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State Parks Offer Hands-On Connection With Texas Archeology
AUSTIN, Texas — October is Archeology Month, and numerous Texas state parks are hosting tours that afford visitors the chance to get up close and personal with history at places where archeologists have uncovered important clues to the past.
For instance, an archeological survey this year at Mission Tejas State Park in Grapeland has identified Native American Indian artifacts in the park. Artifacts found in several sites hail from the late prehistoric time, also called the "contact period," when European settlers coexisted with Native Americans. *
Todd McMakin, Cultural Resources Specialist for East Texas, says "We are excited about this new evidence for the Nabedache Village at Mission Tejas State Park. Not only can this information be used to enhance our interpretation at the park, but it can also be used to identify the true nature of this Caddoan village. These sites will be important to our interpretation of Caddoan life during the late 17th century."
From the findings, park interpreters will now be able to share more of this land’s history with the public. Visitors to Mission Tejas can go on a monthly, guided tour of the Nabedache sites and can attend the archeology fair in October. But this is only one of several sites where visitors can connect with the past during Archeology Month in October. Here are more.
- October — Hueco Tanks State Historic Site — Pictograph Tours — Every Wednesday through Sunday, by prior arrangement. See historic and prehistoric pictographs while walking among the unique rock formations of Hueco Tanks. Hear about and view the beautiful wildlife, plant life and history of this oasis in the desert. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.; reservations required, (915) 849-6684. (915) 857-1135.
- October — Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site — Fate Bell Cave Dwelling Tour — Every Wednesday through Sunday. Take a walking, guided tour to one of North America’s oldest cave dwellings, with walls covered by Pecos River-style pictographs, some 4,000 years old. 10-11:30 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m.; fees $3 adults, $1 children ages 6-12; tours are subject to cancellation (432) 292-4464.
- October — Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site — White Shaman Tour — Every Saturday. Guided, two-hour hiking tour into the Pecos River canyon on the Galloway White Shaman Preserve to view the White Shaman. This pictograph, done in Pecos River style, has great detail. Tours are subject to cancellation. 12:30-2:30 p.m.; fees, $10 per person, (432) 292-4464
- Oct. 2 — San Angelo State Park — Petroglyph Tour — Visit the site of a Native American village and see Native American rock art. Less than 100-yard walk. Meet at the South Shore gatehouse of the park. 10-11:30 a.m. (325) 949-4757.
- Oct. 10 — Mission Tejas State Park — Archeology Tour — This half-mile hike will take you through three centuries of history associated with the first Christian church in what is now Texas. It will include stories of how Texas got its name, the little Caddoan girl, Angelina, Farmer Moore’s contribution, the Civilian Conservation Corps involvement with the mission and park, and a visit to the sites of the Nabedache Indian village and the trace of the El Camino Real where it came through park. 10-11:30 a.m. (936) 687-2394.
- Oct. 16 — Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site — Archeology Fair — There will be archeology presentations and craft demonstrations appropriate to the Caddoan Indian culture. Details to be announced. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. (936) 687-2394.
- Oct. 16-17 — Hueco Tanks State Historic Site — 10th Annual Interpretive Fair, The activities of the weekend will showcase the unique cultural history and natural features of Hueco Tanks State Historic Site. Attractions include song, dance and drumming by Mescalero Apache, Kiowa and Tigua groups, folklorico, charro and matachin performances, pictograph tours, atl-atl throwing competition for youth, cowboy poetry and a Saturday evening campfire program. There will also be educational displays and traditional food and gifts for sale. Admission is free; donations to the site’s Lone Star Legacy Fund are welcome. 8 a.m. — 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 16. 8 a.m. — 5:30 pm on Oct. 17. (915) 857-1135.
- Oct. 16 — Mission Tejas State Park — Archeology Fair — There will be archeology presentations and craft demonstrations appropriate to the Caddoan Indian culture. Details to be announced. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (936) 687-2394.
- Oct. 23 — Ray Roberts Lake State Park, Johnson Branch Unit — Archeology Celebration — Park employee Diane Dismukes will present information and a demonstration of atlatl throwing. Visitors will also be able to see the Artifact Trunk from TPWD Archeology Lab. 2-4 p.m. (940) 637-2294. **
- Oct. 23 — Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site — Presa Canyon Tour — Go on an all-day hike in the lower canyons to view the rock art sites in the closed area of the park. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; fee, $20 Texas State Parks Pass members, $25 non-members; reservations required and will not be taken more than 30 days in advance, some restrictions apply, tour subject to cancellation (432) 292-4464.
For more information about all of these events, call the individual state parks, or phone state park information at (800) 792-1112.
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