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The Archaeology of the Caddo

Timothy K. Perttula

Publication Year: 2012

This landmark volume provides the most comprehensive overview to date of the prehistory and archaeology of the Caddo peoples. The Caddos lived in the Southeastern Woodlands for more than 900 years beginning around A.D. 800–900, before being forced to relocate to Oklahoma in 1859. They left behind a spectacular archaeological record, including the famous Spiro Mound site in Oklahoma as well as many other mound centers, plazas, farmsteads, villages, and cemeteries.

The Archaeology of the Caddo examines new advances in studying the history of the Caddo peoples, including ceramic analysis, reconstructions of settlement and regional histories of different Caddo communities, Geographic Information Systems and geophysical landscape studies at several spatial scales, the cosmological significance of mound and structure placements, and better ways to understand mortuary practices. Findings from major sites and drainages such as the Crenshaw site, mounds in the Arkansas River basin, Spiro Mound, the Oak Hill Village site, the George C. Davis site, the Willow Chute Bayou Locality, the Hughes site, Big Cypress Creek basin, and the McClelland and Joe Clark sites are also summarized and interpreted. This volume reintroduces the Caddos’ heritage, creativity, and political and religious complexity.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Title Page

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Copyright page

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-xii

List of Tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xvi

The archaeology of the Caddo Indian peoples that lived in the forested habitats of southwest Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas, in the far western reaches of the southeastern United States, has been the topic of archaeological inquiry since the early twentieth century...

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1. The Archaeology of the Caddo in Southwest Arkansas,Northwest Louisiana, Eastern Oklahoma, andEast Texas: An Introduction to the Volume

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pp. 1-25

This volume examines the archaeology of the Caddo Indians who lived in southwest Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, eastern Oklahoma, and east Texas from at least as early as 2,500 years ago, if not before then, ca. 3,300 years ago based on glottochronological dates and maize term evaluations (Brown 2006:table 47-4), until they were removed to Oklahoma....

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2. Form and Structure in Prehistoric Caddo Pottery Design

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pp. 26-46

Complex decorative patterns and vessel shapes made by prehistoric Caddo potters represent one of the great independent and in situ developments of North American Indian ceramic technology. Archaeologists typically use patterns and designs as sources of cultural-historical information (cf. Phillips 1970; Schambach and Miller 1984). The highly sophisticated and nonrepresentational...

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3. At the House of the Priest: Faunal Remains from the Crenshaw Site (3MI6), Southwest Arkansas

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pp. 47-85

Zooarchaeologists have become more sensitive to the effects of ritual, status differences, and feasting in producing faunal assemblages that diverge from more ordinary cultural patterns. For instance, at Cahokia, in Illinois, analyses of the Sub-Mound 51 borrow pit contents have provided a detailed look at the residues of ceremonial feasting and ritual activities on the main plaza...

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4. Bioarchaeological Evidence of Subsistence Strategies among the East Texas Caddo

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pp. 86-116

Food is important symbolically because it is one of the few cultural components necessary to sustain life. As omnivores, humans pursue a vast array of diets, chosen at least as much for environmental and economic reasons as for history and identity (Sahlins 1972). Archaeological studies of subsistence...

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5. Spiro Reconsidered: Sacred Economy at the WesternFrontier of the Eastern Woodlands

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pp. 117-138

In the summer of 1935 an unparalleled collection of fancy goods and exotic materials was pulled from the large central feature of a hitherto obscure mound lying at the western edge of the Mississippian cultural world (Clements 1945; Orr 1946). The abundance of copper and marine shell objects with imagery...

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6. Viewshed Characteristics of Caddo Mounds in the Arkansas Basin

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pp. 139-176

Between 900 and 1400, Caddo populations in eastern Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, and southwest Missouri constructed large earthworks that required the sustained and organized efforts of large groups of people to complete. Some of the earthworks served as burial mounds, some covered the remains...

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7. Exploring Prehistoric Caddo Communities through Archaeogeophysics

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pp. 177-208

Our understanding of how the prehistoric Caddo Indians organized their communities across natural and cultural landscapes has been heavily influenced by two primary source images. These are the 1691 map of the Upper Nasoni community drawn by an anonymous scribe from the Domingo Terán de...

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8. The Evolution of a Caddo Community in Northeast Texas

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pp. 209-238

Only rarely do prehistoric archaeologists in North America completely excavate and study an entire Native American community or village, particularly in the Caddoan area of northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma, southwest Arkansas, and northwest Louisiana. It is simply too costly in this day and age, even on cultural resources management projects, to complete such large...

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9. Settlement Patterns and Variation in Caddo Pottery Decoration: A Case Study of the Willow Chute Bayou Locality

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pp. 239-287

In the Caddo area, variation in pottery decoration serves as the major criterion for dividing the archaeological record into the spatial and temporal units upon which almost all studies are predicated. Despite being of fundamental importance, our understanding of such variation is limited, in part...

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10. Caddo in the Saline River Valley of Arkansas: The Borderlands Project and the Hughes Site

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pp. 288-312

Recent Caddo archaeology emphasizes the diversity in Caddo lifeways from one river valley to another across a broad region as well as transformations that took place through historical time. For example, Ann Early (2000:127) points to regional “variations on the common Caddo theme” that probably have roots...

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11. Spatial Patterns of Caddo Mound Sites in the West Gulf Coastal Plain of Arkansas

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pp. 313-334

During three weeks of each summer in 2001–2003, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Grandview Prairie Wildlife Management Area hosted the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Annual Field Training Program at a Caddo mound site called Tom Jones (3HE40). The annual program provides archaeological...

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12. Decisions in Landscape Setting Selection of thePrehistoric Caddo of Southeastern Oklahoma:A gis Analysis

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pp. 335-362

Since the 1950s archaeologists have been interested in the question of how sites are spatially distributed. In a seminal study Gordon Willey (1953) examined patterns in the distribution of prehistoric settlements in the Viru Valley in Peru. Willey argued that the patterns in settlement and their changes through...

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13. The Character of Fifteenth- to Seventeenth-CenturyCaddo Communities in the Big Cypress Creek Basinof Northeast Texas

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pp. 363-410

The Caddo peoples living in a number of communities in the Big Cypress Creek basin in northeastern Texas (fig. 13-1a) during the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries were a strong and socially powerful group in their region. They were farmers who lived in dispersed communities of individual...

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14. The Belcher Phase: Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-CenturyCaddo Occupation of the Red River Valley in NorthwestLouisiana and Southwest Arkansas

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pp. 411-430

The Belcher phase represents the peak of Caddo cultural development in the Red River valley of Northwest Louisiana. The phase, or focus as it was originally termed in the McKern system, was first proposed by Alex D. Krieger (1946) based on data from Clarence Webb’s excavations at a mound site near the small...

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15. The Terán Map and Caddo Cosmology

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pp. 431-448

The well-known Terán map of an Upper Nasoni village along the Red River, produced as a result of the 1691–1692 exploration of eastern Texas led by Domingo Terán de los Ríos, plays an important role in modern understandings of pre- and post-Columbian Caddo settlement patterns. The map reflects a dispersed...

References Cited

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pp. 449-498


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pp. 499-500


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pp. 501-516

E-ISBN-13: 9780803240469
E-ISBN-10: 0803240465
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803220966

Page Count: 632
Illustrations: 113 figures and 43 tables
Publication Year: 2012