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CAR staff
Steve Smith
Top photo: From left are researcher Cyndi Dickey, archaeologist Jon
Dowling, researcher Steve Smith and anthropology graduate
student Lynn Wack (front).
>> View video of April 7 coverage of the CAR dig by KENS-TV,
KWEX-TV and KSAT-TV (Windows Media Player).

UTSA archaeologists find 3700 B.C. artifacts

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(April 21, 2009)--UTSA Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) researchers are examining artifacts they recently discovered that date from 3700 B.C. to 600 A.D. The artifacts were discovered during a three-month dig at Miraflores Park, east of Brackenridge Park.

CAR researchers were hired by the San Antonio design firm Rehler Vaughn & Koone to conduct an archaeological site inspection before construction of a pedestrian bridge over the San Antonio River from Brackenridge Park. What was expected to be a one-day observation turned into a three-month project which CAR researchers completed in March.

"We found a lot of Early Archaic materials from approximately 3500 B.C., which are of significant interest, including two Guadalupe tools that were used either for woodworking or the defleshing of hunted game," said Jon Dowling, CAR project archaeologist. "It was a really small area that we expected would be open and shut quickly, but it turned out to be a treasure chest of archaeology."

CAR staffers Cyndi Dickey and Steve Smith, UTSA graduate students and members of the Southern Texas Archaeological Association also worked on the project.

"It's no surprise to us when we find evidence of prehistoric occupation along a fresh-water resource," said Dowling. "It's an ideal place to live whether it was 6,000 years ago or 100 years ago."

According to Dowling, the artifacts will be curated and analyzed so CAR researchers can quantify and synthesize the data for better comprehension and understanding.

Discovered artifacts include:

  • Ensor projectile point (spear point) from the Transitional Archaic period (200 B.C.-600 A.D.)
  • Tortugas projectile point (spear point) from the Middle Archaic period or earlier
  • Early Triangular projectile point (spear point) from the Early Archaic period (3700-3600 B.C.)
  • Remnants/segment of an historic relief dam used to stop flow into the old San Antonio Water Works Raceway (dam built circa 1877 or 1878.)

To date, CAR has administered more than 500 contracts and grants. Research activities have focused on numerous prehistoric sites and historic archaeology at Spanish Colonial missions, the Alamo, historic churches and forts, and early Texas settlements. Staff members also have conducted archaeological investigations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Mexico, Belize, Africa, Turkey, Europe and South America. Results of these investigations are published in more than 300 volumes in 10 publication series.

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