Texas Heritage, Spring 1984 Page: 6
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Archeology: 1) the systematic recovery and scientific
study of materials of human life and culture in
past ages. 2) the study of antiquity. (The American
Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.)
After centuries of silence many archeological
sites in Texas are yielding their long-held secrets.
Archeologists with the Texas Historical Commission,
supported in part by grants from the Texas
Historical Foundation, have been patiently probing
the remnants of ancient Texans to develop
surveys, excavations, and analysis of sites throughout
These joint efforts by the Commission, the
state agency for historic preservation, and the
Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated
to preserving Texas heritage, have brought about
extensive research into important cultural resources
The symbiotic relationship between the Foundation
and the Commission actually grew out of a
practical response to the extreme need for funds to
support archeology projects. As Dr. D.J. Sibley,
Chairman of the Texas Historical Foundation's
Archeology Committee puts it, "time is not the
greatest enemy of archeology, it's urbanization."
As rural areas of the state continue to develop,
many archeology sites are threatened or completely
lost. "The Foundation has responded by
serving as, a fiduciary agent for the state of Texas,"
says Dr. Sibley. The Foundation is called upon by
the Commission to underwrite projects to protect
"endangered sites", or respond to emergency situations.
"If the Texas Historical Foundation weren't
involved," says Robert Mallouf, State Archeologist
with the Commission, "many of our projects
would have been lost."
Archeology team examines collapsed walls of dwelling.
Several of these archeology projects have
been significant studies of the material cultures
and lifeways of the particular periods. The Adobe
Walls project in the Panhandle is a study of an historic
buffalo trading post, and the location of 1874
Comanche Indian raid led by Quanah Parker.
The Plainview site, in the city of Plainview, is
a partial remnant of an intact site used seven to
eight thousand years B.C. as a bison slaughter area.
This "Paleo-Indian" site is abundant in artifacts as
well as clues to ancient lifeways and cultures.
The Soda Lake Project is an early ranch site
in the Plains below the Caprock, and excavation
revealed an 1800's trading center and ranching
Granado Caves in the Trans-Pecos area is a
large sink-hole that was an Indian campsite around
1250-1450 A.D., and has yielded remains of nomadic
hunters and gatherers.
A current joint project of the Foundation and
the Commission is threatened by relic hunters and
scientific evidence is in danger of being lost. The
Commission called upon the THF Archeology
Committee to raise funds for the Landergin Mesa
project, a prehistoric Indian farming community
inhabited from 1100 to 1400 A.D.
Landergin Mesa casts a looming shadow in the early
The remote mesa, extending over one to two
acres, is located in the Panhandle south of the Canadian
River and to the east side of spring-fed East
Alamosa Creek. Looking down into the valley
from the mesa top, flat green areas bordering the
cottonwood shaded stream are still visible. Except
for the disappearance of the Indians, the area has
probably changed little since the settlement was in
This sandstone rock mesa rises from the surrounding
valley to provide a natural self-defense
barrier. The inhabitants of the area were agriculturists,
hunters and traders. Their prospering
community may have been a rich target for the
invading nomadic tribes of the period. The
Landergin Mesa Indians used the top of their land
structure for defensive purposes, and by 1350 A.D.
had built as many as sixty to eighty houses. These
semi-subterranean houses were typically built with
walls up to a height of four to six feet. Center posts
were set into the floor to provide support for roof
coverings composed of poles, brush, and adobe.
Entrance to the structures was probably through
openings in the roofs, in the manner of Southwestern
Landergin Mesa, a National Historic
Landmark, is considered by the Office of the State
Archeologist to be one of the most important
sources of archeological data in Texas. It is one of
only a few sites of its type still having relatively
intact cultural deposits within the Canadian River
drainage area. The site has very high priority with
respect to both research and preservation goals,
and the Texas Historical Foundation is helping to
provide the funds, on a matching basis with the
state, to save this major archeological resource.
to be held in Dallas.
The 1984 Annual Convention of the Texas
Historical Foundation will be held on May 17,
18, and 19, 1984, at the Loews Anatole Hotel
Convention participants will present topics
ranging from how to trace your family tree,
how to record your local history, archeology
approaches, to the most current preservation
and development issues at the state and
Prominent professionals involved in all
phases of historic preservation will be on hand
to share their expertise in question and answer
sessions and panel discussions.
The following sessions are to be presented
by preservationists and speakers from across
Thursday, May 17:
Introduction and welcome to Dallas.
Panel discussion: "The Organic City - the
relationship between Historic Preservation
and City Development.
Panel discussion: "Choosing your battles and
Panel discussion: "Paupers, Pirates and
Peerage: the "How-To's of Genealogy."
Panel discussion: "The co-existence of preservation
and progress - the Dallas story."
Texas Business Hall of Fame, Reception and
Friday, May 18:
Panel discussion: "Lifeline or Anchor? How
state historical organizations respond to local
Mini-conference presented by Preservation
Center of North Texas. "Making Historic Preservation
Panel discussion: "Your future deserves a past:
Recording local histories."
Luncheon with guest speaker Raiford Stripling,
Panel discussion: "Tell me a story and I'll pass
it along: the values and methods of collecting
Awards Dinner with guest speakerJ. Evetts
Haley, Master of Range-Life anecdotes and
Tour of Historic Dallas.
Saturday, May 19:
"The Lone Star and the silver screen." Screening
of the film, MARCHING ON.
Panel discussion: "Mailbags and Money Bags: A
guide to fundraising for historic
Announcement of the 1984-1985 Officers and
Board of the Texas Historical Foundation.
Featured speaker: Mr. Ron Stone - "The Eyes
Special events will include a Texana bookstore,
movies, tours, and craft displays.
Complete program information and registration
materials will be forthcoming in the
Foundation helps decode
messages from the past.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Spring 1984, periodical, Spring 1984; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45446/m1/6/?rotate=90: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.