An introduction to the Crying Woman Ranch (CWR) Project: 41KR754 - Mike McBride

Since July 2018, the Hill Country Archeological Association (HCAA) has been investigating a rich, multi-component site (41KR754) in western Kerr County, Texas. The site is located on private land and rests on a terrace of the North Fork of the Guadalupe River.

Over 40 HCAA members have participated in project excavation and lab recording in the past 3+ years.  Weekly fieldwork days for members are scheduled for every Monday (weather permitting), as well as monthly Saturday work sessions. Members interested in participating can let us know through our email address, [email protected].

The site has produced a rich assemblage of lithic artifacts, faunal material (including bison remains), and trade items.  These trade items include Caddo pottery, obsidian from Idaho, hematite spheres, and quartz crystal, possibly from Arkansas. Diagnostic point types recov­ered in situ suggest recurring occupations at the site from the late Paleoindian period, approximately 10,665 cal. years B.P., to the Late Prehistoric Toyah phase, 650-250 years B.P.

After the discovery of a St. Mary’s Hall (SMH) Paleoindian point in July 2019, we added an excavation program to focus on site areas where more Paleoindian material may be recovered. So far, over 20 SMH lithics, five Angostura points, and a Golondrina point have been recovered from a relatively small portion of the site. A radiocarbon date on a Bison antiquus bone fragment associated with one of the SMH points has yielded a two-sigma calibrated age range of 10,665-10,370 B.P. This date significantly adds to the knowledge of the temporal span of the SMH type.

Recent excavations in the Paleo Period block of units have uncovered several rock hearths, likely used for cooking plants as well as meat.  These cooking features are all within depth layers where SMH, Golondrina, and Angostura points have been found.  This gives us evidence that the cooking events and construction of the cooking features took place in the Middle to Late Paleoindian period. Texas archeology has reported very few examples of such cooking hearths in the Paleo Period, so our work of carefully documenting and analyzing these features will add a great deal of data to our understanding of some of the first humans to inhabit Central Texas.