Heritage, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 1992 Page: 25
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A A * * IY. I~NWA A
TAS Field School:
Making Dreams Come True
By Patricia M. Wheat and Brenda B. Whorton
"I gave my wife a choice of vacations this year: Mexico, Florida,
Hawaii - and she chose to come to the Red River to dig!"
I t was mid-morning in a soy bean
field in Red River County, Texas, where
archaeologists suspected the remains of an
historic (1700s) Caddoan house might be
located. A crew of 12 people, ages nine to
75, were carefully excavating a trench,
which revealed the patterns left behind by
former inhabitants - several postmolds
indicating supports for the roof of a dwelling.
They were participants at the Field
School sponsored by the Texas Archaeological
For seven of the 12 eager participants at
this site, this was a first experience in scientific
archaeology. As in other areas, the
crew was organized into three working units
with a supervisor for each unit and an area
supervisor monitoring all of the work. Each
person learned how to excavate so carefully
that they could even recognize and often
interpret a change in the color of the soil.
In fact, this crew found very few artifacts,
but the soil changes were extremely significant.
They screened each bucket of soil
removed from the units to look for additional
evidence of occupation. The precious
glass beads that they found had been
traded to the Caddo by the French. The
crew also learned to complete important
record forms, so that a report could be
written by the site archaeologist, Dr. Jim
Bruseth, from the Texas Historical Comnmission.
Across the field about a quarter of a
mile, the screening process revealed quite a
different story. Hundreds of pieces of baked
clay, called daub, indicated the site of a
much older house. Mixed in with the daub
were broken pieces of pottery, some with
similar patterns, others with different designs.
Here and there an excited, "Oh,
look, it's a pipe fragment!" reaffirmed to Young and old assist each other in archaeology at the TAS Field School. Photo by Jim Whorton.
HERITAGE * SPRING 1992 25
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 1992, periodical, Spring 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45420/m1/25/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.