General Meeting, May 18, 2019

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

Title: Bonfire Shelter: A Jumping Off Point for Understanding Ancient 

Americans in West Texas (more info)

Speaker: Dr. David Kilby, Associate Professor, Texas State University


The Ancient Southwest Texas Project (ASWT) at Texas State University began a new fieldwork initiative at Bonfire Shelter in 2017. The site is compelling for two primary reasons. First, it may preserve evidence of the oldest and southernmost “bison jump” in North America; however, there is disagreement as to whether a 12,000-year-old layer of bones represents one or as many as three hunting events, and whether or not they truly represent bison jumps. If they do, it is an unprecedented adaptive strategy for North American Paleoindians. Second, a lower layer includes remains of mammoth and other Pleistocene megafauna of ambiguous origin. Previous researchers have argued that these 14,600 year old remains also reflect human activity, but this has never been verified. If the lowest deposits were confirmed as human-related, the site would rank among the earliest in America. This presentation will review the new investigations at Bonfire Shelter by ASWT, and present some tentative conclusions along with some lingering questions.


David Kilby is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University and is Co-Director of the Ancient Southwest Texas Project. His research focuses on the archaeology of the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, with particular emphasis on the relationship between Ice Age foragers and the changing physical environment of the North American Southern Plains, West, and Southwest.

He is currently undertaking new investigations at Bonfire Shelter in west Texas. He has also pursued research on Clovis caches throughout his career. David’s current fieldwork also includes Blackwater Draw in New Mexico (the Clovis Site), and two new Paleoindian sites in the Texas Panhandle. He is editor of the books Clovis Caches: Recent Discoveries and New Research and Geology, Archaeology, and Climate Change at Blackwater Draw, New Mexico, and the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles on Paleoindian archaeology.

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 2018 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. The purpose of these scholarships is to encourage members to further their knowledge and experience in archeology. Learn More . . .


The Office of Historic Preservation Presents – Archaeology in San Antonio

(click image for pdf)

Date/Time: MAY 20, 2019 • 6:30-7:30 PM

Speaker: Matthew Elverson


In celebration of Preservation Month in May, the Office of Historic Preservation, in partnership with the San Antonio Public Library, will feature a presentation on archaeological discoveries in San Antonio. Join us as we review recent archaeological investigations in San Antonio and celebrate our rich cultural heritage!

This event is Free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Central Library garage. Light refreshments will be served.

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)


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.


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)


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