By Tiffany Osburn, THC Regional Archeologist
In August 2013, Chris Lintz, Cultural Resource Specialist for Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Wildlife Division, found evidence of extensive vandalism at two archeological sites (one midden site and one rockshelter site) on the Kerr Wildlife Management Area. On December 3–4, 2013, members of the Hill Country Archeological Association (HCAA), Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Texas Archeological Stewardship Network (TASN), joined Lintz and me, to backfill and document these vandals’ pits.
Vandals had excavated more than 25 pits on the two sites, some up to one meter deep, tunneling into cultural layers and destroying invaluable archeological data along the way. The volunteer groups worked to document the location and dimensions of each pit with photographs, GPS, and sketch maps before filling the holes and camouflaging the damage to deter additional attention.
Vandalism of cultural resources in Texas has been an increasingly complex problem. Assistance and public education provided by groups like TASN and other archeological societies throughout the state make a difference in preserving the heritage of Texas.
HCAA is one of these groups, with a mission that includes cultivating public interest and knowledge about the history and prehistory of the Texas Hill Country. Members of this group recently worked to create an extensive exhibit about Texas archeology at the Riverside Nature Center in Kerrville. Titled “17,000 Years of Hill Country Life”, the exhibit features large educational panels that cover the entire prehistory of human occupation in Texas. Videos in the exhibit explain the importance of conducting scientific archeology to recover information about past cultures. Several examples of archeological projects that have added to our knowledge of past Texans are explained in video format as well. The exhibit will be on display through February.
This excellent work by HCAA members is indicative of how volunteer archeologists can make a real difference in their communities and help preserve archeological sites through public education. For more information about HCAA and its activities, visit its website.
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