Chenopodium

Guadalupe gravels

The gravel bars along the Guadalupe River on the eastern edge of the South Texas Plains contained many cobbles of chert, quartzite, and other materials suitable for tool making. In comparison to the river gravels found in other of the region's gravels, only those found in the upper Nueces River rival those found along the Guadalupe River in terms of size and quality. For basically the same reason, both rivers drain the chert-bearing limestone formations of the Edwards Plateau. The Guadalupe is a larger more powerful river, hence it was able to move considerable quantities of Edwards chert down river. Like other river gravels of the region, the gravels found along the Guadalupe River, particularly in Dewitt and Victoria counties, contain lots of reworked ancient "Uvalde" gravels as well as materials derived from the Edwards Plateau in more recent times (probably Late Pleistocene.

Because of these factors, Guadalupe River gravels are made up of different kinds of rocks, including chert, quartzite, and fossilized wood, as well as softer rocks such as sandstone that have traveled shorter distances.

photo of guadalupe gravels
Gravels from Guadalupe River north of Victoria by flintknapper and archeologist Glenn T. Goode. Notice the brown piece in the center. That was once an artifact that subsequently became part of the gravel load of the river. Its original flake scares can still be seen, but they are abraded by stream transport. One likely explanation for the occurrence of this piece is that it represents a discarded failed tool, a "thick biface," that some prehistoric flintknapper discarded while sitting on a gravel bar upstream trying to make stone tools. Speculative, of course, but reworked stone tools can be found in the gravel bars of most of the rivers in the region, if you know what you what to look for.
photo of guadalupe gravels
Among the prime resources along the Victoria-Morhiss stretch of the Guadalupe were gravel bars and exposures where suitable tool-making stones could be found. One such gravel bar can be seen here in the Victoria City Park. Photo by Steve Black.
photo of a guadalupe slimebar
This gravel bar on the Guadalupe River north of Victoria may be covered in slime, but it represents a useful lithic resource. The gravel bars found in powerful rivers are dynamic resources. Gravel bars come and go along the Guadalupe, moved downstream and side to side by floods, sometimes covered by water, sometimes exposed. Photo by Michael R. Bever.