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The Hogeye Clovis Cache
     

The Hogeye Clovis Cache

by Michael R. Waters
 

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Roughly thirteen thousand years ago, Clovis hunters cached more than fifty projectile points, preforms, and knives at the toe of a gentle slope near present-day Elgin, Bastrop County, in central Texas. Over the next millennia, deposition buried the cache several meters below the surface. The entombed artifacts lay undisturbed until 2003.

A circuitous path

Overview

Roughly thirteen thousand years ago, Clovis hunters cached more than fifty projectile points, preforms, and knives at the toe of a gentle slope near present-day Elgin, Bastrop County, in central Texas. Over the next millennia, deposition buried the cache several meters below the surface. The entombed artifacts lay undisturbed until 2003.

A circuitous path brought thirteen of the original thirty-seven Clovis bifaces and points through many hands before reaching the attention of Michael Waters at Texas A&M University. At the site of the original cache, Waters and coauthor Thomas A. Jennings conducted excavations, studied the geology, and dated the geological layers to reconstruct how the cache was buried.

This book provides a well-illustrated, thoroughly analyzed description and discussion of the Hogeye Clovis cache, the projectile points and other artifacts from later occupations, and the geological context of the site, which has yielded evidence of multiple Paleoindian, Archaic, and Late Prehistoric occupations.

The cache of tools and weapons at Hogeye, when combined with other sites, allows us to envision a snapshot of life at the end of the last Ice Age.

Editorial Reviews

David Kilby

"Waters and Jennings provide a valuable contribution to the study of Clovis archaeology, lithic technology, and individual cache assemblages. Their work stands as an excellent model for reporting these relatively rare finds. If only all Clovis caches were investigated and reported in this level of detail."--David Kilby, Eastern New Mexico University
Mammoth Trumpet

"Lithics analysts will value this book as a how-to manual for the Clovis flintknapper." -- Mammoth Trumpet
Choice

"This is an excellent book on Clovis. The book is extremely well edited, and the numerous figures and illustrations add immeasurably to its success as an overview of the Clovis period."-- Choice
The Chesopiean - Rodney M. Peck

"This heavily illustrated book has beautiful pictures and sketches of the Clovis points and bifaces. It is a must for anyone interested in the study of Early Man and his Clovis points, and will be well received by the archaeological community." —The Chesopiean
Midwest Book Review

“A seminal work of truly impressive scholarship, richly illustrated, documents, and extraordinary in organization and presentation, The Hogeye Clovis Cache is an essential, critically important, highly recommended addition to professional and academic library American Archaeology reference collections and supplemental studies lists.”—Midwest Book Review
The Kansas Anthropologist

“The authors and publishers are to be commended for their fine photographs and pen-and-ink drawings of every artifact from the Hogeye Clovis Cache.” — The Kansas Anthropologist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781623492328
Publisher:
Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
04/15/2015
Series:
Peopling of the Americas Publications
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
172
File size:
80 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

The Hogeye Clovis Cache


By Michael R. Waters, Thomas A. Jennings

Texas A&M University Press

Copyright © 2015 The Center for the Study of the First Americans
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62349-232-8



CHAPTER 1

The Hogeye Clovis Cache


A cache is a group of artifacts that were intentionally left together on the landscape. Tools and raw materials have been cached throughout time for various reasons. Caches of artifacts dating to the Clovis time period are unique, but not rare. There are 18 caches recognized as Clovis, most of which are found in the Plains and Midwest (Kilby 2008). Some Clovis caches have only bifaces, others blades, and others combinations of both along with other items. Some are associated with Clovis sites, but most are not, occurring as isolated finds. Here we report on the Hogeye cache—a Clovis cache from central Texas.

The Hogeye cache was found in Bastrop County in the upper Gulf Coastal Plain. Ecologically, the cache site sits on the western edge of the Post Oak Savannah on the border with the Blackland Prairie (Figure 1), only 40 km from the Balcones Escarpment and the Edwards Plateau to the west.


Discovery and Naming of the Cache

The Hogeye cache was discovered in a commercial sandpit about 5 km west of Elgin, Texas (Figure 2). The sand mined from the pit was used as temper in the manufacture of ceramic tiles and bricks at a nearby plant. This particular pit was opened in 1992, and over 20,000 m3 of sand was removed from an 800-m2 area (Figure 3). During the years of sand mining, thousands of Late Prehistoric and Archaic projectile points were found by workers as they stripped the upper sands. Machine operators recall seeing many stone-filled features (likely hearths and roasting pits) during the removal of the sand. As they mined deeper into the sand, they found Paleoindian projectile points. These artifacts were kept by whoever found them, and several large collections were amassed.

The Hogeye cache was discovered on April 22, 2003, during a normal day of sand mining. John Wayne Farris was operating a front end loader with its five-cubic-yard bucket. As usual, he drove the loader to the steep sand wall, dug the bucket into the base of the 3-m-high wall of sand and scraped upward to the surface until his bucket was filled with sand. John was working along a 30-m-long segment of the pit wall. He worked his way from one end to the other and back again. The sand he collected was placed in piles at the opposite end of the pit near a road for dump trucks. When a truck arrived, the sand was taken from the piles and loaded into the trucks. Each truck held about 12 cubic yards of sand. The trucks hauled the sand to the processing plant and dumped it in piles. It remained in piles until it was needed for tile and brick making.

That morning, John was digging into the bank and dumping sand. When he dumped one load onto a pile he saw several large bifaces. He stopped and picked up a half dozen large bifaces. Lee Jones, the mining supervisor at the time, arrived at the sandpit midmorning to find John waving him to his loader. Lee stepped on the loader and saw the large bifaces lying on the floor of the cab. Lee had never seen this type of biface come from the pit before, but he recognized them as Clovis. Given their size and quantity, he suspected that they may have come from a cache.

Lee walked to the pile where John had just dumped his load of sand and found two more bifaces. Upon more searching, no more bifaces were found. Most of the sand excavated by John that morning had already been sent to the plant. Lee instructed John not to send the last pile of sand at the pit to the plant and to stop digging in the area where the artifacts were found. John was told to dig sand from another wall of the pit and send only that sand to the plant. The sand already in the dump trucks was taken to the plant a short distance away and dumped in piles. While the sand was stockpiled at the plant, Cindy Jones searched the piles and found another Clovis biface.

The sand stockpiled at the plant was processed in batches over the next three to four months. John was in charge of operating the screening system. He scooped up sand from the piles with his front end loader and dropped the sand down a metal hopper. The sand was transferred from the hopper onto a conveyor feeder, where John would watch for roots or anything that could cause problems while screening the sand. This is where John found one of the large bifaces. At the end of the feeder the sand fell into a large rotating metal drum; a flame inside the drum heated the sand to 500°F. The sand remained in the heated and rotating drum for about 3 to 5 minutes, until it was completely dry. Then the sand passed over a vibrating metal screen (9 mesh—9 openings per square inch); the sand that fell through the screen was collected for tile and brick making. Larger items, such as rocks and artifacts, remained on the screen and were vibrated down a metal chute onto a conveyer belt where they were transported to a reject pile, falling 10 to 16 feet depending on the height of the pile below. Most of the artifacts that went through this process suffered some kind of damage. Lee, Cindy, and John all watched for artifacts on the conveyer belt. This is where many of the Clovis bifaces were found. They all recalled that the artifacts were so hot that they burned their hands as they picked them up, so that they had to use a glove or a cloth to pick artifacts off the conveyer belt. Some of the bifaces Lee and Cindy found also came from the pile of rejected material. When the pile became too high, John would use the front end loader to move this material away from the conveyor belt. Lee and Cindy also found several bifaces when they searched the moved reject piles. One biface was also found by an employee of the plant and given to Lee. Counting the artifacts that were found that April day in the sandpit and after all the sand that had been dug that day was processed, John had a total of 13 complete bifaces, and Lee and Cindy had 21 complete and 3 biface fragments (Table 1).

Lee and Cindy selected the name "Hogeye" for the cache, and this name was applied to the 24 bifaces in their collection (Lohse et al. 2014). This name was selected by Lee to honor his uncle who had lived near Elgin on Hogeye Lane. His uncle grew up in a small house with Lee's father and grandparents in the 1940s in the immediate vicinity of the modern pit. Remains of the house are still visible next to the pit; oddly, the house was located only 100 yards from where the cache was eventually found. The name Hogeye is used to designate both the Clovis biface cache and the archaeological site.

A local collector got wind of the discovery and learned that John Farris had part of the cache. The collector vigorously pursued Farris until he eventually agreed to sell his collection of 13 Clovis bifaces. This collector eventually began to sell individual pieces of the cache to different collectors across the country. At this point, Mark Mullins stepped in and, believing that the artifacts from the cache should stay together, purchased the entire collection in 2005. During this time, the collection of 13 bifaces became known variously as the Wall cache, later the Mullins cache, the Mullins Texas cache, the Texas cache, and the Bastrop County cache (Kilby 2008; Pfeiffer 2005). When Mullins purchased the collection, he was given little information about the location where the artifacts were found. He was told only that they came from a sandpit somewhere in Bastrop County. He loaned the collection to Michael Waters, who began studies of it, first with Victor Galan and then with Tom Jennings. Attempts by Waters and Galan to locate specifically where the cache came from failed. Some archaeologists who examined only the collection of 13 bifaces felt that these artifacts might have been made by a modern knapper because of their fresh appearance and the occasional metal streak on the surface of some of the artifacts (Kilby 2008). Clearly this is not the case. The metal streaks on these 13 bifaces were acquired during the excavation and processing of the sand, and as they bounced around on the metal floor of the front end loader's cab. In 2010, Leslie Pfeiffer and Curtis Hodge arranged a meeting between Michael Waters and two students (Tom Jennings and Ashley Smallwood) with Lee and Cindy Jones to examine the 24 Clovis bifaces. Waters brought the 13 bifaces that Mullins had allowed him to study, and Lee and Cindy confirmed that these were indeed the artifacts that Farris had found and sold. Shortly after this meeting, Lee Jones took Michael Waters and several students to the sandpit where the cache was found. Lee then granted them permission to examine the site, and to study his portion of the cache and the other artifacts they had collected from the site.


Archaeological and Geoarchaeological Field Investigations

Archaeological and geoarchaeological field investigations were undertaken in May 2010. This included the investigation of the sand pile left at the sand quarry in 2003 and excavations at the location where the cache was found.

The sand pile was excavated with shovels. The sediment removed from the pile was broadcast and examined for bifaces (Figure 4). Over several days, 16 Clovis bifaces were recovered, 15 complete and one base fragment. In the sand pile, a clear stratigraphy of individual dumps by the front end loader could be seen (Figure 5). Three of the bifaces were found at the base of the sand, but the majority (n = 13) were found in the middle of the sand pile in a lens of white sand with clasts of the underlying red Tertiary clayey sand bedrock. This observation was important for two reasons. First, it showed that the bifaces had been buried in loose white sand and in a unit with bedrock clasts. This suggested that the sand with the Clovis artifacts must have been in close proximity to the bedrock, likely at the base of the sand deposit. Second, it showed that John Farris did not see the biface cache on his first pass, because he continued digging and piling more sand on top of the first excavated bifaces. The artifacts from the cache were only seen by Farris on his second pass across the cache. It was clear that when Farris dumped the first artifact-bearing load of sand from his bucket, most of the bifaces remained entombed in the sand, but that a few slid down the front and sides of the sand pile. The tip of a biface found in 2003 fit snugly onto a broken base that was found in the sand pile in 2010.

This evidence strongly indicates that the bifaces had come from a very confined area. Also, it appeared that the entire cache was removed in two passes by the front end loader. The artifacts removed in the first pass ended up in the sand pile and were excavated in 2010. The artifacts excavated from the second pass were those collected at the pit and during processing in 2003. Since the cache was found, the wall of the pit in the discovery area had never been excavated again and had slumped.

Archaeological excavations were undertaken at the location where the cache was found. Both Lee Jones and John Farris examined the sandpit wall and agreed on the general location of the find spot, but each defined a different spot where the cache came from, the spots being 10 m apart. As a result, we investigated both areas, digging a 3 × 1 m block (Area A) where Lee Jones thought the bifaces had been discovered and a second 2 × 1 m block (Area B) in the area where John Farris recalled the bifaces were found (Figures 3 and 6). The purpose of these excavations was to examine the site stratigraphy, collect samples for dating, identify the geologic layer in which the cache had originally been buried, and understand the contexts of thousands of Archaic and later points that had been found over the years. Each 1 × 1 m unit was dug in 10-cm levels using shovels from the surface to the bedrock. All sediments were screened through quarter-inch mesh and all artifacts were collected. Several fire-cracked rock features were found and recorded.

After the excavations were completed, a Bobcat with a front end loader was used to excavate and examine the sediments that had slumped from the walls of the pit since 2003 for any additional overlooked Clovis bifaces. This was done because there was a possibility that Clovis artifacts might be buried in the slump, and there may have been intact sediments with additional artifacts behind the slump. The sand excavated from the sidewalls was spread on the pit floor and examined for additional Clovis bifaces. The freshly exposed banks were also monitored and examined. No additional Clovis bifaces were encountered.


Geologic Setting, Stratigraphy, and Geochronology

The Hogeye cache was found at the toe of a southeast-facing sandy colluvial slope. Two small streams skirt the edge of the slope to the south and east. These creeks flow into a larger tributary that drains into the Colorado River, which is about 20 km to the south. The location of the cache and surrounding terrain is not distinctive in any way.

Above the site is a low hill composed of weakly cemented, fine- to medium-grained sandstone. This Eocene bedrock, known as the Sparta Sand, is part of the Wilcox Group (Barnes 1981). The upper meter of the bedrock has been weathered by pedogenic processes. Soil development on the bedrock consists of a red (2.5 YR 4/8) argillic horizon with prismatic and blocky structure and a horizon with CaCOM3 nodules and root casts. This soil is eroded in most places, and the bedrock forms an undulating surface that gently slopes toward the creek.

At the location where the cache was found (Excavation Areas A and B), the colluvium is about 3 m thick (Figure 7). The colluvium here is divided into two main units that have been altered by pedogenic processes.

Unit 1, which is about a meter thick, lies directly above the eroded and weathered Eocene bedrock surface (Figure 8). The lower 20–25 cm of this unit is yellowish brown (10 YR 6/4), angular to subangular, medium to fine sand. This unit contains no lamellae and displays some redoximorphic features. Contained within the sand are clasts of the underlying red Eocene bedrock. The absence of lamellae and the white color of the sand indicate leaching due to a perched water table. Only a few flakes were found in this unit. The unit is identical in appearance to the sand in the pile that contained the bifaces and is likely the unit from which the Clovis cache originated.

The upper portion of Unit 1 is massive, fine to medium sand that is strong brown (7.5 YR 4/6) in color and is about 70 cm thick. This unit is distinctly more reddish in color than the overlying colluvium. Its color may have been the result of in situ soil formation, but it could also be color-inherited when the soil developed on the bedrock was eroded and reworked downslope. Clay lamellae are abundant and 2–5 mm thick in this unit. Unit 1 contains numerous artifacts. An early Archaic Wells projectile point and an OSL age of 7520 ± 630 B.P. (UIC-2772) were obtained from the sand (Table 2). This unit was deposited during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene.

A sharp contact separates Unit 1 from the overlying Unit 2. Unit 2 is the thickest unit (225 cm); it consists of angular to subangular, fine to medium sand that is massive and yellowish brown (10YR 3/6) in color. In most areas the upper 50 cm displays weak subangular blocky structure and no lamellae. Below this the texture and structure remain constant, with lamellae increasing in density and thickness (0.5 to 7 mm) with depth. In Excavation Area B, lamellae formation was disrupted by human activity. These sediments are dark yellowish brown (10YR 3/4) in color. More fire-cracked rock was encountered in Area B than in Area A, and three hearth features with fire-cracked rock were also present. Many artifacts, including Montell, Bulverde, Axtell, and Perdiz projectile points, were found in Unit 2. Four OSL ages from these sediments range from 2175 ± 290 B.P. (UIC-2776) to 3720 ± 310 B.P. (UIC-2775).


Geologic History and Site Formation Processes

At the Hogeye site, the Eocene bedrock was exposed and weathered for some time. Water flowing off the bedrock hillslope eroded the bedrock, creating a slightly undulating surface. During the late Quaternary, colluvial deposition dominated. Loose grains of sand derived from the friable Eocene sandstone moved downslope and accumulated. The first colluvial deposits were laid down (Unit 1) during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. After a hiatus in deposition during the middle Holocene, a pulse of colluvial deposition followed during the late Holocene, creating Unit 2.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Hogeye Clovis Cache by Michael R. Waters, Thomas A. Jennings. Copyright © 2015 The Center for the Study of the First Americans. Excerpted by permission of Texas A&M University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

MICHAEL R. WATERS directs the Center for the Study of the First Americans in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University and is executive director of the North Star Archaeological Research Program. THOMAS A. JENNINGS is a faculty member in the department of anthropology at the University of West Georgia.

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