University of Texas Press

Texas Archaeology and Ethnohistory Series

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Texas Archaeology and Ethnohistory Series

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Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga

A Frontier Mission in South Texas

By Tamra Lynn Walter

In the early part of the eighteenth century, the Spanish colonial mission Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga was relocated from far south Texas to a site along the Guadalupe River in Mission Valley, Victoria County. This mission, along with a handful of others in south Texas, was established by the Spaniards in an effort to Christianize and civilize the local Native American tribes in the hopes that they would become loyal Spanish citizens who would protect this new frontier from foreign incursions. With written historical records scarce for Espíritu Santo, Tamra Walter relies heavily on material culture recovered at this site through a series of recent archaeological investigations to present a compelling portrait of the Franciscan mission system. By examining findings from the entire mission site, including the compound, irrigation system, quarry, and kiln, she focuses on questions that are rarely, if ever, answered through historical records alone: What was daily life at the mission like? What effect did the mission routine have on the traditional lifeways of the mission Indians? How were both the Indians and the colonizers changed by their frontier experiences, and what does this say about the missionization process? Walter goes beyond simple descriptions of artifacts and mission architecture to address the role these elements played in the lives of the mission residents, demonstrating how archaeology is able to address issues that are not typically addressed by historians. In doing so, she presents an accurate portrait of life in South Texas at this time. This study of Mission Espíritu Santo will serve as a model for research at similar early colonial sites in Texas and elsewhere.

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Hunter-Gatherer Mortuary Practices during the Central Texas Archaic

By Leland C. Bement

This detailed archaeological report describes the human skeletal remains, burial furnishings, and fauna recovered from the first carefully excavated hunter-gatherer burial site in central Texas.

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The Late Archaic across the Borderlands

From Foraging to Farming

Edited by Bradley J. Vierra

Why and when human societies shifted from nomadic hunting and gathering to settled agriculture engages the interest of scholars around the world. One of the most fruitful areas in which to study this issue is the North American Southwest, where Late Archaic inhabitants of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts of Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico turned to farming while their counterparts in Trans-Pecos and South Texas continued to forage. By investigating the environmental, biological, and cultural factors that led to these differing patterns of development, we can identify some of the necessary conditions for the rise of agriculture and the corresponding evolution of village life. The twelve papers in this volume synthesize previous and ongoing research and offer new theoretical models to provide the most up-to-date picture of life during the Late Archaic (from 3,000 to 1,500 years ago) across the entire North American Borderlands. Some of the papers focus on specific research topics such as stone tool technology and mobility patterns. Others study the development of agriculture across whole regions within the Borderlands. The two concluding papers trace pan-regional patterns in the adoption of farming and also link them to the growth of agriculture in other parts of the world.

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