Caddo Archeology Journal
The Red River in southwest Arkansas creates a changing environment that has had a large impact on those who lived there, including floods, channel movements, and the erosion of whole landforms. River movements, and the resulting oxbow lakes, create an environment favorable to fishing. This study uses historical documents, lidar data, and coring methods to sequence past river movements around a multiple-mound Caddo ceremonial center, the Crenshaw site. This information is used to determine the likely location of the Red River at the time the ancient Caddo constructed the mounds and to note where portions of the ancient site may have been destroyed by subsequent river migration. The cores indicate that the Red River cut off an active channel on the west side of Crenshaw, creating an oxbow lake. The Caddo (or their antecedents) constructed Mound A and the causeway on the point bar surface of a meander bend that has not been buried by significant overbank sediment. This suggests that the Caddo constructed Mound A, the causeway, and Mound E (on the south end of the point bar) after the channel was abandoned and became an oxbow lake. Areas to the east, northeast, northwest, and to the south were destroyed by more recent river movements that crosscut landforms on which the Caddo built the mounds, suggesting that the site was larger than what remains today. Clearly, the Caddo were active managers of their environment. Linear topographic patterns indicate large portions of the landscape, beyond the mounds, were crafted by the ancient Caddo.
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