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Credits & Sources

The Lower Pecos exhibit was written by TBH editor Steve Black and Phil Dering and first appeared in October, 2001. The Amistad National Recreation Area, National Park Service (ANRA-NPS) provided support for the exhibit. With additional support from ANRA-NPS, Black wrote the "Before Amistad" section, which appeared in December, 2004. Updates were added in May, 2008. Dering and Black furnished many photographs, but the bulk are taken from the ANRA-NPS archives housed at TARL. The artwork of Nola Davis appears courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The paintings and pastel drawings of artist/archeologist Reeda Peel demonstrate her passion for the rock art and environment of the region. Vaughn M. Byrant and NPS archeologist Joseph Labadie contributed to the writing of the Before Amistad section. Ken Brown wrote the "wooden artifacts" subsection in Everyday, Extraordinary Things and provided photographs.

Author Dr. J. Philip (Phil) Dering is an archeologist who specializes in the study of plant remains from archeological sites. Born in Fort Worth and raised in Corpus Christi, his lifelong interest in natural history was fostered by the islands, bays, and rivers of the Texas coast. He received a B.A. in Anthropology, with many hours in biology, from Texas A&M University in 1975 and immediately began work on an M.S. in Botany at the same institution. He established a plant collection suited specifically for analysis of dry cave deposits, and analyzed the plant remains from Hinds Cave and other archeological sites in southwestern Texas. His Ph.D. dissertation research at Texas A&M was a study of prehistoric agriculture, based on the analysis of plant remains from 52 Classic period archeological sites in Tonto Basin, Arizona.

Dering's research interests center on relationships between plants and people, particularly Archaic period hunters and gatherers of the Southern Plains, the Gulf Coast, and the Chihuahuan Desert. He has always been interested in how people lived directly off the land—techniques that many consider "survival skills" but he thinks of them as "living skills." This curiosity has led to a long-term study of plant foods. He is particularly interested in how people baked foods in earth ovens. Since 1993 he has constructed over 60 earth ovens, using them to cook lechuguilla, sotol, yucca, false garlic, and onions. Although he analyzes plant remains from every corner of Texas, his favorite archeological area is the canyonlands of the Lower Pecos. Today (2008) he lives in the region and continues to carry out archeological research with his wife, Carolyn Boyd, an expert in prehistoric art and the executive director of the Shumla School.


Ethnobotany of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands
Special exhibit details the many ways that native peoples made use of the region's wild plants.

Bonfire Shelter
Featured site exhibit on the oldest and southernmost bison kill site in North America. This site lies near the upper edge of the Amistad Reservoir flood pool near Langtry.

Hinds Cave: A Perishable Scientific Treasure
Featured site exhibit on a dry rockshelter along the Lower Pecos River that proved to be a veritable scientific treasure chest, yielding amazingly well-preserved organic remains. the oldest and southernmost bison kill site in North America.

Visitor information on the Amistad National Recreation Area.

History & Culture
Introduction to culture history of the Amistad Reservoir area.

How to See Rock Art
Check out the link to the zoomable panoramic view of Panther Cave, a site few people get to see up close.

Article on "European History in the Amistad Reservoir Basin."

Amistad National Recreation Area
National Park Service Museum Collections from the Amistad National Recreation Area. This online database includes high-quality images of over 1200 artifacts from the Amistad area.

Shumla School
Nonprofit education and research center between Del Rio and Langtry.

Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site
Information on Seminole Canyon State Park on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

Seminole Canyon
Article in The Handbook of Texas Online.

Indian Rock Art
Article in The Handbook of Texas Online.

Rattlesnake Canyon
Article in The Handbook of Texas Online.

Dr. Marvin W. Rowe Research Group
Overview of Texas A&M professor Marvin Rowe's work on dating rock art, with references.

Rock Art Foundation
Nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of Lower Pecos Rock Art.

Printed Sources

(For additional printed sources related to the Lower Pecos see Credits and Sources sections of the Bonfire Shelter and Hinds Cave exhibits.)

Acker, G. Elaine
1996 Life in a Rock Shelter: Prehistoric Indians of the Lower Pecos. Hendrick-Long
Publishing Company, Dallas.
[Readable account appropriate for children.]

Bousman, C. Britt and Michael Quigg
2006 Stable Carbon Isotopes from Archaic Human Remains in the Chihuahuan Desert and Central Texas. Plains Anthropologist 51(198):123-139.
[Study presenting evidence for the existence of two distinct dietary populations in the Lower Pecos during the Early and Late Archaic periods. The authors argue this may be the result of mate exchange between neighboring groups with different diets.]

Boyd, Carolyn E.
1996 Shamanistic Journeys into the Otherworld of the Archaic Chichimec. Latin American Antiquity 7(2):152-164.

2003 Rock Art of the Lower Pecos. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.
["Landmark volume on one of the most important bodies of rock art in the world." ]

Boyd, Carolyn E. and J. Philip Dering
1996 Medicinal and Hallucinogenic Plants Identified in the Sediments and Pictographs of the Lower Pecos, Texas Archaic. Antiquity 70: 256-275.

Danielson, D.R., and Reinhard, K.J.
1998 Human dental microwear caused by calcium oxalate phytoliths in prehistoric diet of the lower Pecos region, Texas. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 107:297-304.

Dering, J. Philip
1999 Earth-Oven Plant Processing in Archaic Period Economies: An Example from a Semi-arid Savannah in South-central North America. American Antiquity 64(4):659-674.
[Ground-breaking article, literally and figuratively, that casts serious doubt on the viability of an economy based mainly on earth-oven cooking.]

Kirkland, Forest and W.W. Newcomb, Jr.
1999 The Rock Art of Texas Indians, reprinted edition, University of Texas Press, Austin.

McGregor, Roberta
1992 Prehistoric Basketry of the Lower Pecos, Texas. Prehistory Press, Monographs in World Archaeology 6.

Maslowski, Robert F.
1978 The Archeology of Moorehead Cave, Val Verde County, Texas. Prehistoric Basketry of the Lower Pecos, Texas. Unpublished dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Available through UMI Dissertation Services).

Pearce, J. E. and A. T. Jackson
1933 A Prehistoric Rock Shelter in Val Verde County, Texas. The University of Texas Bulletin 3327.
[First detailed excavation report on a Lower Pecos site. Reprinted in 2001 and available through the Rock Art Foundation (see link above).]

Shafer, Harry J.
1986 Ancient Texans: Rock Art and Lifeways along the Lower Pecos. Texas Monthly Press, Austin.
[Excellent popular book now out of press, but often available used.]

Turpin, Solveig A.
1995 The Lower Pecos River Region of Texas and Northern Mexico. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 66:541-560.
[Summary article.]

Turpin, Solveig A., ed.
1991 Papers on Lower Pecos Prehistory. Studies in Archeology 8, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.
[Important collection of technical articles including Turpin's compilation of radiocarbon dates.]

1994 Shamanism and Rock Art in North America, Rock Art Foundation, Special Publication 1.

Turpin, Solveig A., compiler
1988 Seminole Sink: Excavation of a Vertical Shaft Tomb in Val Verde County, Texas. Memoir 22, Plains Anthropologist.