Prehistory & History

Late Prehistoric Period

A.D. 700 – A.D. 1700

The Late Prehistoric period is marked by the introduction of several technological advances, most notably the bow and arrow and, later, pottery. The bow and arrow quickly became the standard weapon, replacing the throwing stick, or atlatl about A. D. 700-800.

Evidence for the bow and arrows is indicated by small thin arrow points; the earliest are corner notched Scallorn and Edwards while Perdiz arrow points appear late in the Late Prehistoric sequence. Sometime after the adoption of the bow and arrow, plain, undecorated ceramics were introduced into the area. This development probably entered the area from a number of different directions, most apparent was the Caddo area to the east.

The Late Prehistoric is divided into two phases based upon radio carbon dates, arrow point types, and dietary changes. The earliest arrow point in the area is the Edwards type that dates prior to A.D. 1000 (Turner et al. 2013). In other parts of Central Texas, the first phase of this period is called the Austin Phase and dates to between A.D. 700 and 1300.

This phase is marked by the introduction of the bow and arrow, Scallorn and Edwards arrow points, and an increased use of burned rock ovens. The second phase of the Late Prehistoric is the Toyah Phase characterized by locally-made and imported Caddo ceramics, Perdiz arrow points, and specialized stone tool kits including end scrapers, beveled knives, and prismatic blades (Arnn 2012; Kenmotsu and Boyd 2012; Rogers 2008). The Toyah Phase dates from around A.D. 1300 to 1720. Climate changed with the onset of the mini-ice age and the region was overrun with Bison (American buffalo) at this time.

While bison were still an important food source for Native American peoples during the Toyah phase; deer, antelope, and other small animals were also hunted and trapped for their meat and their hides. Hide trade, especially bison and deer, were important items of trade (Creel 1990).

Unlike earlier periods, cooking would have taken place over a large hearth rather than directly on/within a burned rock oven. During the Late Prehistoric period, there are possible indications of major population movements, changes in settlement patterns, and perhaps lower population densities (Black 1989). The presence of Caddo ceramics in Toyah age campsites indicates trade with these eastern groups. Evidence of the late ending of Toyah comes from 41ME147 where mission-era Guerrero points were found alongside Perdiz points (Hester 2011).

Perdiz Points

Perdiz points as taken from Texas Beyond History.

Image Sources

  • “Perdiz Points”. Photo. TexasBeyondHistory.net 13 July 2015. < http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/trans-p/images/CB-RoughR-F1-A.html>
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