Beginning over 10,000 years ago and continuing until the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s, hunter and gatherer societies occupied the Edwards Plateau of central Texas. Archaeological studies over the past eighty years have reconstructed their subsistence, technology, and settlement patterns, but until now little information has been available on their burial practices, due to the scarcity of known burial sites. This detailed archaeological report describes the human skeletal remains, burial furnishings, and fauna recovered from Bering Sinkhole in Kerr County, the first carefully excavated hunter-gatherer burial site in central Texas.
The remains in Bering Sinkhole were deposited from 7,500 to 2,000 years ago. Leland Bement's analysis reveals a growing elaboration in burial rituals during the period and also uncovers important data on the diet and health of the hunter-gatherers. He discusses climate change based on faunal remains and compares burial goods such as bone, antler, freshwater shell, marine shell, turtle, and stone artifacts with those found at other Texas mortuary sites and with deposits at hunter-gatherer habitation sites in Central Texas.
"A clearly written and useful resource for researchers specializing in the archaeology of Archaic populations in North America. It not only provides solid primary data on a unique mortuary program but also serves as a general introduction to the archaeology of Archaic populations in Texas for those not familiar with the region."
—Journal of Anthropological Research
"This book will be useful to anyone in archaeology interested in hunter-gather behavior, mortuary analysis for mobile societies, and in the early-middle Archaic time period for southern North America
—Harry J. Shafer, Professor of Archaeology, Texas A&M University