Archaeological investigations along the Leona River Watershed, Uvalde County, Texas

Lukowski, Paul D.
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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio

The investigations of four prehistoric sites in southwest-central Texas allow for research hypotheses relevant to regional questions, particularly the study of cultural changes between the Archaic and Late Prehistoric periods. The sites considered within this report are three campsites, two evidencing significant Late Prehistoric components, the other with primarily Archaic components, and a chert cobble quarry. The contract mitigation efforts provided surface and subsurface samples that allowed a descriptive and spatially detailed summary of the materials recovered. This database, which includes information on tool assemblages, lithic reduction technologies, faunal, floral, and invertebrate resources along with a series of radiocarbon dates is the basis for various intersite and intrasite analyses. The analyses demonstrate cultural changes between the Archaic and Late Prehistoric time periods. Noted are (1) differences in the site structure and utilization of midden and nonmidden activity areas; (2) significant alteration of the tool assemblages; and (3) changes in the lithic reduction sequences related to modification of the tool assemblages. At Archaic base camps, nonmidden site areas are the locus of numerous hearths where most of the tool and debitage generating activities took place. At Late Prehistoric camps, the middens appear to be spatially restricted feature/activity areas where the majority of all camp activity was concentrated. Technological changes from a biface reducing emphasis during the Archaic to an emphasis on flake tool production during the Late Prehistoric are demonstrated through the comparison of tool assemblages and debitage. Although interpretation was hampered by the problem of differential preservation, the floral and faunal remains recovered suggest that there is little evidence for significant environmental change over time. It is suggested that prehistoric environmental conditions varied little from recent times. However, the biotic communities associated with the Edwards Plateau region and the South Texas Plains are perhaps important factors affecting the prehistoric systems operating in the area. While the two regions offer potentially significant different resources, those resources within each of the regions are distributed such that only a small area surrounding base camps located along drainages offers a nearly complete range of subsistence needs, thus limiting the necessity of numerous task specific sites.

archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, Indians of North America, excavations, Uvalde County, Leona River Watershed, prehistoric archaeology, chronology