Texas Archeology – Historic Period
Historic sites – those that date after the coming of the Spanish in the 16th century – also often require archeological investigation before they reveal their centuries-old secrets.
Our understanding of historic sites can be enriched by combining archeological and historical study methods. What are some examples of significant historic archeological sites in Texas?
- Indian villages along the Red River dating from the late 18th century and early 19th centuries and containing evidence of early contacts with French Traders.
- Some of the best-preserved Spanish presidios and mission sites in the United States. Among the best known are the San Antonio missions, now encompassed in a national historic park.
- Shipwreck sites, off the Gulf Coast, containing some of the most valuable historical information and artifacts to be found in underwater sites in the Western Hemisphere. The wreck of La Salle's Belle, located in 1995, is a discovery of international significance.
- Federal forts stretching across the state from the northwestern Panhandle to the Mexican border and into far West Texas. Fort Davis, considered one of the most outstanding frontier forts in the Southwest, is a national historic park, and the other 19th-century forts are protected and preserved as state historic parks.
- Dugouts, log cabins, and simple stone and adobe structures-our legacy from pioneer settlers who moved westward across the land from the earliest days of Spanish settlement through the 19th century.
- Civil war period sites in Texas-battlefields, campsites, and armaments manufacturing sites. The last land engagement of the war took place at Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville.
- Sites of early industry in Texas, including railroad camps, mines, sawmills, pottery kilns, brick works, iron works, and cow camps. These sites tell of the roadworkers, the cowboys, and the laborers who live on in our folklore and literature but have too often been neglected in formal histories.
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