Projectile points from Sub-Stratum 5G. Top row: "Brazos Fishtail," a possible variant of San Patrice; Bottom row: Wilson; and two unclassified resharpened points. The point in center is heavily beveled, likely used as a scraper; that at lower right may be the blade portion of a Brazos point. Photo by Albert Redder.
Plan map of double grave. See the section, A Paleoindian Grave , for more detail. Drawing by Frank Weir.
Cobble tool, or “chopper.”Photo by Albert Redder.
Chert flakes and examples of animal bone from Sub-Stratum 5G. Top row, left to right: chert; deer-size bones; burned and unburned bones of small animals and birds; Second row: small animal and bird bones; Third row: miscellaneous fish and catfish bones; turtle scapula and shell fragments; frog and bird bones. Photo by Albert Redder.
Small animal bone, including fish vertebrae and frog pelvis. Enlarge to see more examples. Photo by Albert Redder.

Sub-Stratum 5G: Upper member—heavy gray

Substratum 5G is a very dark, midden-like cave deposit, which has been considerably dirtied by human living. Its interface with the underlying Sub-Stratum 5F is indistinct, distinguished chiefly by darker gray color.

Of particular significance in Sub-Stratum 5G was the discovery of the double grave of an adult male and a juvenile. The two had been interred with an array of unusual items in a relatively shallow pit that extended or had been dug in from this surface into the underlying deposits. At the time of investigations, the top of the grave was not detected by excavators. Details about this important feature are presented in the section, A Paleoindian Grave.

This layer represents the heaviest occupation in the Paleoindian levels of the shelter, containing large amounts of chipped-stone tools, including fluted points termed "Brazos Fishtail," animal bone and other debris, and several fire hearths.

Overall, the comparatively greater quantity of tools and other debris found in this stratum may indicate either a longer stay or successive occupations by people, rather than a larger number of people overall, given the small size of the shelter.

This sub-stratum has four radiocarbon dates from samples taken at the time of excavations, two from charcoal and two from snail shell. Two different dating agents were used as a cross check. The dates are as follows: 9500 +/- 130 years B.P. (Tx-1830 wood charcoal); 10,030+/- 130 years b.P. (Tx-1998 snail shells); 9980 +/- 370 years B.P (Tx-1722 wood charcoal);  10,310 +/- 150 years B.P (Tx-1997 snail shells).

Two additional dates, obtained by the Smithsonian Institution on fragments of human skeletal bone from the Horn Shelter burial are in close correspondence to the assays reported earlier: uncalibrated AMS date for the adult is reported as 9710+/-40 years B.P. (CAMS-60681); for the juvenile, 9690+/-50 years B.P. (CAMS-51794).

Although there were a number of hearth features in this stratum, some may have been disturbed by successive activities of the occupants over a period of time. Overall, the hearth features were typical of the other Paleoindian levels: areas of dark or charcoal-stained soil where the inhabitants had made fires directly on the ground, without the use of rocks.  More than 70 pounds of soil from the features was screened and washed, and  a quantity of small animal bones and flint debris from toolmaking recovered.

Other than the materials found within the grave, the Sub-Stratum 5G assemblage includes a large number of stone tools and fragments including projectile points, bifaces, drills, gravers, unifaces, quartzite choppers, burins, utilized flakes, hammerstones, and debitage. Red ocher fragments also were present. A large quantity of animal bone was recovered, some of it worked, crushed, and/or burned. Remains of small mammals were the most prevalent including rabbits, voles, rodents, birds, frogs, turtles, snakes, fish, and freshwater mussels. Deer and a few bison bones also were recovered.

Projectile points include two points termed "Brazos Fishtail,"possibly a variant of San Patrice; the base of probable Wilson (which refits with the distal portion found in the underlying Sub-Stratum 5F); and two unclassified points. One of these likely is a Brazos, or San Patrice, blade section, the other is a heavily resharpened side-notched point with concave base. The latter specimen (see artifact plate at top left) has been heavily beveled along both blade margins, apparently having been recycled for use as a scraper-tool. Archeologist Dee Ann Story notes that this specimen exhibits technological similarities to Albany knives and "spokeshaves" found in sites with San Patrice dart points in East Texas and Louisiana.

Basal grinding on the "Brazos Fishtail" points is more pronounced along the tang lateral edges, but ranging from moderate to almost none on the basal concavity. Fluting is accomplished by the removal from both sides of several long narrow longitudinal flakes; on one, fluting extends half the total length of the point. This point appears similar to the "Side-Hollowed" points from the Rex Rogers site in the Texas Panhandle and the Green type from Florida, both of Paleoindian age.

Among the tools, gravers are often multiple pointed and frequently made on one end or side of a scraper. The tips are generally short and strong. Drills are large and heavy though very finely made, except one specimen that has a thick, almost round, cross section.  The proximal ends are broken from the other two large specimens. Neither appears to have been made on broken darts or knives.  

Radiocarbon dates:

  • 9500 BP +/- 130 years (charcoal)
  • 9980 BP +/- 370 years (charcoal)
  • 10,030+/- 130 years (snail shells)
  • 10,310 +/- 150 years (snail shells).

Diagnostic Points:

  • San Patrice, Wilson-like

A typical fire hearth, with irregular, discolored burned areas, ash and charcoal fragments. Built directly on the ground, these rockless hearths were used throughout the Paleoindian era occupations at Horn Shelter. Photo by Albert Redder.
Drills, or perforators, and bifaces.
Animal bones and shell. Top row: antler tip; bone shaft straightener fragment; bison (?) cannon bone; cut bone; Second row: mussel shells with battered umbos; Third row: yellow and red ocher; bone needle fragments; fish scales in cemented matrix. Enlarge to see full image. Photo by Albert Redder.
Deer-size bone with possible crush marks from heavy stone tool. Photo by Albert Redder.

Unifacial Tools or Scrapers

Examples of unifacial tools. Top row: Gravers; Second row: scraper-gravers; Third and fourth rows: utilized flakes. Photo by Albert Redder.

A large number of unifacial tools, termed here as scrapers, were recovered from Sub-Stratum 5G. These materials were so numerous and varied that Frank Watt initially described their prehistoric makers as the "Crude Scraper Culture."

The tools were made on convenient flakes struck from cobbles, usually with no deliberate chipping to produce a symmetrically shaped tool. Often these are combination tools, that is, combining a notch or graver.  The bit edges are mostly obtuse; a few have acute angles and may have been used for other purposes such as knives for cutting. Although all are unfacial, some had edge detailing on opposite sides.

For an article in the 1985 Central Texas Archeologist, Redder analyzed and classified a total of 53 scrapers from this stratum with a nomenclature after that used for analysis of scrapers from the Acton site in Hood County, Texas. He noted that, interestingly, scrapers from Horn shelter also easily fall into the system used by Francois Bordes in his 1972 publication, A Tale of Two Caves (Harper and Row), focused on findings at middle Paleolithic sites in France. The Sub-Stratum 5G scraper assemblage, as described in the 1985 article, includes:

Side scrapers.  Scrapers with the working edge along one side of the long axis of the flake on which it was made (7 specimens: all with cortex, 3 with gravers). Transverse scrapers. Scrapers with a working edge similar to an end scraper, that is on the edge opposite the percussion bulb, but wider than it is long (7 specimens: 4 with cortex). Concave scrapers.  The working edge is a long shallow concavity, but not a notch.  One specimen has two concave edges. ( 8 specimens: 6 with cortex, 2 with gravers. ) Multiple edge scrapers. A scraper with a dual working edge, separated into three sub-types.  Sub-type A.   11 specimens: 1 with graver.  Has at least two working edges but may have more, and does not fit the next two subtypes. Sub-type B.  5 specimens: 1 with a graver.  Has two straight working edges forming an angle of 50 to 70 degrees, coming to a rounded working end at the distal tip.  This scraper is narrow across the distal end, and wide at the proximal end. The percussion bulb is on this end. Sub-Type C. 4 specimens.  A long narrow scraper with a working edge all along one side with the distal end coming to a rounded working end, similar to type B.  The opposite long edge is unused. One specimen has a concave-convex working edge.  Not listed with concave scrapers.   Oblique scrapers. Scrapers with one working edge at about 45 degrees to the long axis of the flake (5 specimens: 4 with cortex, 2 with gravers). Notch scrapers. Scrapers having a small deep notch about 0.19 to 0.5 inches across (3 specimens: 2 with cortex, 1 specimen with a graver and side scraper.  Not listed under side scrapers). Miscellaneous scrapers. Scrapers that do not readily conform to the above classifications (6 specimens: 5 with cortex, 1 with graver). Scraper on a biface.  This is a small biface that has been used along the lateral edges for scraping (1 specimen). Broken scraper fragments. Apparently fragments that have been broken from scrapers while being used. These appear to be the smaller fragments (5 specimens: 3 with cortex, 1 with graver). 

Among the many intriguing finds in this layer, the large number of unifaces sparks questions about how the tools were used and on what products. Whether the numbers of tools correlate to longer periods of stay, more intensive exploitation of a particular food, merits inquiry, or to successive occupations by groups using similar tools, will be an interesting issue for further study.



Unifacial tools, or scrapers. Photo by Albert Redder. Enlarge to see more examples.
Unifacial tools, or scrapers. Photo by Albert Redder. Enlarge to see more examples.