NTAS Monthly Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month, at 7:00pm.* These are a staple of our membership. In these meetings, we discuss NTAS Announcements, which include upcoming volunteer opportunities, upcoming NTAS events, upcoming Texas Archeology Society (TAS) events, and welcoming a guest speaker. Our presenters lecture on various archeological topics. Past topics include rock art, bioarcheology, and more, and these lectures cover well known and obscure archeological sites. NTAS meetings are open to the general public.
*Note: Due to Covid-19, all meetings are currently held via zoom.
Presented by: Doug Boyd, Maria Franklin, and Kevin Hanselka
Although it lasted only two decades (from 1867 to ca. 1886), the Chisolm Trail era is steeped in cowboy and cattle drive history, folklore, and mythology. The trail’s route through Texas is known, but little research has been conducted on the towns and businesses that sprang up in support of this short-lived industry. In 2020–2021, the Texas Department of Transportation sponsored a collaborative public archeology project to investigate two archeological sites that are intimately tied to the Chisholm Trail in north-central Texas. These investigations focused on the Sartin Hotel (41DN593) and the Tom Cook Blacksmith Shop (41DN617), two late-nineteenth-century commercial businesses located in Bolivar, a small town along the Chisholm Trail route in western Denton County. The latter site is especially significant because Thomas Cook, Sr., was an African American freedman who owned and operated his own blacksmith shop. As part of the ongoing research, the project seeks to understand the role of successful black entrepreneurs like Tom Cook during and after the Chisholm Trail era.
In this program, the presenters will discuss the extensive archeological excavations and findings at both sites, and the efforts to make this a “public archeology” project amid the Covid 19 Pandemic. They will also discuss the intensive outreach efforts within Denton County’s African American community, including direct participation in the archeological dig and oral history research by Tom Cook’s descendants. So far, the project has been extremely successful due to the cooperation among and between TxDOT, Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas, the North Texas Archeological Society, the Denton County Office of History and Culture, and local folks in Bolivar and Denton County.
NOTE: “Come along, boys, and listen to my tale, I’ll tell you of my troubles on the old Chisholm Trail” are the opening words to the cowboy folk song called: The Old Chisholm Trail (first published in 1910 by John A. Lomax in Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads). One of the most famous renditions of this song is by Gene Autry:
Douglas K. Boyd is a senior archeologist with Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting in Austin. He has been doing archeology, mostly in Texas, for 48 years (gasp!). He has a MA degree from Texas A&M University, and for the last 34 years has served as a project archeologist, project manager, or principal investigator on numerous cultural resources management projects. He has published many CRM reports, academic book and journal articles, popular magazine articles, and a variety of public outreach products (posters, brochures, and internet exhibits). Most of Boyd’s recent CRM work has focused on historical archeology.
Maria Franklin earned her PhD at UC Berkeley and teaches in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a historical archaeologist whose research interests include Black history and public archaeology. She has published on a range of topics in archaeology including Southern foodways, gender and clothing practices, British colonialism and slavery, and racism and African American health after emancipation.
Kevin Hanselka is an archeologist at the Texas Department of Transportation, archaeobotanist, and independent researcher with degrees from Texas State University (B.A., 1996), UTSA (M.A., 2000), and Washington University in St. Louis (Ph.D., 2011). He is on the Archaeobotany Team for the Ancient Southwest Texas Project (Lower Pecos Canyonlands), and is Principal Investigator on the 2019 Texas Archeological Society’s Annual Field School (Palo Duro Canyon State Park). At TxDOT he manages cultural resources on highway projects across the State, particularly north-central and western Texas. He presently lives in Allen with his wife Heather, daughter Sabrina, and black lab Ace.
North Texas Archeological Society
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