The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 129
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Digging Up Texas: A Guzde to the Archaeology of the State. By Robert Marcom. (Plano:
Republic of Texas Press, 2oo2. Foreword, introduction, illustrations, bibli-
ography, index. ISBN 1-55622-937-2. $18.95, paper.)
Dzgging Up Texas, written for the nonacademic adult or high school student,
provides a broad-brush picture of the prehistoric and historic archaeology of
the Lone Star State. It is much more of a personal introduction than a systemat-
ic treatment of Texas archaeology. This book achieves many goals, but for those
looking for a comprehensive academic synthesis of Texas archaeology this is
not the book. However, for those people who know little or nothing about
Texas archaeology and think they would like to discover more on this topic, this
is a good start. This book tells how to get involved in local archaeological soci-
eties and participate on fieldwork projects. Marcom writes popular science and
he has become engaged in archaeology through university field schools, con-
tract (Culture Resource Management) archaeology projects, and Texas
Archeological Society field schools. From these experiences, he has written this
highly personal account.
Marcom's approach combines descriptive culture history, interviews with pro-
fessional archaeologists, and fictional narratives about how people lived during
the various periods to put flesh on our understanding of these past times. With
this approach, obviously the amount of archaeological detail presented to the
reader is quite limited, however if one keeps in mind Marcom's intended audi-
ence, this probably serves its purpose. Marcom includes a chapter on
Paleoindians, another chapter on artifacts, one chapter on Archaic hunter-gath-
erers, a single chapter on Caddoan agriculturalists in East Texas, and a chapter
on the Spanish and French colonization. This is followed by a chapter on the
"Tejas" and "Gringo" occupations and a chapter on the Comanche wars. The
book then shifts gears and presents a personalized account of the excavations at
the Levi Jordan Plantation Site excavated by Ken Brown (University of Houston)
near Brazoria. Marcom then includes a summary chapter on historic Native
Americans, and this is followed by another personalized account of a recent
Texas Archeological Society field school. The book concludes with chapters on
public archaeology, the Texas Historical Commission, and a final chapter on
resources for avocational archaeologists.
The shift in styles used throughout the book makes it a little hard to follow
and it would probably have read better to use a more consistent method
throughout the entire book. On the archaeology and prehistory side of the
book, there are numerous gaps and omissions. Many areas of Texas and periods
of Native American occupation get no coverage, while others have a great deal.
For example, Marcom provides no discussion of Lower Pecos rock art.
On the positive side, Marcom does provide readers with a well informed guide
for getting involved in Texas archaeology, as avocational archaeologists, through
regional societies, or the statewide Texas Archeological Society. Clearly, the pub-
lic-information purpose of this book is its most important contribution, and
hopefully this book will aid those with an interest in archaeology and possibly
even spark an interest in those who have never thought about the prehistory of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/147/?rotate=270: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.