Archeology in the Lower Red River Valley
The lowest section of the Red River Valley within the Caddo Homeland is in northwestern Louisiana down to the city of Natchitoches or just below. Late Woodland sites in this area share ceramic traits with the Coles Creek cultures of the lower Mississippi Valley (but perhaps little else). By about A.D. 1000, the area was clearly part of the Caddo Homeland. Whether offshoots of Great Bend Caddo groups colonized the area or whether local peoples became part of the Caddo cultural tradition is not known. What we can say is that this portion of the Red River Valley contains major Caddo mound centers such as Gahagan, Mounds Plantation, and Belcher that span much of the Caddo era. In the historic era, several different Caddo groups inhabited the area including the Natchitoches, Doustioni, Adaes, and Yatasi. To the west were the Adais, who did not speak Caddo, but were allied with Caddo groups. By the early 1700s both the French and Spanish had established missions and forts in the area and were vying for control of trade with the Caddos.