Subsistence, Technology, and Site Use Through Time at 41HY160, the Tee Box Six Locale
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With a culture history of over 11,000 years the Springs Lake archaeological region in San Marcos is one of the most unique prehistoric archaeological areas in the state of Texas. Five archeological sites make up the core of this culture-rich region: 41HY37, 41HY147, 41HY160, 41HY161 and 41HY165. All are multi-component sites and, as such, offer extensive data on the area’s exploitation history as a continuously utilized freshwater spring site locale located at the interface of the Hill Country and the Blackland Prairies.
41HY160, known as the Tee Box Six Site, was the location for archaeological field schools in 1982 and 1983 conducted under the direction of Dr. Jim Garber. From these investigations it was determined that 41HY160 was a 200 m x 300 m x 2.4 m prehistoric campsite with occupations that date from the Early Archaic to the Late Prehistoric. Additionally, Paleo-Indian projectile points of Golondrina and Scottsbluff types were recovered, although their presence has been attributed to fill dirt brought in from another area in association with the construction of a golf course under which the site now lies. Artifacts recovered from the site include approximately 500 stone tools, 35,000 pieces of lithic debitage and an abundance of faunal remains. Prior to this Thesis, no analysis of this material had been attempted and the only published material on this site is a short article in La Tierra and a report synthesis was needed for these early investigations to add to the growing base of knowledge for this important archaeological locale. While literature regarding Site 41HY160 is lacking, other sites at Aquarena Springs have been the subject of recent work, including geoarchaeological studies of the immediate Spring Lake area. These studies suggest that the soil deposits at site 41HY160 were the result of continual deposition over time and that the thicker alluvial soils at 41HY160 have great potential for the segregation of archaeological materials with deposits that date from, at least, the Early Archaic to the Historic Period.
With representative elements from the Early, Middle, Late Archaic I and Late Archaic II time periods as well as from the Late Prehistoric I, and Late Prehistoric II, lithic and faunal data collected during the 1982 and 1983 field school sessions were utilized in this thesis to identify assemblage variation in order to diachronically compare site-use at the Tee Box Six locale of 41HY160. As a continuously inhabited site, 41HY160 lends itself to such an examination because location and raw material availability remain fixed constants. The governing theoretical approach of this study is that technological organization, as identified through lithic analysis, is a proxy indicator of practiced mobility, site use, and, when correlated faunal data, subsistence exploitation strategy.
For the Early Archaic it is hypothesized that 41HY160 was utilized by highly mobile hunters and gathering peoples as a short-term logistical site. During this time, early stage reduction was conducted at 41HY1670 with blanks and early stage bifaces manufactured for use elsewhere. At the same time, there is evidence of moderate amounts of late stage biface production and/or rejuvenation. High mobility is again posited for the Middle Archaic, although the lithic and faunal assemblages indicate a move away from logistical towards residential site use with lithic data suggesting expedient tools utilized locally with bifaces manufactured locally but utilized as tools as flake tool sources elsewhere. With bison only appearing in the Middle Archaic faunal assemblage for 41HY160, it is suggested that they were pursued, butchered, and consumed at locales away from 41HY160. Large-sized mammals such as deer and pronghorn antelope were acquired and processed and consumed locally.
Lithic analysis suggests that during the Late Archaic I, the inhabitants of 41HY160 were still highly mobile with biface technology utilized more intensively than expedient core technology with less intensive initial reduction occurring at 41HY160. Although high numbers of late stage bifaces are represented in the assemblage, debitage analysis suggests that mid and late stage core reduction and expedient tool production was utilized at 41HY160. Co-varying with the significant low amounts of these extra-large sized mammals in the faunal assemblage is evidence for increased sedentism and expedient core reduction and simple flake tool use. Sometime during the Late Archaic II, bison return in greater numbers and their logistical exploitation apparently covarys with observed changes in the lithic technological organization of this time period with evidence of increased biface manufacture intended for use at locales away from 41HY160. At the same time, expedient flake tools are utilized at 41HY160, suggesting that while logistical forays occurred, intensive site use and decreased residential mobility occurred during the Late Archaic II.
It is posited that the increase of fragmented deer and/or pronghorn bone observed at 41HY160 during the Late Prehistoric I is an indicator of an increase in duration of occupation, an increase in the number of inhabitants, or both, possibly in association with a waning presence of bison. This time period bears first witness to localized use of non-expedient flake tools in large numbers. With abraded platforms, that may have resulted post-detachment, there may be a correlation between these tools and increased bone fragmentation.
During the Late Prehistoric II-Historic, we see the exploitation of the bison in its highest numbers. Still, the evidence suggests that bone processing intensified further. Together this is taken as evidence for increased site use or as an indicator of population growth. While expedient tool use continued at 41HY160, the lithic assemblage indicates that bifaces were both manufactured and used locally as well as away at logistical sites with very high significant numbers of complex platformed flake tools and large size abraded platforms dominating the debitage assemblage. Still, significant amounts of large-sized debris and large flat platformed flakes may be indicative of intensive core reduction, although the lack of cortical platformed flakes suggests initial decortication was done off-site.