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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/.ita.2017.1.58

Abstract

The Snipes site (41CS8) was excavated by Jelks in 1952 as part of the River Basins Surveys (RBS) program administered by the Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with the National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Snipes was one of three sites excavated by the RBS prior to the inundation of a large part of the lower Sulphur River valley by Texarkana Reservoir, now Lake Wright Patman. The Snipes site was apparently occupied during at least some part of the Woodland period (ca. 500 B.C.- A.D. 800), mainly during the latter part of the period, and can be considered a component of the Fourche Maline Culture on the basis of the artifacts recovered from both habitation archaeological deposits and burial features. Other artifacts in the collection attest to the use of the Snipes site during Late Archaic and post-A.D. 900 ancestral Caddo times, as we will discuss below.

The site was estimated to cover ca. 6-7 acres of an upland landform about 1.6 km south of the Sulphur River, and was marked by a scatter of lithic artifacts, mussel shell, animal bones, charcoal, pottery sherds, etc. Excavations were done in a series of 5-ft. squares dispersed across a 300 x 200 ft. area; according to Jelks, “additional squares were opened adjacent to the most productive test squares.” The archaeological deposits ranged from ca. 8-38 cm in thickness from the surface, and had been well disturbed by plowing. Apparent midden deposits marked by “a great deal of carbon and grease” were identified in several parts of the excavations.

During the work at the site by Jelks, nine prehistoric burials were excavated there, including three (Burials 7-9) that were discovered an unknown distance northeast of Burials 1-6 during the last round of work at the site. Jelks reported that traces of human remains from adults of unknown sex were present in Burials 6 and 7, but failed to mention if such was the case for Burials 8 and 9. However, since Burial 8 was reported to have contained two individuals, and the orientation of the heads was recorded, human remains (again, probably from adults, although not noted) were obviously preserved in this burial as well, but apparently not recovered. For Burial 9, Jelks simply noted that preservation “was poor.”

Burials 6, 7, and 8 contained individuals that were placed in graves in an extended supine (i.e., on their back) position. Burial 8 had two individuals in extended supine position. The position of the deceased individual in Burial 9 was not recorded. Burial 6 had a Coles Creek Incised, var. Stoner bowl by the right shoulder of the deceased, and one small bowl each had been placed as a funerary offering in Burials 7-9; in two instances, the small bowls were by the left shoulder of the deceased. Two other vessels were funerary offerings in Burial 1 and a separate burial feature excavated by I. B. (Bogey) Price after the main RBS investigations.

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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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