Archaeological investigations at the last Spanish colonial mission established on the Texas frontier: Nuestra Señora del Refugio (41RF1), Refugio County, Texas Volume II: Osteological Analyses




Meadows Jantz, Lee
Jantz, Richard L.
Herrmann, Nicholas P.
Sparks, Corey S.
Weisensee, Katherine E.
Kopp, Derinna V.

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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio


This report presents the skeletal analysis of the human remains from the cemetery associated with the nineteenth-century Spanish mission site of Refugio (41RF1). The project was initiated by the Texas Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Center for Archaeological Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio, as a result of highway improvement in Refugio County, Texas. Excavation of the Campo Santo, or Catholic cemetery, associated with Mission Nuestra Señora del Refugio, was conducted in the summer and fall of 1999 by the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR). The University of Tennessee was contracted with to conduct the skeletal analysis of any human remains that might be excavated from the impact zone of the highway project. The scientific and historical significance of the Refugio Mission cemetery is clear. Due to the hunting and gathering lifeways of the Karankawa, no known or documented cemeteries have been analyzed. Therefore, little is known concerning the biology of this now extinct population, and this project provides the opportunity to answer questions and perhaps even dispel myths regarding this group. On Monday, January 17, 2000, representatives of CAR, delivered 93 boxes containing human skeletal remains to the Osteology Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Lee Meadows Jantz, Nicholas P. Herrmann, and Corey S. Sparks received the remains. These remains were kept in a secured lab and examined for burial inventory and preliminary analysis from January 17-20, 2000. Over the following months, Meadows Jantz, Herrmann, and Sparks analyzed the remains beginning with the Burial Feature 2 remains and proceeded sequentially. Derrina Kopp and Katherine Weisensee later joined the team. Analysis was conducted according to an established protocol put forth by Owsley and Jantz (1989). For each burial, composite identification numbers (COMPID) were given, and the skeletal elements were sorted and laid on trays organized anatomically. The COMPIDs consist of the archaeological site number, 41RF1, followed by the burial feature number, for example BP02. The assigned burial number was then added to the end for a COMPID. An example is 41RF1-BP05-032 which indicates it is from Burial Feature 5 and is Burial 32 from the series.



archaeological investigation, archaeology, Texas archaeology, Mission Nuestra Señora del Refugio, Refugio County, Catholic church, Spanish missions, archaeological surveying, Karankawa Indians, excavations, faunal analysis, burials, Indians of North America, archival research, ceramics, skeletal analysis