We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Toyah Phase of Central Texas

Late Prehistoric Economic and Social Processes

Edited by Nancy A. Kenmotsu and Douglas K. Boyd

Publication Year: 2012

In the fourteenth century, a culture arose in and around the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas that represents the last prehistoric peoples before the cultural upheaval introduced by European explorers. This culture has been labeled the Toyah phase, characterized by a distinctive tool kit and a bone-tempered pottery tradition. ?Spanish documents, some translated decades ago, offer glimpses of these mobile people. Archaeological excavations, some quite recent, offer other views of this culture, whose homeland covered much of Central and South Texas. For the first time in a single volume, this book brings together a number of perspectives and interpretations of these hunter-gatherers and how they interacted with each other, the pueblos in southeastern New Mexico, the mobile groups in northern Mexico, and newcomers from the northern plains such as the Apache and Comanche.? Assembling eight studies and interpretive essays to look at social boundaries from the perspective of migration, hunter-farmer interactions, subsistence, and other issues significant to anthropologists and archaeologists, The Toyah Phase of Central Texas: Late Prehistoric Economic and Social Processes demonstrates that these prehistoric societies were never isolated from the world around them. Rather, these societies were keenly aware of changes happening on the plains to their north, among the Caddoan groups east of them, in the Puebloan groups in what is now New Mexico, and among their neighbors to the south in Mexico.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Texas A&M University Anthropology Series


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-x

Understanding the economics and interaction of hunter-gatherers has been and continues to be a focus of archaeological research. The people in these societies often moved in small groups but maintained relationships with “others” across diverse languages and sociocultural barriers. ...

read more

1. The Toyah Phase in Texas: An Introduction and Retrospective

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-18

The greater central Texas region was home to hunter-gatherers for thousands of years. As such, the region presents an opportunity to study the economies of small groups, how they interacted with neighbors near and far, how they handled risk, the extent of their mobility, and perhaps how and why their cultures changed through time (Collins 2004). ...

read more

2. The Toyah Phase and the Ethnohistorical Record: A Case for Population Aggregation

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 19-43

The variability archaeologists observe in material culture (artifacts, features, use of space, etc.) has long been associated with “social groups, whose boundaries are [believed] marked by distinctive patterns in the archaeological record” (Stark 1998:1). Distinguishing social boundaries in order to understand identity and interaction, ...

read more

3. Defining Hunter-Gatherer Sociocultural Identity and Interaction at a Regional Scale: The Toyah/Tejas Social Field

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 44-75

Toyah represents one of the largest and, arguably, least understood Late Prehistoric archaeological records in North America. Centered in the extreme Southern Plains in what is today central and south Texas, Toyah material culture is distributed across approximately 25 percent of the state (174,000 km2) ...

read more

4. The Role of Exotic Materials in Toyah Assemblages in a Late Prehistoric Economic and Social System

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 76-89

Exotic materials in Toyah assemblages, although relatively uncommon, are reminders that Toyah peoples had alliances and contacts with neighboring peoples. Artifacts and other cultural materials, such as Caddoan pottery, obsidian, and marine shells, offer us unique opportunities to examine this economic and social network. ...

read more

5. Reconsidering the Role of Bison in the Terminal Late Prehistoric (Toyah) Period in Texas

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 90-110

Since 1974, Dillehay’s influential article detailing bison on archaeological sites on the Southern Plains has shaped views of subsistence in south and central Texas. This has especially been the case in the Toyah phase. The supposed return of large numbers of bison around ad 1300 (650 BP), combined with the appearance of a host of traits including ...

read more

6. Bone Processing and Subsistence Stress in Late Prehistoric South Texas

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 111-127

On the basis of diet breadth theory, archaeologists often use the intensity of marginal food exploitation to measure the level of subsistence stress experienced by prehistoric peoples. The frequent occurrence of subsistence stress among Toyah phase groups inhabiting the south Texas plains can be investigated using ecological, ethnohistorical, and bioarchaeological evidence. ...

read more

7. What Is Northern Toyah Phase? The Toyah Phenomenon on the Texas Southern Plains

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 128-151

Bone-tempered pottery, Perdiz arrow points, and bison-processing tools are hallmarks of the Toyah phase in central and south Texas between AD 1300 and 1700. What, then, do the northernmost Toyah-like remains found on the southern Llano Estacado represent? An expansion of Toyah culture tradition northward from their central Texas homeland? ...

read more

8. Plains-Pueblo Interaction: A View from the “Middle”

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 152-180

Bloom Mound, gutted by vocational archaeologists and pothunters more than sixty years ago, is a tantalizing enigma on the prehistoric landscape of southeastern New Mexico. Despite its apparent diminutive size (only ten rooms were known to local amateurs) and its remote location far out in the grasslands of southeastern New Mexico, ...

read more

9. Toyah: Reflections on Evolving Perceptions

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 181-204

I appreciate the invitation to comment on this excellent collection focused on the Toyah interval of greater central Texas, a time and cultural phenomenon that encompasses the dynamic transition from prehistory into the written history of that region. Each chapter examines varying aspects of Toyah, and all are thoughtfully researched and presented in logical fashion. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 205-244

List of Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. 245


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 247-254

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF

E-ISBN-13: 9781603447553
E-ISBN-10: 1603447555
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603446907
Print-ISBN-10: 1603446907

Page Count: 356
Illustrations: 14 b&w photos. 41 maps. 2 line art. 13 figs. 13 tables. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Texas A&M University Anthropology Series
Series Editor Byline: Steele, D. Gentry See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 813285484
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Toyah Phase of Central Texas

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Toyah phase -- Texas -- Congresses.
  • Indians of North America -- Texas -- History -- Congresses.
  • Indians of North America -- Texas -- Antiquities -- Congresses.
  • Indians of North America -- Texas -- Ethnic identity -- Congresses.
  • Indians of North America -- Material culture -- Texas -- Congresses.
  • Texas -- Antiquities -- Congresses.
  • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Texas -- Congresses.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access