Fun Facts

Archeology is not the study of dinosaurs, rocks or fossils — archeology is the study of past human cultures through the material culture left behind. Archeologists use many scientific techniques to reveal the past. See What Does An Archeologist Do? for a brief explanation and links to additional publications.

The Spanish explorers and missionaries, who were the first Europeans to enter Texas, often adopted Texas Indian names for rivers and other natural features. The Spaniards translated the place names into Spanish, and many of the Indian origins for place-names have been lost. See our selection of Texas place-names derived from Indian language as well as names that are associated with Indians or their activities.

  • Bison (or American buffalo) were hunted by Native Americans on foot long before the horse was introduced into the New World.
  • The horse was introduced to American Indians by the Spaniards after 1500.
  • Hunting with an atlatl allowed for prehistoric hunters to take down large game from a distance.
  • Needles made from animal bone or thorns were used to sew clothes.
  • Most of the frontier forts of Texas were established in the 1840s, yet they were temporarily abandoned during the Civil War.
  • Nearly 2 million artifacts were recovered during the excavations of the Belle shipwreck in Matagorda Bay.