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ARCHEOLOGY: EARLY PEOPLES OF THE COASTAL BEND

Archeology is a relatively new discipline, only defined in the U.S. in the 1950s, but people have been curious about artifacts and the people who left them for a very long time.  In the Coastal Bend during the 1920s, Martin and Potter made early surveys. Those records were privately published. In the 1920s and 1930s a father and step-son, Harold Pape and John Tunnell, began an extensive survey, making detailed notes as they collected artifacts.  This collection was published by their son and grand-son recently.

In the late 1940s T. N. Campbell from UT-Austin conducted local excavations and published in the Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society.  He continued his research and synthesis through the 1960s.  In the 1960s university trained archeologist Jim Corbin who grew up in Ingleside added interpretative data for the coastal bend.  Archeologist Bob Ricklis became the dean of coastal archeology as he investigated many regional sites while serving as senior archaeologist at TRC Environmental Corporation and president of Coastal Archaeological Research in Corpus Christi.

More recently members of the THC Archeological Stewards network, including Pat Braun and others have continued to document sites and finds in the region and report to the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at UT-Austin where the central depository of data and artifacts is housed. A group from the Museum of the Coastal Bend, Victoria, has recorded and preserved many sites in the region. Historic archeology has been conducted by Texas Tech professor Tamra Walter on the mission sites near Victoria.

Archeologists who work in the region have identified and reported sites that show PaleoIndian, Archaic, Late Prehistoric and Historic eras. Sites and their interpretation provide stories of early peoples who occupied the coastal bend region for thousands of years.

Kudos go to the committee that developed the archeology theme: Pam Stranahan, Maureen Winkelman, Lisa Knoblett, Tim Mullins, Hannah Hawes, Kam Wagert, and Leah Oliva. Special thanks to Scott Wagert, who created the poster designs and Phil Stranahan, who assisted with the AV for the tablets.

Financial support for this exhibit came from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation.