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Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site
George C. Davis Site
Location
Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site is located in Texas
Coordinates 31°35′49″N 95°9′2″W / 31.59694°N 95.15056°W / 31.59694; -95.15056Coordinates: 31°35′49″N 95°9′2″W / 31.59694°N 95.15056°W / 31.59694; -95.15056
Culture Caddoan Mississippian
Period Mississippian
Country United States
Region Texas
Map of the Caddoan Mississippian culture and some important sites, including the Caddoan Mounds Site

The Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site (41CE19) (also known as the George C. Davis Site) is an archaeological site in Cherokee County, Texas built by the Caddoan Mississippian culture. The site has two platform mounds and one burial mound. Archaeologists believe the site was founded in approximately 800 CE, with most major construction taking place between 1100 and 1300 CE. It is located 26 miles west of Nacogdoches, Texas on Texas State Highway 21 near its intersection with U.S. Route 69 in the Piney Woods region of east Texas.

Contents

Description

The site began with the founding of a permanent village by the Hasinai,[1] who moved into the region from the Red River area to the northeast, in roughly 850 to 900 CE.[2] What eventually became the largest mound, Mound A, was begun at this time. It is at the southern edge of the site, and was surrounded by about 40 houses. In 1100 CE a new mound was begun near the center of the site, Mound B, and would eventually measure roughly 175 feet (55 meters) north-south and 115 feet (35 meters) east-west. Mound C, the northernmost mound of the three, was used as a ceremonial burial mound, not for elite residences or temples like the other two.[3] The site was the southwestern most ceremonial mound center of all the great mound building cultures of North America.[3]

The settlement was abandoned in the 13th century, when the elite ruling class dissipated after the outlying hamlets became more self-sufficient and grew less dependent on the site for religious and political matters. The Caddoan culture that remained was similar to the earlier culture in many ways, but lacked much of its heirarchial structure and exotic material wealth.[4] By the time Europeans arrived in the area in the 1700s, the Caddoan groups in the area lived in small villages and hamlets, spread across the local landscape. They had long since stopped building mounds, and their former hierarchical social and political organization had become much less centralized.[2]

The Hasinai groups continued to live in the Neches and Angelina River valleys up to the 1830s, but the early 1840s, all Caddo groups had moved to the Brazos River area in an effort to avoid Anglo-American colonization. In 1855 the U.S. government moved them to the Brazos Indian Reservation , and in 1859 moved them to the Washita River in Indian Territory, now western Oklahoma.[4] The Caddo still live in western Oklahoma, Binger, Oklahoma being the capital of Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

Modern excavations

The earliest recorded mention of the mounds was in 1779 by Athanase de Mézières who traveled from Louisiana to San Antonio in the employ of the Spanish government. James Edwin Pearce was the first professional archeologist to record the site for the Bureau of Ethnology in 1919. In 1933 archeologist E. B. Sayles concluded that the site was a Caddoan mound center after conducting surface collection of artifacts at the location.[2] The first scientific excavations were conducted from 1939 to 1941 by H. Perry Newell, a University of Texas archeologist with the Work Projects Administration. When Newell died, archeologist Alex D. Krieger took over investigations at the site, and concluded that the it had been a major Caddo site. Further excavations in the 1960s and early 1970s by Dee Ann Story pinpointed the timeline of the site to 780 and 1260 CE.[2]

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department established a historic park in 1974 after acquiring seventy acres of the site, and funded a series of excavations in the 1970s and 1980s. As the result of these excavations by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and private contractor Elton R. Prewitt, another twenty-three acres of was added to the park in 1981, and an interpretive visitors center was constructed at the site.[2] In 2008 the 80th Texas Legislature transferred operational control of the property to the Texas Historical Commission.[5]

See also

References

External links

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