Heritage, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 1993 Page: 19
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Basketry, matting, netting fragments,
sandals, and miscellaneous cords and
knotted fiber pieces make up the assemblage
of fiber materials. The sandals are
also all of the fish-tail type; all are identically
made using narrow-leaf yucca fibers.
Four ceramic types were represented by
a total of 44 sherds. Identified by H.P. Mera
of the Museum of Anthropology in Santa
Fe in 1934, they are, in descending order of
occurrence: El Paso Brownware, El Paso
Polychrome, Broadline Red-on-Terracotta,
and Chupadero Black-on-White.
Wood artifacts at this site are represented
by rabbit sticks, dart and arrow
shafts, fire drills and boards, and a single
digging stick. None of these artifacts are
outstanding as far as manufacture is concerned,
but all contribute to an understanding
of the exploitation of the natural
resources in the area. Many of these
artifacts are constructed of hardwoods,
some are made of reeds, and others are of
more common desert plants.
Within the midden area, a pit was
identified by the looseness of its fill. The
pit fill included large basket and matting
fragments that were layered on top of
grass and twigs. Beneath these layers was
ashy dirt two to five inches deep.
Another notable discovery from the
midden deposit was a cache of mesquite
beans inside a well-preserved net pouch that
was hidden underneath an inverted basket.
The beans were mixed with large charcoal
chunks and ashy dirt. An additional pile, or
possible cache, of mesquite beans was found
elsewhere in the midden.
The range of artifacts from these two sites
appear to be fairly similar in terms of what
types are represented at each. The sandals
are just one example. All of the sandals from
both of the sites are of the same type. Also,
all appear to have been made from the same
kind of fibers. Though fish-tail sandals are
relatively common in collections from dry
caves in the El Paso area and other areas both
to the west and north, other types have also
been found in the same collections. This
exclusivity of the fish-tail type from the
Shelby Brooks Cave and Caldwell Ranch
Cave #1 could be relevant in at least one of
several ways. One possibility involves the
temporal aspect of occupation. If the fishtail
sandal only appears during a specific
time frame, as dated at other sites, then they
could be used at the Rustler Hills sites to
date at least a portion of the occupation.
Another possible relevancy of the sandal
types concerns their distribution through
out the region. If the fish-tail type can be
traced geographically to a specific place or
region of origin, then their presence in the
Rustler Hills may indicate either the
movement of a population of people
through this area, or merely the movement
of the technology.
In spite of the fact that the documentation
of the excavations from both of these
sites did not include thorough data on the
relative positioning of the artifacts as they
were recovered, the two assemblages do
provide data that can be used to better
understand the archaeology of this region.
The collections from Caldwell Cave #1
and from four other dry cave and shelter
sites have not been thoroughly analyzed
and have not been looked at as a group of
extremely similar sites within a fairly tight
cluster. This needs to be done because the
preservation of the collections from these
and other dry caves affords a unique glance
at the lives of the prehistoric occupants of
Christine Ward is an archaeologist with the
Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at
The University of Texas at Austin.
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HERITAGE * SPRING 1993 19
EXCAVATIONS AT TOWNSITE OF VELASCO
IN BRAZORIA COUNTY, 1992
STABILIZING BONFIRE SHELTER
IN VAL VERDE COUNTY. 1990
STORAGE PITS IN BEDROCK AT LAKE
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 11, Number 2, Spring 1993, periodical, Spring 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46808/m1/19/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.