Decker, Susan, Black, Stephen L. and Thomas Gustavson
2000 The Woodrow Heard Site, 41UV88: A Holocene Terrace Site in the Western Balcones Canyonlands of Southwestern Texas. Studies in Archeology 33, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin.
The Woodrow Heard site lies on a terrace along the Dry Frio River in northern Uvalde County, and contains dated cultural remains from the Early Archaic through the Late Prehistoric periods. The site is discussed within its context in the Western Balcones Canyonlands, a subregion of the Edwards Plateau that has seen comparatively little archeological investigation. The topographic setting of the canyonlands, with its narrow river valleys divided by steep ridges, has affected settlement patterns in the past, and occasional flash floods have both buried and eroded archeological remains.
The migration of the river channel within the Dry Frio canyon caused the expansion of the terrace on which the site is located. Cultural remains are present from 8400 to 8900 B.P., located near the edge of the river before its final migration. After the migration the old channel filled fairly rapidly and contains dated cultural material beginning about 6500 B.P. By about 3500 B.P. the surface stabilized, and the remains of subsequent occupations slowly accumulated forming a mixed-age deposit.
A paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the site was based on stable isotope analysis of sediments and snails, macrobotanical identifications of charcoal samples, and the vertebrate and invertebrate faunal remains. The site area was cooler and moister in the Early Holocene than today, but after 6500 B.P. the climate gradually began to get warmer and drier. Like many other paleobiological records in Texas, the evidence for the Woodrow Heard site does not indicate a strong Hypsithermal interval, partly because of its protected location in a riparian environment surrounded by hills. The plant and animal remains indicate that throughout the site's occupations there were both wooded and open grassland environments within hunting distance. Sotol and/or yucca were available and utilized as early as 8000 B.P.
Fifty-eight cultural features were identified at the site, all but one of them burned rock features. An analysis of their forms indicates a strong continuity in feature types throughout the site's history. Small burned rock clusters, rock rings, basin hearths, and large oven features were present in the Early to Late Archaic periods. In the Middle Archaic and later periods, these same forms continue to be used, and burned rock scatters and middens also formed on a stable surface.
Among the lithic artifacts from the site are those from an Angostura component dating from 8400 to 8000 B.P. The Angostura component is the site's only reasonably discrete lithic assemblage. Later Early Archaic artifacts date from 6500 to 4500 B.P. These provide comparisons to other Early Archaic assemblages in Texas and northeastern Mexico and point to the need for further research.