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Road Crews in Northeast Texas Stumble Upon an Ancient Artifact

Credit TxDOT
Credit TxDOT

When Texas crews are building roads, you have to wonder what odd things they come across while they’re moving all that dirt.  Well, the latest discovery by TxDOT was way more than earthworms and compacted beer cans.  This was an ancient Indian artifact that some say had a tremendous value for the culture in 900 A.D.

The Caddo Nation has its headquarters in Binger, Oklahoma today, but the group has a long family tree in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas that extends all the way back to 900 A.D. They’ve been living in our little circle of the US for over a thousand years.  Longer than your family and mine, I’m sure.

Some road crews who probably thought they were going to have another routine day on the job, made a pretty significant discovery that archaeologists dream about stumbling upon.  The Texas Culture Collections blog says the metal artifact with a Spanish Coat of Arms was “found buried in a manner that suggests it held high value.”  Archaeologists think it’s a metal box fragment consisting of two pieces from two different sides of a Spanish jewelry box. And there’s a mythological beast on it that looks like it might have inspired Harry Potter, and although it may be small, it could have given a big boost to the local economy at the time.

Spanish explorers may have interacted with the Caddo Nation in an area near the Neches River in Van Zandt County, and the experts say this piece could be evidence of “direct contact between Native Americans and Europeans in the area – that led to established trade starting in 1686.”  Since it was buried, archaeologists think it had big value and could have been a war trophy.  TxDOT found several other artifacts too, and the plan is to preserve the area and all of the artifacts that they recover.

We already knew Texas had a rich history, but stories like these make you wonder what’s still lying underneath.  You just might be surprised by some history the next time you’re digging in the back yard.


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