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2024 TAS Field School         

Welcome to Nacogdoches 2024!

June 8-15, 2024


 REGISTRATION NOW OPEN



Our schedule of events is here! Click below to download the 2024 Daily Schedule.


2024 Daily Schedule


This year, the Texas Archeological Society (TAS) invites members to attend the annual summer Field School in Nacogdoches County.    Mail in and online registration is now open!

Camping

The TAS campground will be located at the Nacogdoches County Exposition and Civic Center. The center is located on the west side of Nacogdoches at 3805 NW Stallings Drive.  Meals and evening programs will be held at Barn 3 and Registration and t-shirt pick up will be located just across the Midway from Barn 3.  In the same building as the registration booth there are separate Men's and Women's bathrooms available for use. Camping will be located in the back acreage beyond the Barn and Registration area.  There are plenty of locations that will offer shade and site selection will be first come, first served. Electrical outlets are available throughout the expo center facility for battery charging and other necessities, but these will be shared between all campers. 

In addition to areas suitable for tent camping, the facility offers 32 water and electrical hook-ups available for RVs, and these can be reserved through TAS.  Both 30 and 50 amp spots are available for $30/day.  TAS will collect fees for these sites at Registration upon arrival.  No dump station is available on the grounds, but flushing toilets are located in the Registration building.  See the map to the right for the RV camping area and Registration building.  Please email tasfieldschool@gmail.com to indicate your interest in reserving an RV spot.  Be sure to include # days and 30 or 50 amp requirements. 

Showers for all TAS participants will be located in the Civic center's main bathroom facility near the front of the property.  This wonderful facility offers 4 private showers each for men and women as well as an ADA compliant shower in each bathroom.

When you arrive (registration opens on Friday) to set up your camp at the expo grounds or to check into your hotel, come to the registration area to sign in and receive your name tag, crew assignments, t-shirt, and other important and vital information.  Potable water is available throughout the facility.  Jack Pool, our camp boss will be stationed at camp and lodging in the RV area.   There are numerous shade trees in the camping area, but as always, we encourage attendees to bring a shade shelter for use in camp or in the field.

The cooking trailer will be conveniently located near Registration and Barn 3.  Registrants may prepare your own meals, or our cooks will be serving breakfast and supper all week for paying customers.  See the registration form to sign up for meals. Ice will also be available for purchase near the registration area (cash only). Portable toilets will be scattered throughout the campground and adjacent to the excavation areas. A trash container will be provided at camp for your use, so bag your trash and use the dumpsters. 

​Please see the General Info and Camp page for what to expect in camp, camp rules, suggested camp equipment and a general daily schedule. The camp boss or designee will remain in camp during the day to provide security for our campground.  

Nearby Lodging and Restaurants

As always, we encourage TAS members to camp at the arranged field school campground and join us for breakfast and evening meals. However, there are many hotels and motels, along with a wide variety of restaurants serving food from traditional Mexican to delicious East Texas style barbeque within a five-mile radius.   Please visit the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau website at https://www.visitnacogdoches.org/ for links containing a wealth of information about accommodations, dining, and "things to do".  

2024 Field School Activities

Activities include evening lectures, workshops, the Archeolympics competition, and of course the Wally margarita party with live music.  Also, teachers receive CPE credit hours for most Field School activities including afternoon and evening programs (please indicate your interest on the registration form).

On Thursday evening of field school, the TAS will host an artifact identification night and public presentation for the local community.  Professional and avocational archeologists will be available to provide artifact type identifications and other information about private collections.  We encourage everyone to come and talk with the archeologists about their artifacts and the unique history of the Nacogdoches area! 


Archeolympics 2024

All are invited to compete in the eighth annual field school Archeolympics on Wednesday.  Archeolympics are a series of games and activities designed mostly to test knowledge of tasks, or skills, that prehistoric people relied on for daily survival, such as hunting skills and fire starting. This event is all about having fun and learning about ancient lifeways. This year we will have three primitive skill events, Friction Fire Starting, Atlatl and Rabbit Stick throwing. We may also have a couple of other events, Cordage Making and 1-x-1 m Unit Layout. Sign-up sheets will be available during Field School and we look forward to having lots of folks give it a try.  For fire starting, we will have a limited number of fire starting kits including a spindle, hearth board, and kindling but members are encouraged to bring their own.  Both hand and bow drills are fine and the first person to produce a visible flame will be the winner.  Rabbit stick throwing will have two categories, youth 12 and under and adult 13 and over. Soccer balls will be used as targets simulating small game and scoring will be for accuracy. Rabbit Sticks will be provided but you may bring your own.   The Atlatl competition will be divided into novice and skilled classes. We will probably have enough darts for all but if you have an atlatl and darts, please bring them. There will also be a team contest with 2-5 person teams. Targets will be set up on hay bales and again, accuracy will determine winners.  If you have your own atlatl or darts, please consider bringing them.

Sign up will be available at registration. Several instructors will be available to help you practice to win!

The Archeology

This year, TAS is fortunate to conduct excavations at the Gallant Falls Site (41NA344), an important contact period site and two nearby and associated Hainai Caddo structures at 41NA338 (the Ben Gallant site) and 41NA346 (the Belle Gallant site). The Mission Concepcion was established at this location by Franciscan Friars during the St. Denis expedition as a base for converting Hasinai to Catholicism an to facilitate trade through the area. In 1731, the mission was moved to its present-day location in the San Antonio area. Work will occur at the posited location of the mission structure itself. Expected artifacts include ceramics, (both Caddo and European), lithics, early-18th century English and French artifacts (horse tack, armaments, domestic and trade items are possibilities), charcoal, and faunal remains. The Youth Group will have an exciting excavation area as well at the main site.


As always participants can choose to spend the week conducting prehistoric excavation, survey, or lab. The survey option offers the opportunity to discover new archeological sites and learn proper recording techniques on nearby ranches while the lab participants will help process the volumes of artifacts as they come in from the field excavations.  The dates for the 2024 Field School will be June 8-15.  We know this will be a field school to remember!


2024 TAS Field School T-shirt Design 










2023-2024 TAS Field School Director

Dr. Tamra Walter


Tamra L. Walter is currently an Associate Professor of Archaeology at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She earned her B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. at the University of Montana at Missoula. Her research interests include the Spanish Colonial era in Texas with a specific focus on missions and presidios. She has conducted excavations at numerous colonial sites in Texas including Missions Espiritu Santo, San Lorenzo, and San Jose, and Presidio San Saba. In addition to her work in Texas, she has also conducted research in Coastal Ecuador where she has assisted in the investigation of Formative period sites in the Manabi province. 




Site 41NA338 was first recorded in March 2010 and is a domestic location with Caddo ceramics generally co-varying with European material from the first half of the 19th Century. Previous work here has identified evidence of a Caddo house structure including remnants of a center-post stain and a large pit feature. The recovered assemblage from here includes Caddo and 19th Century European/American ceramics, lithic debitage, gunflint, metal including square nails, bone, glass, and brick.

Located 40 meters south of Site 41NA338, site 41NA346 was first recorded in June 2010 and is an apparent Anglo domestic location of the late 19th or early 20th Century with a potential Caddo component. The recovered assemblage includes Caddo and European/American ceramics, lithic debitage, pitted/hammer stone, glass, metal including square nail and possible altered rifle barrel, and brick.

Objectives of the 2023-2024  TAS Field School:

Collectively, these three sites offer TAS the opportunity to work on contact-period archeological sites that will add to our understanding of mission and Caddo-village life at this important time of Texas history. For this year’s field school the investigative goals will be:

  • ·       At 41NA344, define the limits and nature of the possible mission structure itself and document in situ and recover remaining elements of the associated assemblage that would aid in identifying the activities that occurred during occupation of the structure and confirming this as a mission site.

·       At 41NA338 and 41NA346, define the limits of the known structures and try to determine how many structures are represented (not uncommon for Caddo sites to have structures rebuilt over past house areas) and to recover associated assemblages that would help put these sites in context with each other and as they relate to the Mission.



Selected Reading:


Bolton. (1970). Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century: Studies in Spanish Colonial History and Administration. Published in cooperation with the Texas State Historical Association [by] University of Texas Press.

Buckley, E. C. (1911). The Aguayo Expedition into Texas and Louisiana, 1719-1722. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, 15(1), 1–65. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30243078

Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission., Folk, P. Joseph., Castañeda, C. E. (1936-1958). Our Catholic heritage in Texas, Volume II, 1519-1936. Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co.

Chabot. (1935). Mission La Purissima Concepcion: Being an account of its founding in East Texas, its removal to the waters of the San Antonio and its present location near the city. Naylor Co.

Chipman. (1992). Spanish Texas, 1519-1821 (First edition). University of Texas Press.

Day, Connally, J. B., Daniel, P., Winfrey, D. H., Tinkle, L., Frantz, J. B., Schmitz, J. W., & Procter, B. H. (1965). Six missions of Texas ([First edition]). Texian Press.

Eckhart, G. B. (1967). Spanish Missions of Texas 1680-1800. Kiva, 32(3), 73–95. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30247886

Espinosa's Diary of the 1716 Entrada. University of Arizona Press. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2022, from https://open.uapress.arizona.edu/read/the-presidio-and-militia-volume2-part2/section/35efabcd-2934-42d9-9aef-8167a50b6a2d

Foster. (1995). Spanish expeditions into Texas, 1689-1768 (First edition). University of Texas Press.

Gómez. (1991). Spanish Borderlands Sourcebooks: Documentary evidence for the Spanish missions of Texas. Garland.

Habig. (1968). The Alamo chain of Missions : A history of San Antonio's five old missions. Franciscan Herald Press.

Heusinger. (1936). Early Explorations and Mission Establishments in Texas. The Naylor company.

Ivey, James E, and Anne A Fox. “Archaeological Investigations at Mission Concepción and Mission Parkway.” Index of Texas Archaeology, 1999, https://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/ita/vol1999/iss1/5/.


Jackson, Morris K., Tom Middlebrook, George Avery, Harry Shafer, and Barbara Messner (2012). Trade and Cultural Interaction Along El Camino Real de los Tejas. Volume I

Jackson, Morris K., Tom Middlebrook, George Avery, Harry Shafer, and Barbara Messner (2012). Trade and Cultural Interaction Along El Camino Real de los Tejas. Volume II

McCaleb. (1961). Spanish Missions of Texas. (Revised edition). Naylor.

Peña, & Santos, R. G. (1981). Aguayo expedition into Texas, 1721 : an annotated translation of the five versions of the diary kept by Br. Juan Antonio de la Peña. Jenkins Pub. Co.

Pena's Account of the 1720-1722 Entrada. University of Arizona Press. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2022, from https://open.uapress.arizona.edu/read/adadb9ce-1720-4a68-939f-29c192bb3fec/section/2100f987-fff6-4ade-9516-825e2a74f304#page_398

Perttula. (1992). The Caddo Nation: archaeological and ethnohistoric perspectives (First edition). University of Texas Press.

Imagining Texas: An Historical Journey With Maps. The History Center. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2022, from https://www.thehistorycenteronline.com/exhibits/grid/imagining-texas-an-historical-journey-with-maps/683

Ramón, J. Domingo., Foik, P. J. (Paul Joseph). (1933). Captain Don Domingo Ramón's diary of his expedition into Texas in 1716. Austin: St. Edward's University, Headquarters of the Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission.

https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/101507501

Scarborough, W. F. (1928). OLD SPANISH MISSIONS IN TEXAS: IV. NUESTRA SENORA DE LA PURISSIMA CONCEPCION DE ACUNA. Southwest Review, 14(1), 86–105. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43465893

A few of the above resources have direct link to their texts. For an annotated bibliography on much of these resources, graciously put together by Texas Tech Anthropology Graduate Student, Alexander Hernandez, please click here.


Texas Archeological Society

tasoffice@txarch.org


Texas Archeological Society, Department of Anthropology, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666-4616


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