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Spiro Mounds site shell engraving



Remote Sensing Reveals Circular Patterns at Bryson-Paddock Site

Bill Pierson with magnetometer.

Texas Historical Commission archeologist Bill Pierson and magnetometer.

Remote sensing conducted at the Bryson-Paddock site in April has revealed a circular (approx. 42' in diameter) anomaly which may be another large house like the one excavated in the 1970s. Dr. Richard Drass and Dr. Susan Vehik (OU) and Dr. Stephen Perkins (OSU) have been conducting research at the mid-18th century Wichita village since 2003.

Dr. Jim Bruseth, Director of the Archeology Division, and Bill Pierson of the Texas Historical Commission and Bob Crosser and Dick Gregg of the Fort Bend Archaeological Society volunteered their time and equipment to conduct magnetometer and electrical conductivity surveys of portions of the site. The work took place over three days in mid-April and covered close to eight acres of this large village. The remote sensing was undertaken to attempt to map features such as pits, hearths, houses and a possible fortification trench to aid in investigations including future excavations.

The magnetometer images proved extremely valuable in detecting features and the density of past activities in different parts of the site. Dr. Bruseth has had similar success with this instrument at the Caddo mound and village site, the George C. Davis site, as well as other Texas archeological sites.

The last run of the last day provided the image below of this interesting circular pattern. We won't know for sure what this anomaly is until it's tested, but the last house excavated at Bryson-Paddock was a 40' circular structure. Its size has suggested to some a use as a ceremonial or community building. The pattern in the lower part of the image is quite visible, and another circular pattern may be present in the upper right (see circled area in lower image). Closer review of the large amount of data collected during the remote sensing may reveal other structures.

One significant part of the site that may help answer questions about a fortification trench at Bryson-Paddock is in wheat at this time of year. We hope that the Dr. Bruseth and his crew may be able to return to Oklahoma in the fall when we can get into the wheat field.

Our understanding of this 18th century French contact site has been significantly enhanced with the remote sensing data and we very much appreciate the time and efforts of Jim Bruseth, Bill Pierson, Bob Crosser and Dick Gregg. Additionally, volunteers Liz Tereba (OU graduate student), Lauren Cleeland (OU undergraduate student), Mike McKay (OU graduate student), Fred Schneider and Mary Ann Drass helped map, lay out grids and survey. And, as always, our deep gratitude to Mrs. Rose Paddock and Mr. Terry Cheek for allowing us access to the site, their hospitality and their interest in the research.

Richard Drass, Susan Vehik and Stephen Perkins

Remote sensing image with circular anomaly.

.Remote sensing image.

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