered approximately 180 m south of the Robert Richey site, on a landform with tan sandy loam sediments; this place may be 41VN55 recorded by Malone. Malone indicated the site had plain sherds, scrapers, lithic debris, Gary points, as well as an ancestral Caddo sherd with a cross-hatched incised rim and rows of fingernail impressed punctations on the vessel body.

From there, Mr. Richey took that rumor a step further last year and dug four test trenches about 3 feet deep and 10 feet long in the rise and waited for rain. Frankly, he did not expect to discover anything as he has not found much in the way of artifacts on the place. After digging the trenches he waited for rain. After a rain, the artifacts discussed in this article were found over an area about 15 m in diameter; they represent about 50 percent of what had been noted there. He did not note any charcoal in the trenches.

The soil on the Robert Richey site appears to be a reddish-brown loam, and not the black lands characteristic of the soils in the Sabine River floodplain. There is an old and majestic Oak tree growing along the edge of the rise. Generally speaking, this is pasture land.

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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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