30 Years of the TASN: Celebrating with Good Food and Great Talks

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Archeology

By Rebecca Shelton, THC North-Central Texas Regional Archeologist

The Texas Archeological Stewardship Network’s (TASN) annual workshop is an important event that brings together members from across the state, and helps them make connections, share ideas, and set goals. As part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the network of avocational volunteers, the workshop was held in August at the scenic Kerr Wildlife Management Area (WMA) outside of Hunt (Kerr County).

The morning talks kicked off with the new stewards orientation, in which 12 new members sat with Pat Mercado-Allinger, Texas Historical Commission (THC) Archeology Division director and state archeologist, and me, to learn more about the program.  After the general business meeting and announcements, the presentations began. The theme for this year’s workshop focused on ancient cooking and hunting technologies. Kerry Nichols, THC East Texas regional archeologist, engaged the audience with a dynamic presentation on various hunting technologies. After the talk, hands-on atlatl and bow and arrow demonstrations were held outside. At the same time, Amy Borgens, state marine archeologist, presented artifacts from investigations at the Pass Cavallo shipwreck.

A lunch of barbeque was served with the traditional fixings, sides, and pecan pie. This was also the time to honor and acknowledge stewards for their contributions. Four founding members of the TASN received the Jim Word Award for 30 years of service: Dick Gregg (Harris County), Sheldon Kindall (Harris County), Enrique Madrid (Presidio County), and Bob Turner (Travis County). Two individuals, Del Barnett (Mills County) and Bonnie McKee (Montague County), received the award for 20 years of service, and Robert Crosser (Fort Bend County) received the award for 10 years of service.

There were 12 recipients of the Norman Flaigg Certificate for Outstanding Performance for exemplary contributions during the past year: Rolla Shaller (Randall County), S. Evans Turpin (Pecos County), Bryan Jameson (Bosque County), Art Tawater (Parker County), Pat Braun (Aransas County), Patti Haskins (Gregg County), Morris Jackson (Nacogdoches County), Sandra Rogers (Walker County), Don Keyes (Montgomery County), Bill Birmingham (Victoria County), Frank Condron (Jackson County), and Ben McReynolds (Goliad County). An additional 12 members received honorable mentions for their performance: Alvin Lynn (Tarrant County), Joe D. Rogers (Deaf Smith County), Jim Schmidt (Travis County), May Schmidt (Travis County), Doug Wilkens (Ochiltree County), Kay Woodward (Kerr County), Ona B. Reed (Brewster County), Neal Stilley (Henderson County), Beth Aucoin (Harris County), Pat Aucoin (Harris County), Dick Gregg (Harris County), and Tommy Nuckols (Harris County).

After the hearty meal, the presentations continued with a fascinating talk on ancient uses of native plants in Texas. Dr. Leslie Bush, principal and owner of Macrobotanical Analysis, shared the various lines of evidence that are used to identify which plants were being used for manufacture of goods and which ones were selected for human consumption. A variety of examples, including yaupon holly tea, quinoa flour, and cookies made with mesquite flour were provided for tasting during the breaks throughout the day.

The final speaker, Dr. Christopher Lintz, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department archeologist, spoke about his challenging, yet rewarding, task of managing cultural resources within the Wildlife Division. He provided excellent case studies of how land management and development can be adapted to avoid and protect cultural resources, while still utilizing efficient and environmentally friendly land-use practices.

The TASN was formed in 1984 to assist the small staff of THC archeologists in the preservation and interpretation of the vast archeological landscape of Texas, which covers 266,807 square miles and 254 counties. Stewards are not professional archeologists, but they are highly trained and motivated avocational archeologists who strictly work on a volunteer basis to assist THC staff in a wide variety of activities. Learn more at the TASN webpage.

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  • The new stewards orientation was held in the cool morning air on the WMA porch with coffee.

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