Tales of the Texas Frontier: Research Conducted by the Fort Davis Archaeology Project (FODAAP) in Fort Davis, Texas

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2017

The Fort Davis Archaeology Project is a collaborative teaching project that uses a queer feminist pedagogy to encourage and foster diversity within the project’s personnel, research questions, and interpretations of the past. This symposium highlights research conducted by FODAAP personnel in Fort Davis, Texas between 2010 - 2016. Our research focuses on the lifeways and interactions between residents of a U.S. military post and civilian community during Reconstruction (1867-1891) and through the early 20th-century in order to investigate daily life among residents of different ethno-racial, gendered, and national identities. Of particular interest to the project are the experiences of African-American soldiers, women, and Hispanic civilians and the changing ways in which various communities related to one another in a diverse and shifting frontier landscape. FODAAP employs a variety of lines of evidence - such a geoarchaeological data, geophysical survey, artifact analysis, and historic documentation - to reconstruct interpretations of the contested past.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Buffalo Soldiers, Married Soldiers, and Laundresses at Fort Davis, Texas: A Nineteenth-Century Glass Analysis of Medicinal, Health and Hygiene Vessels (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jenifer A Davis.

    This paper investigates the general health practices of lower ranking military communities at Fort Davis, Texas, a nineteenth-century U.S. Army instillation. Focusing on an assemblage of glass medicinal vessels collected from sites occupied by enlisted black troops, married soldiers’ families, and army laundresses, this study considers health management practices within the changing notions of health and disease in the context of nineteenth-century medical movements, including temperance,...

  • Buttons, Buckles, and Buffalo Soldiers: Personal Adornment and Identity at Fort Davis (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shauna M. Mundt.

    In recent years personal adornment artifacts and their relation to identity performance have gained interest among historical archaeologists. This paper analyzes personal adornment artifacts recovered from Fort Davis, Texas during FODAAP’s 2014 field season to show how Buffalo Soldiers negotiated identity within a frontier community. Fort Davis, a nineteenth century U.S. Army base located on a major frontier, was home to all of the army’s all-black regiments and an ethno-racially diverse...

  • An Early 20th-Century Midden from Fort Davis, TX (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Chandler E Fitzsimons.

    This paper presents the preliminary analysis of material recovered from a 1910-1940's domestic midden. Located in Fort Davis, Texas, a former frontier military community, this assemblage dates to roughly forty years after the fort’s closure. The paper will address how the removal of army resources and personnel at the turn of the century lead to a change in community demographics and, in turn, resulted in new modes of economic production and consumption. Moreover, the removed location of the...

  • Empires of Displacement: Native American Spatial Encounters at Postbellum Fort Davis and Russian Fort Ross (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nicholas Perez.

    While recent scholarship gives attention to Native American agency as it relates to the Spanish mission system, the same may not be said about military forts on the nineteenth-century American ‘frontier.’ Using archival material from Fort Davis, Texas and Fort Ross, California, this paper argues for a comparative approach in studying how groups from the Comanche/Apache and Kashaya Pomo tribes employed geographic mobility as a form of resistance in the face of Euro-American fortified occupation....

  • Freedom on the Frontier: The Archaeology of the Black Regulars of Fort Davis (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Laurie A. Wilkie.

    In the late 1860s, the frontier army provided opportunities for black Civil War veterans, displaced northern black workers and formerly enslaved men to develop careers.  During the Civil War, black soldiers had successfully won the fight for equal pay, and the military was a rare space that offered regular pay, educational opportunities, and limited opportunity for upward mobility.  The segregated cavalry and infantry units of the black regulars, however, quickly became posted in some of the...

  • A Geological Approach to a Historic Midden Site in Fort Davis, Texas (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jackson Huang. Erin C. Rodriguez.

    This paper focuses primarily on the depositional processes of a historical midden site through a geoarchaeological analysis of an early 1900s domestic midden from Fort Davis Texas. Microscopic investigation has traditionally been used to interpret pre-history archaeological sites with poor emphasis on historical contexts. The examination of Fort Davis’ 2014 collection of heavy-fraction artifacts and soil micromorphological samples will show how geoarchaeology can be used in historical settings...

  • Health In Early Twentieth-Century Fort Davis, Texas (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alyssa R Scott.

    Changing ideas about health can have important impacts regarding identity and the formation of a sense of place.  Fort Davis, Texas, was increasingly advertised as a health destination during the early twentieth-century.   Artifacts such as medicine bottles can give insight into social changes in health and medicine at a time when understandings of health and medicine were rapidly transforming.  These changes intersect with important social movements which occurred at around this time, including...

  • Queer Frontier Identities: A Look at at the Laundresses' Quarters and Enlisted Married Men's Quarters of Fort Davis, Texas (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katrina C. L. Eichner.

    This paper defines frontiers as queer locals that shape the relationships and practices of individuals within them.  Frontiers are liminal spaces where normative ideals are actively challenged and thrown into flux by competing ways of knowing, both new and old. Inhabitants of these heterogeneous communities simultaneous assert, contest, and reassert their positionality and personhoods daily through a series of meetings between and within cultural groups.  As a result a third space of fluidity...

  • Time-Geography in the Texas Frontier: Exploring The Topology of Difference at Fort Davis (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only mario castillo. Nicholas Perez.

    Social life in the Fort Davis community was cleaved along ethnic, racial and gendered differences, which were reinforced in the forts architectural layout. The scale of interaction along these social fault lines has been studied in many ways, but the role of the topography in structuring interaction at the fort has not been fully explored. Rather than taking the spatial configuration at Fort Davis as a natural fact, we develop a deep particularism, to determine how entrained geology conditions...

  • What Trash Tells Us: A Look at Fort Davis's 20th-Century Population (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Flores.

    Following closure of the military post in 1891, the racially and socially diverse community that had grown around Fort Davis lost one of its main economic resources. In the decades after, the civilian population saw a shift of resources from predominately military issued goods to items brought in by rail through the neighboring communities of Alpine and Marfa. This paper analyzes a select assemblage of metal, ceramic, and faunal materials excavated from an early twentieth-century domestic trash...