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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

Ancient Texans: Rock Art and Lifeways along the Lower Pecos. By Harry J.
Shafer. Edited by Georg Zappler. Photographs by Jim Zintgraff.
Illustrations by George Strickland. (Austin: Texas Monthly Press,
1986. Pp. xiv+247. Acknowledgments, foreword, introduction, il-
lustrations, photographs, maps, bibliography, index. $35.)
In the 1930s, the Witte Museum of San Antonio carried out several
excavations at rockshelter sites in the Lower Pecos region of southwest
Texas. Though the excavations were poorly controlled by modern stan-
dards, they did produce a wealth of material culture that has been cu-
rated by the Witte ever since. Beginning in 1983, museum director
Mark Lane began to plan for a permanent exhibit utilizing this large
collection and incorporating in the display rock art photographs by San
Antonio photographer Jim Zintgraff, whose work had documented
many sites over the span of three decades. Anczent Texans grew out of
the plans for the Witte exhibit and was published to coincide with the
opening in late 1986. Harry Shafer took on the task of pulling together
a volume that would not only deal with museum specimens and the ar-
chaeological record, but would also provide an interpretative frame-
work for Zintgraff's photography. The resulting book is the work of
Shafer, Zintgraff, and a number of collaborating authors. It is perhaps
a unique book in that it addresses a broader audience than either schol-
arly archaeological books (to which it is closest in terms of use by pro-
fessional archaeologists) or museum exhibit catalogs (which it clearly is
not). While researchers in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, his-
tory, and geography will find this book to be a valuable reference, its
greatest value may lie in the realm of education-providing informa-
tion for the non-archaeologist scholar and, most importantly, the lay
public. Texas archaeology has suffered greatly from the lack of avail-
able books that suitably portray the prehistory of the state, and Ancient
Texans goes a long way toward filling that gap.
Through both text and illustration the book fully explores the lives
of the ancient Indians of the Lower Pecos. Zintgraff's color photo-
graphs are nicely reproduced and supplemented by paintings and
other illustrations commissioned specifically for the book. As a profes-
sional archaeologist, I would have liked scales of some sort in the nu-
merous artifact photographs. Outstanding features of the book include
Shafer's fictionalized account of the daily life of these ancient peoples,
along with his scholarly treatments of the environment, the regional ar-
chaeological record, the rock art, and the history of archaeology in the
Lower Pecos. Scattered throughout the book are several short offerings
by other archaeologists and anthropologists that further develop some
of the topics raised by Shafer. These include fascinating studies by


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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