General Meeting, July 20, 2019

Doors open at 12 noon with refreshments. Meeting begins at 1:00 pm.

Title: What Archeobotany Can Tell Us About Ancient Texas (and other places too)

Speaker: Leslie L. Bush, Paleoethnobotanist


The Texas plants we enjoy today have been used for food, medicine, and crafts for millennia by the Native people of Texas. Written accounts by Spanish missionaries and European explorers, Native oral traditions, and archaeological investigations provide windows into the many fascinating uses of our Texas native plants. I’ll outline how archaeologists recover and identify plant remains and talk about particular finds in central Texas of plants used for food, fibers, dye, healing, and weapons.

  • Leslie Bush at famous Konza Praire in Kansas near Fort Riley

  • Strawberry Pitaya Cactus

  • Strawberry Pitaya Cactus seed

  • Prickly Poppy Seed

  • Prickly Poppy Flower


Leslie L. Bush is a paleoethnobotanist, an archaeologist who specializes in identifying bits of plants preserved on archaeological sites, usually in the form of charcoal and occasionally as waterlogged wood or other plant parts. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2001, and her dissertation was published by the University of Alabama Press. Through her consulting practice, Macrobotanical Analysis, she has worked on sites in eighteen states including Maryland, Florida, Iowa, Montana, Indiana, and Texas. Leslie is currently involved with investigations associated with the improvement of Highway 271 in Titus County, Baylor University’s work at rockshelters in central Texas, and the Texas Historical Commission’s work on Fort St. Louis/Presidio La Bahia.

PlaceRiverside Nature Center – 150 Francisco Lemos, Kerrville, Texas 78028


HCAA awards scholarships on an annual basis through the following program:


Paul Smith Memorial Scholarship Announcement

Scholarship applications are now being accepted for the 2019 Paul Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund. The awards provide assistance to HCAA members who are attending archeological field school events, conferences, and other activities acceptable to the board of directors. This includes scholarships to archeology graduate students. The purpose of these scholarships is to encourage members to further their knowledge and experience in archeology. Learn More . . .

Historic African-American Family Graveyard Project HCAA KE38 (2019)

Photo 1. Descendants of Wren Family, Gloria Thompson (left) and May Herndon (right), at the Cemetery entrance.

Have you ever wondered if there were enslaved African-Americans and their slave owners living in Kendall County and the surrounding counties before the Civil War? The answer is, yes! After all, Texas was a confederate state during the civil war—the majority of Texans supported slavery and many owned enslaved African-Americans.

Now you may be wondering, “What happened to these enslaved folks when they were set free?” Or maybe, “What was an enslaved person’s life like here before and after the civil war?” In this article I will discuss the history of the Wren Cemetery—an African-American cemetery—and how it came to be here only 3 miles from Boerne. (Read more with Part 1 article and Part 2 article)


Historic Caleb Thomas’ Log Cabin Project HCAA KE37 (2018)

On a bluff overlooking the Cibolo Creek in Boerne there stands today a small one-room log cabin built by Caleb Thomas between 1910 and 1918.

Caleb’s Cabin about 2016. The fire place is on the north side of the cabin. Photo by Mark Holly.

Most of what we know of Caleb is what he told others—his oral history. Caleb was born into a life of enslavement in about 1848 in or near Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was an African-American who served as a house boy to this owner. His owner did not set his slaves free in 1863 as dictated by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, rather he set Caleb and the rest of his slaves free in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.

Buying and selling African-Americans into enslavement in the USA had been a practice beginning about 1619 in Jamestown. In 1863 there were an estimated 4 million enslaved African-Americans in the USA. In Texas about 30% of the population was estimated to have been enslaved African-Americans. (Read more)


A Brief Summary

In February 1999, Robert “Bobby” Rector of Kerrville sent a letter out to area professional and ad-vocational archeologists asking their interest in forming a new archeological group in Kerrville. Many replied and offered their assistance. In March 1999, an archeology rendezvous on the river was held at the Kerrville-Schreiner State Park. Following it, a newspaper notice invited those interested to a meeting at the library with the hopeful intent of forming an archeology group . . . Read more.

To learn even more, just click Our History pdf or History page.

Congratulations to our graduates!

Our fifteen 2018 “Field and Lab Techniques” students have graduated with honors! This is by far the largest class ever since HCAA’s first training course about eight to nine years ago. Students came from near and far . . .  some as much as 130 miles away! All, of course, are HCAA members. We even had a waiting list who are now first in line for our next class in 2020. Be sure to contact Steve Stoutamire to save a spot.

Congratulations 2018 Graduating Class!

To contact us: Visit our contact page, or email contact

Mail your inquiries to HCAA, PO Box 290393, Kerrville Texas 78029-0393


“Never neglect details.” – Colin Powell