Archeology in the Great Bend Area
The Red River is the central feature of the Caddo Homeland and its largest river. Its Great Bend was one of the core areas of Caddo settlement throughout Caddo history. Early Spanish and French explorers visited Cadohadacho villages near present day Texarkana. Throughout Caddo history and prehistory, the Red River Valley was the setting for many of the most impressive cultural developments, including many of the earliest, largest, and latest villages and ritual centers. In fact, the Red River Valley can be regarded as both the physical and cultural heartland of the ancient Caddo world.
The Great Bend area has seen a great deal of archeological investigation. Many excavations took place there in the early to mid-20th century by early archeologists who mainly dug into mounds in search of rich graves. The area became known for the deep and often richly furnished shaft tombs in which important Red River Caddo were buried. As a consequence, much looting has taken place here, although the same is true of most of the Caddo Homeland. Recent work has focused more on understanding other aspects of Caddo settlement including hamlets and farmsteads as well as mound centers.
In Woodland and Early Caddo times the Red River was a major transportation corridor linking the Caddo Homeland with the lower Mississippi Valley to the southeast and the prairie-plains to the west. Scientists now think that sometime after A.D. 1000, the Great Raft began forming, a logjam that created backwater lakes that flooded low-lying sites like the Crenshaw site. The raft would have also blocked or at least hampered canoe traffic up and down the Red River.