CAR artifact pics

Current and Past Research Projects

A sampling of research projects sponsored by CAR are presented below. Please check back as we will periodically add and/or update projects.

1st Annual Perryton Family Archaeology Field Day

On October 3rd, 2009 Courson Archaeological Research (CAR) staff and volunteers hosted its first annual Family Archaeology Field Day.  The goal of this event was to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the prehistoric and historic cultures that occupied the region prior to settlement through “hands on” activities and games.  This event, co-sponsored by the Museum of the Plains, Perryton, Texas, was geared toward families with children ages 6 and up.  (more...)

Wolf Creek Indian Garden

In the spring of 2009 CAR research archaeologists planted a Native American Indian Garden in the Wolf Creek valley. The garden is located within a short distance of several Plains Village period (A.D. 1200-1500) archaeological sites at which CAR has sponsored archaeological excavations.

Excavations conducted by CAR at these localities have documented the use of numerous cultigens and native plants.  Domesticated cultigens recovered included maize, beans, squash, sunflower, and marsh elder.  Abundant horticultural tools and large subterranean storage pits further support the contention that these Odessa phase societies were dependent on locally grown cultigens. These findings came as somewhat of a surprise to many archaeologists who had long believed that subsistence economies west of the 100th meridian did not include a substantial horticultural component.  To better understand the feasibility of intensive horticulture in this region, as well as the challenges of practicing horticulture on the High Plains, the staff at Courson Archaeological Research initiated the Wolf Creek Indian Garden Project. Please click here to learn more about the Wolf Creek Indian Garden.

Garden Update: Day 19

Garden Update: Day 48

Garden Update: Day 63

Garden Update: Day 64

Garden Update: Day 83

Garden Update: Day 98: The Watcher's Stage

Garden Update: Day 106

Garden Update: Day 118

Garden Update: Ochiltree County 4-H Earth Science Club Tour


Kit Courson Ruins

Geophysical and Archaeological Investigations at the "East of A" Site (2000-present)

The Buried City locality is a dense concentration of Plains Village period (A.D. 1200-1500) archaeological sites located in the Wolf Creek valley of Ochlitree County, Texas (click here to view the Wolf Creek locality in a pop-up window). The Buried City is one of the most investigated archaeological complexes in Texas history, with archaeological investigations conducted in 1907, 1931, 1966, 1985, and from 2003 to present. A thorough summary of the Buried City locality and the archaeological investigations conducted there is presented by Texas Beyond History and may be viewed here.

This complex of sites is perhaps best known for its stone slab architecture (see example to right) and for this reason its inhabitants were often assumed to be closely related to the Antelope Creek phase peoples living to the SW and NW who also occupied stone slab houses. The Buried City stone slab houses were the focus of nearly all archaeological investigations conducted prior to 2003, perhaps due to the relative ease with which stone slab features can be located (i.e., the stone alignments are often visible on the ground surface). However the material culture of the Buried City peoples more closely resembles that of the subterranean pithouse dwelling Odessa phase peoples living directly adjacent to the northeast.

CAR research archaeologists hypothesized that perhaps the Buried City peoples did live in subterranean pit houses, but that the previous exclusive focus on stone slab structures had biased our understanding of these peoples. In March of 2000 CAR began a systematic investigation of one Buried City archaeological site known as the "East of A" site (41OC29). The objective of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that subterranean pit houses were utilized at the Buried City locality. The results of the investigation can be viewed by clicking here.


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