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Radiocabon Dating

Radiocarbon Dating Understood

The radiocarbon dating method, the most relied-upon scientific dating tool used in archeology today, estimates the ages of organic materials—wood charcoal, bones, basketry, and much more. Today‘s archeologists routinely send off samples to be dated, yet radiocarbon dating methods remain poorly understood by many archeologists. This exhibit explains the intricacies of radiocarbon dating to serious students of archeology and science lovers to help guide the wielding of this powerful tool.

Cairn Burials of West-Central Texas

Stone Cairns of West-Central Texas

Hundreds of rock cairns, some marking the graves of Late Prehistoric people, lie atop the mesas and stream terraces near Abilene. These mysterious features may relate to a time of interaction and conflict on the Plains, as different groups vied for resources and territory.

Learning from Cabeza de Vaca

Learning from Cabeza de Vaca

The earliest accounts of the native peoples of Texas were given to us by Cabeza de Vaca and his companions. Shipwrecked on the Texas Gulf Coast in 1528, these men made their way from the shores near present-day Galveston to Mexico City during a seven-year ordeal. Their reports of that amazing journey provide fascinating—albeit enigmatic—glimpses of native lifeways and the various odd-sounding foods they extracted from often harsh landscapes. Based on studies of traditional foods and cooking technologies, anthropologist and archeologist Alston Thoms infers what the various unidentified roots, tubers, nuts, fruits, and fish may have been and how they were prepared.

Plains Villagers of the Texas Panhandle

Plains Villagers of the Texas Panhandle

Some 800 years ago, the northern Texas Panhandle was "settled" for the first time by Indian peoples who lived in substantial houses with stone foundations and survived by hunting, gathering, and farming. The Antelope Creek culture of the Canadian River Valley is the best known local example, but archeologists now recognize many variations on the Plains Village theme. Five exhibits help tell the unfolding story of the Plains Villagers of the Texas Panhandle.


Tejas: Life and Times of the Caddo

Tejas: Life and Times of the Caddo special exhibit with six interwoven exhibits providing an intimate look at the Caddo's long and distinguished history, at ancient and living Caddo tradition, and at the tribe's many contributions to the cultural heritage of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The Tejas exhibits explain who the Caddo are, who they were, where they came from, and what Caddo life was like in different points in time.

Frontier Forts

Texas frontier forts are the haunting reminders of the violent cultural conflict that dominated the nineteenth century, as white settlement moved westward across the state into the domain of the Kiowas, Comanches, and other Plains Indians. Over the nearly 50-year period that the U.S. Military patrolled the Texas frontier, some 35 forts and another 20 camps and temporary outposts were constructed. Today, only a few sites with standing structures remain, while the rest are recalled only by a simple marker. In the following web "exhibits," we examine the forces and players that shaped the conflicts and the Army's solutions in four diverse regions across the state.

Stone Tools of Texas

Stone Tools of Texas

Texas Indians created a great variety of stone tools and ornaments using many of the diverse rocks they found throughout the state and sometimes materials traded from distant sources. While much attention has been placed on projectile points—"arrowheads" including dart points and true arrow points—many of the other kinds of stone artifacts are not well known. This exhibit presents a photo gallery introducing many of the kinds of stone artifacts that archeologists have identified—almost everything except projectile points.