Heritage, Volume 10, Number 3, Summer 1992 Page: 25
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Caddos Join 1992 Field School
The Texas Archeological Society's Annual
Field School, held in June in Red River
county in northeast Texas, included an unusual
and educational program as part of the
scientific investigations of several prehistoric
and early historic Caddoan sites. The
program, "The Caddo Indians and Caddoan
Archaeology: Bridging the Past With the
Present by Mutual Appreciation and Understanding,"
was sponsored by The Archaeological
Conservancy and made possible,
in part, by a grant from the Texas
Committee for the Humanities, a state program
of the National Endowment for the
Humanities, and by individual contributors.
The Texas Archeological Society's 1991
Field School provided the first chance for
the Caddo to become actively involved in
the archaeological investigation of their
ancestral lands. This year's program expanded
the weekend activities to include
many events that afforded opportunities
for the Caddo and the archaeological
community to exhange information and
learn from each other. Approximately 40
Caddo attended the 1992 Field School.
The Caddo enjoyed a visit to the Museum
of the Red River, made possible by
the museum's founder and director Mary
Herron of Idabel, Oklahoma. Dr. James
Corbin, an archaeologist with Stephen F.
Austin University in Nacogdoches, assisted
with the tour, and presented an in-depth
look at the various examples of Caddoan
pottery in the museum's collection. His
presentation focused on the different types
and time period of the pottery samples,
with emphasis on the methods of production
and techniques used for decoration.
The museum visit was followed by an
afternoon workshop, conducted by Dr.
Corbin, titled "Traditional Caddoan Pottery
Replication." Dr. Corbin brought three
vessels to the workshop that he had previously
made and that were dry enough for
firing. A fire was built in the way that it is
thought the Caddo fired their ceramics,
and the pieces were fired during the course
of the afternoon.
Although there are presently more than
3,000 members of the Caddo tribe, there is
no one producing the pottery, as that part
of their heritage has long been lost. There
is, however, enthusiastic interest among
the Caddo for the reintroduction of their
ceramics. The interest generated by the
workshop has prompted both the Caddo
and the archaeologists to plan
future activities during which
the Caddo will have more
opportunities to learn about a
very special part of their
heritage. Preservation of this
legacy, while bringing a renewed
and enhanced appreciation
of part of the Caddoan * Ad
past, may also reap economic
benefits for the tribe.
On Saturday evening, the
Caddo presented some of their
traditional dances, with tribal
members participating in
beautiful costumes. Leonard
Williams, Caddo tribe chairman,
briefly described each
dance, and field school at- W
tendees and local visitors were
invited to join the dancing.
The next morning, the
Caddo visited two of the excavation
sites. The Fasken
Site, consisting of two
mounds, is owned and managed
by The Archaeological
Conservancy. Prior to the
1991 Field School, virtually
nothing was known about
these mounds except that they
were Caddoan in origin. Ex- '
cavations and research during
the past two years of field
schools has revealed interesting
and sometimes unexpected
information about the
lifeways of the area's past inhabitants.
The Caddo who Above: Dr.
visited the sites were generous women try t
in sharing information about
their ancestor's lifeways,
much of which they learned
as children from their elders. The exchange
of information reminded those participating
in the field school that oral history
is a valuable part of any archaeological
This project, which will hopefully be
the beginning of more joint projects between
the Caddos and the archaeological
community, is a great example of what can
be done to learn more about the unique
history of Texas, if we all work together.
We can preserve our heritage -a treasured
gift from the past -and a legacy for
James Corbin teaches Caddo pottery. Bottom: Caddoan
their hand at making pottery. Photos by Bonnie McKee.
HERITAGE * SUMMER 1992 25
A very special thank you to...
*Dr. James Bruseth
*Dr. James Corbin
*Dr. Kathleen Gilmore
eLeonard (Tony) Williams
*Bill Caruth and D.S. Freeman Funds/
Communities Foundation of Texas
*The CaddoTribe of Oklahoma
*Museum of the Red River
*Texas Committee for the Humanities
eZia Capital Corporation
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 10, Number 3, Summer 1992, periodical, Summer 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45419/m1/25/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.