Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000 Page: 31
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The George C. Davis site was a major village and ceremonial center
between A.D. 800-1300, one of the earliest and
most important Caddoan communities of its day.
photo) similar to those early Spanish explorers
saw topped with temples and the
houses of important leaders throughout the
southeastern U.S. Elsewhere at the Davis
site, within the "outer" village area, smaller
buildings have been excavated that are
thought to represent ordinary houses where
most villagers lived. Because of the extensive
WPA excavations and those of Dr. Dee
Ann Story and her students at The University
of Texas at Austin in the 1960s1980s,
the Davis site is one of the best
known Caddoan centers.
The Caddoan house replica (lower image
on page 30) was built at the Davis site
in 1982 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department. Its design was based in part
on archeological evidence from the Davis
site as well as on early historic accounts of
Caddo house construction techniques.
This house replica helped visitors to
Caddoan Mounds State Historic Park visualize
how prehistoric peoples lived in
By the mid 1990s the house had deteriorated
and was no longer safe for visitors
to enter. An archeological experiment was
devised in order to use the house's impending
destruction as an educational opportunity.
In the fall of 1995 at the conclusion
of the annual meeting of the Texas Archeological
Society, held in nearby
Nacogdoches, archeologists and Caddos
gathered at the site and burned the house
down, much like the ancient Caddo often
did. Before the structure was put to the
torch, a variety of replica artifacts were
placed in the house, as well as the body of
a dog that had been killed in a car accident.
This served as a surrogate human
burial (the ancient Caddo often buried
their dead beneath the floor of a house).
Archeologists in the future will excavate
the burned replica house to gather data that
can be compared to the excavated remains
of prehistoric houses, thus strengthening
Steve Black and Carolyn Spock are employees
at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory,
The University of Texas at Austin.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000, periodical, Autumn 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45391/m1/31/: accessed March 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.