Texas Beyond History (TBH) began as a partnership between the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) and the Texas Archeological Society (TAS). Since the website's inception, TARL and TAS have been joined by additional organizations that have been instrumental in the success of the project. In 2008 the Anthropology Department at Texas State University became a key partner when Steve Black left TARL and began teaching there. Each TBH Partner has a vested interest in preserving and sharing Texas' cultural heritage. Here is a brief introduction to each.
The Department of Anthropology at Texas State University offers Bachelor and Masters degrees in anthropology with programs in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and biological anthropology as well as a new (fall 2018) doctorate degree in applied anthropology. All anthropology students receive three-field training and graduate students specialize in Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, or Biological Anthropology. In addition to an internship program, the Department offers a variety of field opportunities in Texas and abroad for study and research in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and biological anthropology. The growing research and training program in Texas archaeology includes the Center for Archaeological Studies, providing students with applied research experience. For more information, visit the Department of Anthropology website.
The Texas Archeological Society (TAS) is a statewide, nonprofit organization founded in 1929 and one of the oldest and most successful archeological societies in North America. TAS offers numerous training programs for those interested in becoming more involved with archeology in Texas: annual Field Schools (held every June since 1963); regional sessions of the Texas Archeology Academy; and special programs at the TAS Annual Meeting each fall where they hear about the latest discoveries and visit with fellow archeological enthusiasts. The results of archeological research are reported in the Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society (BTAS), a highly acclaimed regional archeological journal and a benefit of membership in the Society. Society news is also reported in the quarterly newsletter, Texas Archeology. The mission of the TAS is "to promote knowledge and preservation of Texas archeology." Today the TAS has some 1500 members, including professional, avocational, and student archeologists, who share a common interest in learning about Texas' past through archeology. Here, on Texas Beyond History, you can see the results of many TAS Field Schools and find many excerpts from the BTAS.
Membership in the TAS is open to anyone with an interest in the subject and the willingness to abide by the society's ethical code including following all Federal and State antiquities laws and regulations. Most members started out with little more than a curiosity about the human past and have gone on to achieve a much greater understanding of the complex and varied archeological traces of Texas' past. For more information about the society and Texas archeology, visit the TAS website, where you can also find information about the TAS Annual Meeting which is held every year near the end of October.
The Council of Texas Archeologists (CTA) is a nonprofit voluntary organization that promotes the goals of professional archeology in Texas. The organization seeks to encourage the preservation and conservation of the cultural resources of Texas, improve communication and cooperation within the archeological community, and disseminate information enhancing public awareness of Texas' nonrenewable cultural resources. As a TBH partner, the CTA helps underwrite the website. CTA members also are major content contributors. For more information about the organization, visit the CTA website.
The Amistad National Recreation Area (ANRA) of the National Park Service is located in and immediately around Lake Amistad, an international reservoir near Del Rio, Texas, on the border with Mexico. The reservoir inundated the confluences of the Pecos and Devils rivers with the Rio Grande. This region known as the "Lower Pecos" contains spectacular, world-class, rock art comparable in significance to sites in Europe, Australia, and Baja California. With 250-plus known sites within a 100-square-mile area, the region has one of the densest concentrations of Archaic rock art in the new world. The Lower Pecos area also contains some of the oldest and best-preserved archeological deposits in North America. The dry rock shelters of the area harbor an unparalleled prehistory that spans nearly 13,000 years. As a TBH partner, the National Park Service is helping to share the archeological treasures of the Lower Pecos with the world. For more information, visit the ANRA-NPS website.
The Environmental Affairs Division of the Texas Department of Transportation coordinates the agency's cultural resource management program. As new highways and bridges are built and old ones expanded, TxDOT archeologists and historians make sure that important cultural resources are identified and evaluated prior to construction. This work has led to major scientific excavations at important prehistoric and historic sites across Texas. As a TBH partner, TxDOT is helping to create exhibits and coordinated lesson plans that highlight some of the results of TxDOT-sponsored investigations. For more information, visit TxDOT's website.
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is the state agency for historic preservation. THC staff consult with citizens and organizations to preserve Texas' architectural, archeological and cultural landmarks. The agency is recognized nationally for its preservation programs. The THC Archeology Division works to identify, protect, and preserve Texas' irreplaceable archeological heritage. Using a regional approach, archeologists and staff participate in a variety of activities to support this mission. As a TBH partner, THC archeologists are major content contributors to the website. Grant funds from the THC's Texas Preservation Trust Fund have also helped support the website. For more information about the Texas Historical Commission, visit the THC website and the Texas Historic Sites Atlas.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) seeks to "manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." The agency protects and interprets archeological and historical sites at parks across the state. As a TBH partner, TPWD photographers, park superintendents, artists from the Interpretations and Exhibits Branch, and archeologists from the Cultural Resources Program are major content contributors to the website. For more information, visit the TWPD website.
The Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin has programs on social anthropology, archeology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and folklore/public culture. It offers extensive undergraduate and graduate courses and a variety of degree programs. The Department of Anthropology has long had a special relationship with TARL. As a TBH partner, student interns from the Department of Anthropology have helped build the website. For more information, visit the Department of Anthropology website.
The Briscoe Center for American History (BCAH) at the University of Texas at Austin is a history resource center of national importance. As a special collections library, archive, and museum, the Center supports research and education on the history of the United States by acquiring, preserving and making accessible research collections and by sponsoring exhibits, conferences, oral history projects, publications, and fellowships. Its holdings include books, periodicals, manuscript and archival collections, sound recordings, oral history transcripts, maps, newspapers, photographs, and artifacts. Of interest to Texas history researchers are the Eugene C. Barker Collectionthe most extensive collection of Texas-related material in existenceand other significant collection components and divisions, including the Briscoe-Garner Museum in Uvalde, Texas; the Sam Rayburn Library and Museum near Bonham; and Winedale Historic structures complex near Round Top. For more information, visit the BCAH website.
The Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) organization with an education and research campus on a 1600-acre ranch near Shumla, Texas (between Del Rio and Langtry). The Shumla School's mission is to provide education through Studying Human Use of Materials, Land, and Art. The School offers youth and adult education programs that follow a learn-by-doing philosophy and focus on the cultural and ecological resources present within the archeological heartland of Texas, the lower Pecos region. The School is ideally situated for instruction and innovative studies in archeology, ecology, natural history, prehistoric lifeways, and art. In the surrounding region are more than two hundred rockshelters, many containing well-preserved archeological deposits and elaborately painted 4000 year-old murals. Founder Dr. Carolyn E. Boyd is author of The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in the Rock Art of the Lower Pecos (2016, University of Texas Press) and Rock Art of the Lower Pecos (2003, Texas A&M University Press). For information, visit the Shumla website.
The Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University has programs on archeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. The department is home to the Nautical Archaeology Program (one of the few in the world that provides graduate training in the archaeology of shipwreck sites) and the Center for the Study of the First Americans which studies sites occupied by the first inhabitants of the Americas. The department sponsors Anthropology in the News, a site that provides links to new stories that feature some aspect of anthropology. As a TBH partner, faculty and students from the Department of Anthropology have collaborated in adding information about the history and prehistory of Texas to the website. For more information, visit the department's website.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) operates to provide leadership to Texas schools and to ensure that every child in Texas receives a world class education. In carrying out its role and responsibilities, the agency supports Texas public education and is accountable to policy makers, educators, and the public. TEA provides current information concerning public education in Texas as well as curriculum resources for classroom teachers. Texas history is part of the social studies curricula; visit the TEA Social Studies website to learn more.
Archeological & Environmental Consultants, LLC, is a small firm with offices in Austin and Pittsburg, Texas. The firm's lead researchers have been involved in all aspects of cultural resources management (CRM) and archeological projects since the mid-1970s. They specialize in the archeology of the Caddoan area (northeast Texas, southwest Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, and eastern Oklahoma), CRM planning, paleoenvironmental studies, and consultation with Native American groups (Historic Preservation and NAGPRA grants). For information contact Timothy K. Perttula ( Austin) or Bo Nelson ( Pittsburg).
The Center for Archaeological Research of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio (CAR-UTSA) has conducted archaeological research throughout Texas and surrounding regions since 1974. The Department offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and emphasizes cultural anthropology and archaeology with regional specializations in Mesoamerica, South America, the US/Mexico borderlands, the Plains and the Southwest. The Center provides hands-on archeological training through internships and staff positions to many UTSA students. Archaeological research projects include urban and mission-period archaeology and excavations of numerous prehistoric sites. The Center’s curation facility holds materials and records encompassing three principal themes: the Greater South Texas Collections of prehistoric artifacts, the Spanish Colonial Heritage Collections, and the Historic San Antonio Collections. Consisting of over 30 million artifacts, these collections are available for research and study to professional archaeologists, faculty and students from throughout the United States. For more information, visit the CAR-UTSA website.
The Southern Texas Archaeological Association (STAA) is a regional scientific and educational organization for individuals and groups interested in the archaeology, ethnohistory and prehistory of south-central and southern Texas. The STAA was founded in 1973 and today has a membership of over 400 people. Members include professional, avocational, and student archaeologists from many walks of life. STAA members help record sites, document artifact collections, participate in field and laboratory investigations, and publish many of their results in the organization's flagship journal, La Tierra. Meetings are held quarterly and there are many opportunities to participate in ongoing research and learn more about the long human history of southern Texas. For more information, visit the STAA website.
The Louisiana Division of Archaeology is a state agency within the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. It is a part of the State Historic Preservation Office, and its director serves as state archaeologist. The mission of the Division of Archaeology is to record and preserve Louisiana's archaeological sites and to provide assistance and information about the state's cultural and historic patrimony. For more information, see the division's website.
The Center for Big Bend Studies (CBBS) was established in 1987 by Sul Ross State University to support and promote interdisciplinary activities relating to the cultural and historical development of the Trans‑Pecos region of Texas and north-central Mexico. The Center provides educational opportunities to university students, the public, and outside researchers, and is committed to the recovery, protection, and sharing of this region’s rich cultural legacy through dynamic programs involving research, education, public outreach, and publication. The Center conducts archeological and historical research and maintains a cultural resources management program. CBBS archeologists also carry out research on private ranches of the region. Most of these efforts are funded through the Trans-Pecos Archaeological Program (TAP), an ongoing regional research program of unprecedented scale. For more information visit the CBBS website.