Low Impact, High Resolution: Ongoing Investigations in Eagle Nest Canyon

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Eagle Nest Canyon is a box-canyon tributary to the Rio Grande near Langtry, Texas in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. This short canyon played an outsized role in 1930s-1980s Lower Pecos archaeology through seminal excavations at three of its rockshelters, most famously Bonfire Shelter. In 2013 Texas State University's Ancient Southwest Texas Project launched a long-term collaborative research program to investigate the human and natural history of Eagle Nest Canyon, share what we learn, and conserve the Canyon's rockshelters for future generations. The 2014 season focused on Skiles Shelter, Kelley Cave, Horse Trail Shelter, and Eagle Cave, while the 2015 investigations will concentrate on the latter. “Low impact, high resolution” characterizes our investigative philosophy and methodology. This symposium summarizes work accomplished to date, including investigative methods and results, 3D modeling, site formation processes, geoarchaeology, archaeobotany, and the ongoing spring 2015 field session.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-7 of 7)

  • Documents (7)

  • The Archaeobotany of Kelley Cave (41VV164): A Glimpse of Prehistoric Plant Use in the Lower Pecos Region of Texas (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Hanselka. Leslie Bush. Phil Dering.

    Sheltered sites in the Lower Pecos region of Texas are renowned for their spectacular plant preservation. Recent excavations in Kelley Cave (41VV164) in Eagle Nest Canyon yielded abundant well-preserved plant remains within Feature 4, a large pit thought to represent an earth oven facility with a complex history of use and abandonment. Most of the plant materials from Feature 4 probably represent the accumulation of waste products of plant foods prepared in other nearby earth ovens, intermingled...

  • 'Bugs in Eagle Cave, Lower Pecos Canyonlands, Texas'‏ (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eva Panagiotakopulu.

    The desiccating conditions in desert caves provide a unique opportunity for detailed research on organic materials. Previous examples of insect studies from the desert edge in Egypt, from Akhenaten’s city at Amarna, have indicated the potential of research with fossil insects, both for understanding environmental change and the nature of agriculture, and also for evidence of the early biogeography of insect borne diseases. However, there is limited information on hunter gatherer societies and ...

  • An Extraordinary Earth Oven Facility at Kelley Cave (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephen Black.

    Feature 4 is a complex, well-preserved feature documented in Kelley Cave, a dry rockshelter in Eagle Nest Canyon that was investigated in 2013-2014 by the Ancient Southwest Texas Project of Texas State University. What we first recorded and still habitually refer to as "a feature" is a stratigraphically complex set of deposits and interfaces that formed near the mouth of the rockshelter over time. We think it represents an earth oven facility reused many times to bake agave lechuguilla, wild...

  • Flooding Past and Present: Extreme Geomorphic Events in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Charles Frederick. Mark Willis. Ken Lawrence. George R. Hermann. Jacob Sullivan.

    Although presently a desert environment, extreme flood events are part of life in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. This paper examines two such flood events, one preserved in the deposits of Skiles Shelter and Kelly Cave, and another that occurred on June 20th 2014. These events provide examples of catastrophic floods that punctuate the sedimentary records in the shelters and contrast with the more incrementally formed deposits that occur in association with human activity in these settings. The...

  • Floods, Muds, and Plant Baking: ASWT Excavations at Skiles Shelter (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Charles Koenig.

    Skiles Shelter (41VV165) is a "wet" rockshelter situated approximately ½ kilometer upstream from the confluence of Eagle Nest Canyon and the Rio Grande in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas. Due to the threat of inundation and damage due to extreme flooding events when Rio Grande flooding backs up from Amistad Reservoir, Skiles Shelter is the most-threatened site within Eagle Nest Canyon. Initial testing of Skiles was conducted during the 2013 Texas State field school. In 2014, the Ancient...

  • A Microstratigraphic Approach to Evaluating Site Formation Processes at Eagle Cave (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christina Nielsen.

    Eagle Cave (41VV167) is a large dry rockshelter with deep stratified deposits spanning the Early Archaic through the Late Prehistoric periods. My thesis research focuses on the deposits in the northern sector of the shelter sampled during the 1963 excavations by UT-Austin and again a half century later by Texas State University in 2014. My goal is to use multiple lines of evidence to evaluate the natural and cultural formation processes that resulted in the complexly stratified, culturally rich...

  • Ongoing Geoarchaeological Investigations in Eagle Nest Canyon (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ken Lawrence. Charles Frederick. Jacob Sullivan. Christina Nielsen.

    This presentation summarizes the 2014 geoarchaeological investigations conducted at Kelley Cave (41VV164), Skiles Shelter (41VV165), and Eagle Cave (41VV167) and highlights elements of the ongoing analyses. Research begun in 2013 at Kelley Cave and Skiles Shelter was expanded and new work was begun in Eagle Cave. The geoarchaeological investigations have encountered new problems, opportunities, and several surprises. The data obtained from each site includes micromorphological samples,...