2019 Investigations of Protohistoric-age Hunter-Gatherers at Macy Locality 126

Stance Hurst, Field Manager, Lubbock Lake Landmark

Published in Current ResearchLubbock Lake Landmark

The focus of the first six weeks of the 2019 field season was excavation at Macy Locality 126 — a Protohistoric-age (1450-1650) site. Volunteers from Texas, Oklahoma, and California joined the Landmark research team. Notable among the volunteers was a returning member after 47 years who first worked with Dr. Eileen Johnson during her second season of excavation at the Lubbock Lake Landmark in 1973 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Volunteers excavating at Macy Locality 126 during the 2019 field season.
Figure 1. Volunteers excavating at Macy Locality 126 during the 2019 field season.

Macy Locality 126 was located on a terrace overlooking the South Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River within the Post research area. Previous surveys and excavation at Macy Locality 126 took place between 2008-2012 and 2018. The focus of this work was on the southern section of the locality that was more heavily eroded.

This locality was a regularly used campsite location. Multiple hearths were found and excavated in the previous field seasons. Two hearths superimposed on top of each other were found, indicating the same hearth was used numerous times in different years. Stone tools recovered surrounding the hearth features indicated they were being used for processing animal remains. Also, stone tool manufacturing debris suggested the manufacture of new stone tools and maintenance of transported stone tools occurred at the site.

Hunter-gatherers at this locality were regular traders with Puebloan agricultural peoples of the Southwest and possibly the Caddoan people of East Texas. Southwest trade items included obsidian flaked stone, Apache Micaceous and El Paso Brownware ceramic sherds, and a turquoise bead. The turquoise bead was a disk shape typical for aboriginal beads originating in the Southwest. The Apache micaceous sherds originated from the Taos/northeastern New Mexico area. El Paso Brownware had its center of production in the El Paso area. Obsidian often was gathered from gravel deposits along New Mexico’s Rio Grande River. Ceramic sherds with fingernail impressions suggested these hunter-gatherers also may have been trading with Caddoan people of East Texas. Further work, however, would be needed to confirm the source of these pottery sherds.

Excavation of a new area at Macy Locality 126, located north of the previous work, was the focus of the 2019 field season. In 2018, a survey revealed a new hearth feature and associated stone tool material that had eroded out of the terrace edge. Results of this further excavation showed that the occupations at Macy Locality 126 were much more extensive than previously thought.

Excavation of the new eroding hearth and surrounding areas has revealed numerous stone tools and associated manufacturing debris. Several large Apache micaceous ceramic sherds (Figure 2) have been found. The excavation of these new additional units indicates that the occupations at Macy Locality 126 extend much farther to the north of the site. The objects within the northern portion of the locality are more buried than at the southern part of the site. This observation is because it indicates much more is to be discovered at Macy Locality 126 than previously realized. The Landmark team currently is planning for additional excavations at Macy Locality 126 for next summer.

Figure 2. Apache micaceous sherd found during excavation at Macy Locality 126 during the 2019 field season.
Figure 2. Apache micaceous sherd found during excavation at Macy Locality 126 during the 2019 field season.

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