Chemical analysis of ceramics from the Toyah archaeological area



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The artifact assemblage generally known as the Toyah Phase represents not only the final hunter-gatherer cultural manifestation of the prehistoric period in central and southern Texas, but also the only pre-contact hunter-gatherer group in this area known to have manufactured ceramics. At archaeological sites in central Texas, sherds of these plain, bone-tempered ceramics are often found alongside sherds from vessels believed to have been manufactured in east Texas by Caddoan farmers. This thesis utilizes chemical compositional data obtained from Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) of Toyah and Caddoan ceramics recovered from archaeological sites in central Texas to formulate groups of sherds based upon chemical similarity of the materials used in their manufacture. The geographic distribution of the archaeological sites from which these sherds were recovered are examined in an attempt to learn more about the mobility of both Toyah and Caddoan groups. In addition, these groups are examined in light of the ethnohistoric record to suggest possible scenarios of Toyah-Caddoan interaction. Finally, future avenues of research are suggested which could help shed additional light on the results of this study.