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Anthropology Research Collections

MISSION

The Anthropology Research Collections (ARC) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) supports and facilitates the Department of Anthropology’s goals of education and research on the holistic study of the human experience across space and through time. The ARC maintains and provides researchers access to cultural materials collected by TAMU faculty and students during anthropologically oriented research projects over the last 40 plus years. The guiding principal of the ARC mission is the knowledge that artifacts are non-renewable and irreplaceable material manifestations of human behavior which can be used to study human cultural behaviors across time.

Please direct any questions related to ARC to anth-arc@tamu.edu

COLLECTIONS

ARC-TAMU curates cultural materials from sites representing the earliest periods of human occupation in Texas up to the present including (but not limited to) the Duewall-Newberry mammoth site, Richard Beene, dry caves with spectacular preservation of perishable materials (Hinds and Granando Caves), and the historic sites of Camp Ford and Fort Brown. Our collections also include materials from sites abroad, namely Paleolithic Mousterian Neanderthal materials from the Nahr Ibrahim site in Lebanon.

CRM in the Anthropology Department: Much of the collections curated at ARC were excavated as part of the many Cultural Resources Management projects conducted by the department in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. One of the first major projects conducted by the department was the excavations at Hinds Cave out in West Texas. This project, as well as a number of other early projects were directed by Harry Shafer, Professor Emeritus of the department. Following the end of Dr. Shafer’s term as CRM project director, Erve Garrison was hired by the department in 1979. Then, Dr. David Carlson was hired in 1981 to take over as CRM director. The first contract was awarded in 1982 for work at Fort Hood. Several major projects were undertaken by the TAMU Archaeological Research Lab over the next ten years. ARC-TAMU curates the majority of the material collection from the Fort Hood Projects, the South Bend reservoir survey, and the All American Pipeline (among others). In the early 90s, Dr. Alston Thoms was hired to take over CRM operations and Archaeological Research Lab became the Center for Ecological Archaeology. Several major excavations were conducted by the CEA in the following years, primarily following state contracts for large infrastructure projects, including the Applewhite and Richard Beene sites, and Alabonson Road in Harris County. ARC-TAMU maintains materials, records, and site reports from these excavations and others conducted by department archaeologists.

Duewall-Newberry Site, Brazos County, Texas: ARC-TAMU – and the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History – houses the partial remains of a mammoth recovered from fine grained fluvial sediments exposed along the Brazos River during excavation between July and October 1983 at the Duewall-Newberry site (41BZ76). The bone fracture and spatial distribution patterns indicate that the site was a paleoindian mammoth butchering site approximately 12,000 years ago. The fine grained sediments indicate that the deposition environment was low energy and the bones were not affected by non-cultural post depositional processes. More information of the Duewall-Newberry mammoth quarry site can be found in the following publications by D. Gentry Steele and David L. Carlson.

References

Steele, D. G., and Carlson, D. L. (1989). Excavation and taphonomy of mammoth remains from the Duewall-Newberry site, Brazos County, Texas. In Bonnichsen, R., and Sorg, M. H. (eds.), Bone Modification, Center for the Study of the First Americans, Orono, pp. 413– 430.

Carlson, D. L., and Steele, D. G. (1992). Human-mammoth sites: Problems and prospects. In Fox, J., Smith, C., and Wilkins, K. (eds.), Proboscidean and Paleoindian Interactions, Baylor University Press, Waco, pp. 149–169.

 

Richard Beene Site, Bexar County, Texas: ARC-TAMU houses over 80,000 artifacts that span nearly 10,000 years from the multicomponent Richard Beene site (41BX831), a Texas State Archeological Landmark. The site was excavated by the Center for Ecological Archaeology at Texas A&M University in late 1990 and early 1991. The assemblage from the site is composed of ecological samples, faunal, and lithic artifacts. More information on the Richard Beene site as well as a downloadable PDF of the report are available at the Texas Beyond History link below.

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/beene/

 

Hinds Cave Site, Val Verde County, Texas: Dr. Vaughn M. Bryant and Harry J. Shafer excavated at Hinds Cave (41VV456) between 1974 and 1978. The site is a dry rockshelter in the Lower Pecos renowned for its remarkable preservation conditions of perishable material cultural remains including basketry, matting, sandals, cordage, and hundreds of coprolites (paleo fecal material). The coprolites at the site have been used to assess seasonality and dietary decisions in the Lower Pecos. There was near continuous occupation of the site for approximately 9,000 years dating from around 8,000 B.C. to A.D.1200. Hinds Cave is the subject of several ongoing research projects from Anthropology faculty and graduate students including the conservation of Archaic period sandals and matting as well as coprolite methodological analyses. More information on the Hinds Cave site is available at the Texas Beyond History link below.

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/hinds/index.html

hinds cave basket

bow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granado Cave Site, Culbertson County, Texas: ARC-TAMU houses 14 boxes of artifacts from the Granado Cave site (41CU8) that were excavated by Dr. Donny Hamilton in 1978. Granado is one of several caves within this small area of Culbertson County. Most of the these other caves have been excavated and reported. The site was occupied 450-1800 years ago. The assemblage from the site consists of coprolites, lithics, and perishable floral and faunal artifacts which include but are not limited to basketry, matting, bags, sandals, cordage, cotton, arrows, and awls. More information on the Granado Cave site and caves in the vicinity is available at the Texas Beyond History link below.

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/granado/index.html

 

Camp Ford, Smith County, Texas: Camp Ford (41SM181) was established in 1862 as a training camp for Texas Confederate soldiers, but quickly became a Union prisoner-of-war (POW) camp where nearly 6,000 POWs were held between July 1863 the end of the Civil War in May 1865. The camp and stockade were built by enslaved African Americans. Camp life was particularly difficult in 1864 when the camp swelled to greater than 4,000 POWs, including Northern white soldiers, Southern soldiers and citizens, and African American slaves, soldiers, and sailors from both North and South. ARC curates nearly 1,000 artifacts excavated at the site in 1997 and 1998, which include historic metal, glass, wood, and ceramics. More information on Camp Ford can be found at the Texas Beyond History link below.

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/ford/index.html

 

Fort Brown, Cameron County, Texas: ARC-TAMU curates nearly 14,000 artifacts from 147 recorded proveniences from Fort Brown (41CF96), which were recovered by the Archaeological Research Laboratory during archaeological excavations between December 1988 and April 1989. Fort Brown was an active military facility from 1846 until 1948 when it became part of the Texas Southernmost College campus, now the University of Texas at Brownsville. It was an important military post during the Mexican American War, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World Wars I and II. Among the remarkable assemblage at the site are glass, ceramic, metal, and faunal artifacts. While Fort Brown does not have its own page on Texas Beyond History (yet) general information about the Frontier Fort system, of which Fort Brown is a part, can be found at the link below.

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/forts/

button blankpottery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon: The site was excavated in the early 1970s by Ralph Solecki and colleagues from Columbia University. The site contains material remains associated with the Mousterian technological industry of Homo neanderthalensis populations in the Levant. They used Levallois and other manufacture techniques to produce stone tools. The tools and debitage from the site have the potential to inform on technological organization strategies and variability in the Paleolithic, including design, provisioning, and curation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Dockall authored an extensive PhD dissertation on Nahr Ibrahim, which can be found here.


Alabonson Road, Harris County, Texas:
 The Alabonson Road Site (41HR273) is a multicomponent site with Early and Late Ceramic period occupations. During the primary occupation in the Early Ceramic period (A.D. 400-800) the site was utilized as a base camp. The assemblage from the site indicates many activities including lithic and ceramic manufacture, ceremonial activities associated with human burials, as well as hunting, gathering, and cooking. More information on the site can be found in the following report. Any researchers interested in the site report should contact the curator to request a PDF copy.

Ensor, Blaine H. and David L. Carlson (Eds.). 1991. Alabonson Road: Early Ceramic Period Adaptation to the Inland Coastal Prairie Zone, Harris County, Southeast Texas. Archaeological Research Laboratory, Reports of Investigations 8.


Bullpen Site, Bastrop County, Texas:
 The Bullpen site 41BP280 is a multicomponent camp site in the Colorado River drainage of central Texas. It was excavated between 1985 and 1986 by the Archaeological Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University prior to the construction of State Highway 71. The site dates from the Middle Archaic to Late Prehistoric, Round Rock and Toyah phases respectively, and demonstrates cultural continuity for nearly 3500 years in the area. The data from the site was used to further the understanding of Pedernales projectile point manufacture techniques. More information on the site can be found in the following report. Any researchers interested in the site report should contact the curator to request a PDF copy.

Ensor, H. Blaine and Catherine S. Mueller-Wille. 1988. Excavations at the Bull Pen Site 41BP280: Colorado River Drainage Bastrop County, Texas. Texas State Department of Highways Design Division, Contract Reports in Archaeology, Report Number 3, Antiquities Permit No. 581.

 

Valley Branch Site, Montague County, Texas: The Valley Branch Site 41MU55 is a multicomponent site in the Red River Valley of north-central Texas. The site was excavated in 1992 by the Archaeological Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University prior to the construction of Farm Road 677. Many hearth-like fire cracked rock features at the site shed information on prehistoric cooking technology and diet. Diagnostic projectile points and radiocarbon dates from the site indicate occupation from the Middle to Late Archaic between 6,000 and 1,250 B.P. More information on the site can be found in the following report. Any researchers interested in the site report should contact the curator to request a PDF copy.

Thoms, Alston V. (Ed.). 1994. The Valley Branch Archaeological Project: Excavations at an Archaic Site (41MU55) in the Cross Timbers Uplands, North-Central, Texas. Reports of Investigations No. 15, Archaeological Research Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station.


Crawford Site, Polk County, Texas:
 The Crawford multicomponent site 41PK69 was excavated in 1984 and 1985 by archaeologists from the Archaeological Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University. Occupations at the site range from the Early Archaic to Late ceramic, the latter of which may be a Caddo-affiliated component. More information on the site can be found in the following report. Any researchers interested in the site report should contact the curator to request a PDF copy.

Ensor, H. Blaine and David L. Carlson. 1988. The Crawford Site, 41PK69, central Trinity River uplands, Polk County, Texas. Submitted to the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation by the Archeological Research Laboratory, Texas A&M University under the terms of contract IAC (84-85)1949. Contract Reports in Archaeology, Report Number 4, Antiquities Permit No. 451.


Reeding/Highway 21 Site, Burleson County, Texas: 
The multicomponent Reading (41BU16) site was excavated in 1984 by Texas A&M University archaeologists under a contract with the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation during the construction of Highway 21. The site components date from the recent historic period to approximately 5000 years B.P. The assemblage at the site is similarly diverse comprising historical bricks and glass artifacts as well as prehistoric lithic and ceramic artifacts. Five human burials were also excavated at the site. More information on the site can be found in the following report. Any researchers interested in the site report should contact the curator to request a PDF copy.

Erwin Roemer, Jr. and Shawn Bonath Carlson (editors) 1987 Excavations at 41BU16: State Highway 21 at the Brazos River Burleson County. Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, Highway Design Division, Contract Reports in Archaeology, Report Number 1.

 

Corbett Ranch, Willacy County, Texas: For almost 50 years, Michael Corbett collected archaeological and geological material from his family ranch, and other local ranches, in South Texas. Many landowning families in Texas frequently maintain such collections; what makes this collection different from many others is that Michael Corbett maintained a master map and catalog, making it possible to tie a large majority of the collection back to the sites from which they were found. Upon Michael Corbett’s death in 2008, his family began to search for a permanent home for this collection and, in 2010, donated it to the Department of Anthropology here at TAMU. This generous donation has made a well-documented collection of cultural material available to the scientific community.

As only one of four private collections from South Texas that has been made available to the Texas archaeological community, this collection has the capability to help shed light into a region that has had very little archaeological research. Analysis of the collection will provide greater information on the material culture of prehistoric groups outside and adjacent to the Brownsville-Barrill Complex during the Late Prehistoric period as well as provide information on the lithic technology across the entire prehistoric era. The Corbett Ranch Collection report can be found here.

 

The Eric O. Callen Collection: The ARC has a unique collection of perishable materials, including human paleo feces, also referred to as coprolites. In fact, the ARC curates one of the largest collections of coprolites in the world. The Eric O. Callen coprolite reference collection includes mounted slides and coprolite residues from notable sites like Tehuacan, Oaxaca, and San Lorenzo in Mexico, Lazaret in France, Ayacucho and Huaca Prieta de Chicama in Peru, Heirakonpolis in Egypt, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, and Glen Canyon in Utah to name a few. Eric O. Callen is considered the founder of modern coprolite analysis. At his untimely death in Ayacucho, Peru, in 1970 his wife and MacDonald University donated his reference collection to ARC so it would be available to other interested scholars for generations to come. In addition to the E.O. Callen collection, ARC also curates coprolites and perishable artifacts from a number of caves and rockshelters in Texas: Timmeron Rockshelter, Parida Cave, Caldwell Shelter 1, Granado Cave, Conejo Shelter, and Hinds Cave. ARC curates 2,483 coprolites from Hinds Cave alone, which is the largest collection of human paleo feces from any single archaeologically excavated site in the world. Coprolites are an archaeological treasure that provide primary data on DNA, dietary decisions, C-14 dating, and disease amongst other interesting research topics. More information on the Eric O. Callen collections and their significance to anthropology can be found below.

Click here for Bryant and Dean’s 2006 article on Callen’s coprolite collection, click here.

For Bryant’s 1975 article on the Callen coprolite collection, click here.

 

POLICY

Since 2008 ARC has been a closed collections facility and only accepts new collections on a case-by-case basis for a one time long term curation fee based upon volume and storage requirements. Acquisition fees may be reduced or waived based upon the recommendation of an ad hoc committee of three Anthropology faculty members. ARC staff will not appraise or estimate the value of items for any purpose. ARC staff will not identify or authenticate items for commercial interests.

The ARC is accessible to researchers with scholarly and educational interests for research, education, and exhibition. The ARC does not make permanent loans; however, loans for research and educational purposes are permitted under the terms set out by the curator. For research based loans a proposal outlining the purpose, need, and expected results of such analyses are required for on-site analyses and collections loans and should be submitted to the curator. Proposals for destructive analysis of artifacts should be submitted to the curator and will be subject to an evaluation by an ad hoc committee of three Anthropology faculty selected based upon their knowledge of the collection and/or the research under consideration. Proposals may be accepted as is, rejected outright, or require revision and additional research methods on the basis of review by the curator, ad hoc committee of three Anthropology faculty, and department Head.

Objects held by ARC may be transferred and/or deaccessioned under the following circumstances: they are no longer relevant to the ARC mission, cannot be preserved, are deemed scientifically redundant, have inadequate documentation or have deteriorated such that they have lost cultural and scientific research value, or represent an unacceptable hazard to collections and staff.

The full ARC-TAMU collections management policy can be found here.

NAGPRA

The ARC at TAMU houses human remains and cultural materials in compliance with Public Law 101-601, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). ARC will attempt to notify affiliated Native American tribes and comply with the request of the appropriate Native American tribes as to the disposition of the material, providing the request is in accordance to Public Law 101-601. Please contact NAGPRA Coordinator Dr. Heather Thakar (thakar@tamu.edu) with questions regarding NAGPRA materials housed at ARC-TAMU.

The Notices of Inventory Completion for ARC-TAMU can be found here.

RESEARCH ACCESS POLICY

Requests to visit all non-human collections is achieved by contacting the ARC-TAMU curator by email to set up a visitation. Request for borrowing material, scientific (destructive) analysis, and access to human skeletal remains must be made at least eight weeks prior to the date the material is needed and requires written request using the forms below. There are three separate application and agreement forms, depending on the type of research you are interested in performing. Please read through the forms and agreements and be sure you understand the requirements. If you have any questions, contact the curator or assistant curator.

NAGPRA is an ongoing process in terms of both legal requirements and tribal requests. As a result, the staff at the ARC-TAMU continues to work with various tribes. Our policy for all skeletal material determined to likely have a cultural, geographic, or biological affiliation to Native Americans requires that any researchers interested in examining such material must first consult with the appropriate tribes before accessing the material. It is essential that any necessary consultations about sensitive materials (human remains, associated funerary objects, associated funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony) have been conducted before examination of material. Written evidence of this consultation, including copies of all correspondence, along with the names of the cultural consultants, tribal leaders, and observers involved, must be submitted with the request for access form.

Request to Borrow Material

Application for Scientific Analysis

Request for Access to Human Remains

CONTACTS

Location:

340 Spence Street
TAMU 4352
College Station, TX 77843-4352
anth-arc@tamu.edu

Curator and NAGPRA Coordinator

Heather Thakar
309E Department of Anthropology
TAMU 4352
College Station, TX 77843-4352
thakar@tamu.edu