Texas Archeology – The Prehistoric Period

Past cultures have left behind thousands of places across Texas evidence of how they lived. These places that contain the tools and other remains of lost of abandoned by long-ago people are called archeological sites. And for thousands of years of Texas history, these sites are the only source of knowledge. No other state can boast a richer array of historic and prehistoric sites or a more valuable legacy for present and future generations. What are some examples of major archeological sites?

Prehistory in the New World is defined as the long period of human occupation before the beginning of European exploration. Prehistoric sites include:

Archeologists are often portrayed as adventurers in pursuit of personal fame and golden treasure. In reality, they are more often methodically pursuing changes in the color and texture of common dirt. Burned lumps of clay and charcoal may be all that remains of an ancient hearth. Scatters of tiny stone flakes can show where nomadic bison hunters once made their knives and spear points.

Identifying these "changes in the dirt" is a slow and painstaking process, and not very glamorous, but it has revealed all that we know about thousands of years of the human past. Unfortunately, a single relic collector digging for "arrow-heads" can easily destroy a site in only a few hours. Nor are historic sites safe from vandals. Historic cemeteries as well as unmarked prehistoric burials are common targets. Relic collecting and vandalism destroy the past. Archeology discovers the past.

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