About the Collection
Holding library: Fondren Library
By Wilson W. Crook, III, long-time DAS member
The Dallas Archeological Society (DAS) was loosely founded in 1936 as a study group for local people in the Dallas area who were interested in archeology, paleontology, and geology. As such, the DAS became one of the oldest local archeological societies in the state. There were thirteen founding members including R. King Harris, Forest Kirkland, and the “Wylie Boys” – Rex Housewright and Lester Wilson. In 1939-40, the organization formally established a charter and bylaws and made the decision to focus on archeology.
The purpose of the organization was to bring together persons interested in the prehistory of the area for the purpose of systematic study, scientific investigation, and publication of all relevant material. That same year, the first edition of the Society’s principal publication, The Record, was issued. The Record was originally published as a monthly newsletter and included articles on new discoveries, member travel and news, as well as short articles on various local archeological subjects (sites, excavations, unique artifacts).
Over the 1940s through the 1960s, the DAS assisted a number of professional archeologists in their excavations of the Dallas metroplex area, especially those associated with the Basin River Surveys of the areas that would become Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Lewisville, Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard. Many of these excavations were either coordinated by or were conducted in association with SMU. In addition to site reports, the DAS would frequently dedicate issues of The Record to listing summaries of characteristic trait items associated with a specific culture. Notable among these were the collective traits that characterized the Early to Middle Archaic in the Upper Trinity watershed – the Carrollton and Elam Phases, as well as those that described the major Late Prehistoric occupation along the East Fork of the Trinity, the Wylie Phase. Many papers were published which described various sites and features associated with these prehistoric Dallas cultures.
The Record continued to be published on a monthly to semi-monthly basis through the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, issues of The Record became less frequent, often being published on a quarterly basis, or whenever there was enough material to warrant a new issue. This trend continued through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s until The Record finally became an annual publication around the turn of the millennium. However, despite the reduction in frequency, these latter issues of The Record contained a large number of articles and could exceed 100 pages in length as compared to the original issues which often were less than 10-15 pages. The last issue of The Record was issued in 2009 and shortly thereafter, the DAS decided to temporarily shut down due to lack of members and member interest.
Beginning in 2011, the former editor of The Record, Jesse Todd, began a new on-line publication, The Archeological Journal of the Texas Prairie Savannah, which took the place of The Record as a place for Dallas area archeological papers. This journal was published for six years from 2011-16 and all of its issues can be found on-line. At the present time (2018), neither the DAS nor any of its related publications, are active.
The catalog record for the physical volumes of The Record can be found here.
Learn more about Dallas and Texas in these other collections from SMU Libraries:
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