CHISPA CREEK, CULBERSON COUNTY, TEXAS
The Chispa Creek site was discovered by Van Horn, Texas, native and later University of Colorado Museum archaeologist, Joe Ben Wheat in 1946. In subsequent years, Wheat collected numerous Folsom and later artifacts from three separate localities comprising the site. In 1967, the University of Colorado tested one of the localities, though the results were never published. The only extended statement on the site was by Wheat at the 1991 SAA meetings in New Orleans; otherwise, it has received only passing comment in the literature. The lack of publications has given rise to misconceptions about the site and its assemblage.
The assemblage from the site (currently held at the University Museum, University of Colorado), contains some 90 Folsom points, 61 Folsom preforms, and a large number and variety of later Paleoindian diagnostics (Amick and Hofman 1999). This is the single largest number of Paleoindian tools found at any site in the Trans-Pecos, and rivals that of any Paleoindian site from the Plains. Importantly, it lies in the basin and range, a physiographic zone not usually considered to be much utilized by Paleoindian foragers.
During the 2002 field season, we constructed a topographic map of the site area (~450,000m2), surveyed within that area nine 100 x 100 m blocks, intensively surveyed areas of heavy sheet wash erosion to assess geomorphic processes operative on site, and put in a number of 1 x 1 m test excavations to assess the nature and density of buried archaeological material. A preliminary report will be forthcoming in early 2003. For now, we can report that the site has rattlesnakes. Lots of ‘em.
Looking west across Wheat's excavation area.
Aelian processes at work -
during, and after a dust storm, June 2002.