Travis County Archeological Society

Our next regular meeting will be Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 7pm at Santa Rita Cantina's central location, 1206 W 38th St (26 Doors shopping center). Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month, except June and December. They are free and open to the public. For those who wish to come early, we gather around 5:45 PM for dinner, drinks, and fellowship. The short business meeting starts at 7:00 PM, followed by the guest speaker's presentation.

The February program will feature Andy Malof (Lower Colorado River Authority) on

Analysis of Paired Special Samples from the Escondido Creek Valley, Karnes County

Following a cultural resources survey of LCRA’s proposed T-577 transmission line rebuild project, located in eastern Karnes and western DeWitt counties, LCRA proposed additional survey-level testing for two prehistoric archaeological sites, 41KA209 and 41KA210. The sites are located on either side of Escondido Creek, a left bank tributary of the San Antonio River. The sites were considered to be of unknown status for State Archeological Landmark eligibility, and were similar stratigraphically. In both cases, survey-level subsurface testing went through clay loams with minimal cultural material before encountering pale silts, also with minimal cultural material but a marked increase in Rabdotus and other snail shell, suggesting a possible stable landform marked by a stratigraphic unconformity.

Among the materials encountered at 41KA209 was a small quantity of burned sandstone with apparent organic residue, or rind. A small amount was opportunistically collected from between depths of 150 and 180 cm below ground surface. At 41KA210, a sample of six Rabdotus species shell was opportunistically collected from between 70 and 130 cm below ground surface.

In order to better determine the eligibility potential for the two sites, LCRA proposed special sample studies on the two collections. The burned sandstone would be directly dated under the assumption that it indeed had organic residue. The snails would be seriated using amino acid racemization methods to determine degree of deposit mixing, and to aid in a selection of shell for direct radiocarbon dating. Two shells were subsampled and analyzed for amino acid racemization to test for variability in relative age across a single shell and differential rates of old carbon ingestion by the organism.

The results of the paired sampling were compared for accuracy and precision to aid in determining SAL status. It was hoped a local correction actor for snail shell might be established, and that a better understanding of local formation processes could be attained.

Andrew Malof is an archaeologist at the Lower Colorado River Authority in Austin, where he has been employed for close to 20 years. His interests include hunter-gatherer economies, landscape-scale spatial analysis, the role of archaeology in modern society, and, of course, archaeomalacology.

Wondering what our programs are like? View the list of speakers and topics we've had since 2006.


March 19: Regular meeting with speaker Harry J. Shafer, Ph.D. (Renowned Texas Archeologist) on The Classic Mimbres Mogollon Culture at the NAN Ranch Ruin: Known Facts and New Findings

This presentation is about the findings from several decades of research at the Classic Mimbres NAN Ranch Ruin in southwest New Mexico. The Classic Mimbres culture rose out of the regional Mogollon tradition and flourished for about A.D 940 to 1040. The Mimbres River valley had one of the highest populations in the American Southwest at that time. They left an artistic legacy of painted pottery and an architectural tradition that mimicked their layered universe cosmology. Questions have been raised as to who where the Mimbres people and where did they go? New findings have shed some light on these and other issues such as where the pottery was being made and its implications, explaining their unique mortuary tradition, recent evidence of brewing, and more.