During the summers of 2004, 2005, and 2007, Dr. Britt Bousman directed a series of Texas State University field schools at the Cross Bar Ranch in Potter County, located north of Amarillo, Texas. The Cross Bar Ranch covers 11,000 acres in the Canadian Breaks, where rolling hills are crosscut by seasonal streams. Two Antelope Creek farmsteads, 41PT109 and 41PT283, were excavated. The sites are located on property that is currently owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Antelope Creek Phase is made up of a cluster of sites situated along the Canadian River valley in Texas and Oklahoma. To deal with the climatic conditions of the Panhandle, the Antelope Creek people built semi-subterranean houses. They used upright dolomite slabs in the construction of multi-room compounds or single-family homesteads. The Antelope Creek people are often characterized as Plains villagers. They were semi-sedentary, as is evidenced by the stone slab houses, and practiced a mixed economy. The presence of arrow points, end scrapers, bison scapula hoes, bison tibia digging sticks, and manos and metates indicate that they subsisted off of a combination of small-scale horticulture and hunting and gathering of wild plants and animals. The Antelope Creek phase is further defined by the nearly exclusive use of the brilliantly color-banded chert from nearby Alibates Quarry.
The Bureau of Land Management awarded Texas State a Grant In-Aid for all three summers. Students were instructed by Dr. Britt Bousman in various archaeological methods, including pedestrian survey, excavation, mapping, artifact analysis, and curation. This field school not only offers an incredible archaeological experience, but also gives students a chance to camp in the wilderness of the Southern High Plains.
Pictured above: Dr. Bousman and students from 2005 Cross Bar Ranch Field School.