The archaeology and ethnohistory of the Hasinai Caddo : material culture and the course of European contact

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2011-05

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Marceaux, Paul Shawn Joseph

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Abstract

This dissertation compiles information related to Caddo archaeology and history and examines in detail the collections from various Historic Caddo sites and Spanish missions. The study uses materials from these sites, along with the archival records from early European expeditions and colonization efforts, to try to identify archaeological correlates of the groups that constituted the Hasinai Caddo. The objective is to determine if specific attributes of ceramic style and technology reflect the position and geographical extent of the principal tribes of the Hasinai Caddo as indicated by the historical records. To accomplish this I examined numerous collections from clusters of historic period sites in the Neches and Angelina River valleys of east Texas, including sites occupied by the Hasinai Caddo and two of the three Spanish missions discovered in east Texas. The study analyzes, organizes, and characterizes distinct ceramic assemblages and other artifacts in the collections. Another goal of this research is to better define the periods of use and chronological relationships of Historic Caddo sites. Ceramic frequency seriations of established types, supported by other evidence, demonstrate chronological orderings reflected in the collections. The cultural landscape of the Hasinai Caddo, broadly characterized, consisted of sedentary groups living in dispersed farmsteads as thriving agriculturalists, organized in a complex hierarchy of social and spiritual leaders. Sustained contact with Spanish missionaries brought trade materials and technology in tandem with social objectives and policies, many aimed at replacing Caddo cultural identity under the guise of religious conversion, relocation, and trade. While the number of Caddo groups identified in the ethnohistoric record decreased as time passed, it is clear from the archives that groups of the Hasinai endured and maintained distinct affiliations during the contact period. The ceramic analyses support the historic record on this point and demonstrate how assemblages are part of well-established and persistent ceramic traditions. At the same time, the study documents distinct archaeological signatures that may represent socio-cultural, political, and/or economic differences in the Hasinai Caddo. Evidence also demonstrates how the Hasinai Caddo were both willing participants in, and at the same time rejected, the Spanish mission system.

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