The Archaeology of Skiles Shelter (41VV165): A Long-Term Rockshelter Plant Baking Facility in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas
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Skiles Shelter (41VV165) is located at the mouth of Eagle Nest Canyon, roughly 250 meters northwest from the Rio Grande in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of southwest Texas. Skiles Shelter is characterized by a fading panel of Pecos River Style rock art, numerous bedrock milling features, and a massive burned rock midden (BRM) accumulation of fire cracked rock (FCR) and cultural refuse. In 2013 and 2014, archaeologists with the Ancient Southwest Texas Project (ASWT) of Texas State University carried out extensive excavations in Skiles Shelter to better understand the rockshelter and how its archaeological deposits formed. Based on the initial excavation results, Skiles Shelter was hypothesized to have been used primarily as an earth oven facility for the baking and processing of plant and animal foods. This thesis further explores Skiles Shelter’s use as an earth oven facility through the examination of artifacts, samples, and data from the 2013 and 2014 excavations.