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Caddo Indian Collection

Buddy Calvin Jones was born in Longview, TX on October 31, 1938.  Calvin's father, Bud Jones was one-eighth Creek, his mother, Wavie Jones, was one-quarter Cherokee.

Fueled by a desire to learn more about his Native American heritage, Calvin found his first arrow head in 1945, at the age of  7.  He would spend his summer vacations from dawn to dusk on what he called "a dig", packing a lunch and toting his little red wagon behind him into the East Texas woods.  Returning home late in the evening, tired and dirty, he was always jubilant because his wagon was loaded with Native American artifacts.

In 1956, Calvin helped establish the East Texas Archaeological Society in Tyler, Texas and in 1957, wrote his first publication, "The Grace Sites, Gregg, Texas," which was published in The Bulletin of the Texas Archaeological Society.

Calvin studied anthropology at the University of Oklahoma where he received his B.A. in 1961.  He focused his studies on the Caddoan culture and its chronological placement in the development of Mississippian Native American life.  After serving in the U.S. Army and working with the National Park Service, Calvin began his post-graduate work in Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma where he received his M.A. in 1968.  His thesis, The Kinsloe Focus:  A Study of Seven Historic Caddoan Sites in Northeast Texas, continues to be an important reference work for this area (Jones 1968).

In 1965, Calvin married Patsy A. Olive, a gifted author and artist.  The couple moved to Florida where Calvin began his employment as an archaeologist for the state in 1968.  Through patience and technique he refined his discovery technique to an art form.  His efforts resulted in the location of about 1000 archaeological sites, over 40 of which were excavated, many under Calvin's direct supervision.

In May 1990, Florida Senate Resolution 3088 recognized Calvin for his archaeological achievements including the discovery and excavation of nine Spanish Mission in Leon and Jefferson Counties, the de Soto winter encampment in Tallahassee, and his continuing work and cooperation with property owners and amateur archaeologists.  Also in 1990, Calvin received the Special Achievement Award for Historic Preservation from the Florida Heritage Foundation and the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board.

Calvin consistently involved the public in his efforts, and it was this spirit of sharing that was responsible for Calvin's many significant contributions.   The Florida Archaeological Council presented Calvin with a Lifetime Achievement Award in May of 1998.  When Calvin died, after a yearlong battle with cancer, his remains were sent back to Texas where he was buried.

It was often thought by his colleagues that Calvin had mystical powers.  It seemed he could spot and find with uncanny accuracy lost civilizations and cultures.  In Calvin's own words: "The archaeologist must be like a shaman; he must have a communion with the people who lived thousands of years ago."

In 2003, The Gregg County Historical Museum acquired the Jones Collection of Caddo Indian Artifacts, which contains over 3,000 Caddo artifacts, 450 of which are bowls, jars, and vessels. The collection includes artifacts excavated from the 1950s and 1960s in northeast Texas and dates to the Middle Caddo period to 1700 A.D. Recently the Museum received a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant to fund a docent manual and teacher curriculum guide related to the Caddo collection. Additionally, a donation from the Patsy Hollandsworth Family Foundation to the Museum will provide proper climate control and shelving for the storage of the collection. Student volunteers from three higher learning institutions assist the current volunteers and Museum staff in the cataloguing and conservation of the Caddo Collection. The Museum intends to provide future workshops and programs of the collection and the rich heritage of the Caddo peoples and the impact their culture had in the Gregg County area.

 

BY SARAH THOMAS

Longview News-Journal

LONGVIEW -- One of the largest known collections of Caddo Indian artifacts is being analyzed by new 3-D imaging technology at the Gregg County Historical Museum, as archaeologists try to gain new insights into the lives of the ancient East Texas tribe.

Buddy Calvin Jones amassed a collection of more than 3,000 Caddo artifacts in the 1950s and 1960s. His entire collection, including 450 bowls, jars and vessels, was dug in East Texas and historians say it may be the largest anywhere.

"Certainly in the region," Bill Hansen, director of the Gregg County Historical Museum.

Jones' collection landed in the museum in 2003, where the artifacts filled hundreds of boxes, bags, plastic bins and glass cases.

And now, in a room at the top of the museum, those boxes, bags, bins and cases are taking a group of researchers on a tour through tribal history.

Zac Selden, a Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M University, is part of the group working to sort and catalog the artifacts that date back to 1700.

Selden spent a recent Wednesday creating 3-D renderings of bowls and jars using a high-tech imaging device.

"It's our first attempt at doing a three-dimensional analysis," he said. "The next step is to complete a geochemical and petrographic analysis to determine the interaction between and among Caddo groups as well as neighboring tribes."

Selden said he hopes the catalog will shed light on how the Caddo lived.

There were several Caddo groups during the same time, he said, and cataloging Jones' finds can help archaeologists examine designs and motifs to determine which group made each item.

"This will tell a hopefully significant story of who was here," Selden said.

The history is important to develop because of the tribe's role in area history, he said, and East Texans should recognize and understand the rich history around them.

"It's important that people in Gregg County realize that archaeology is not just something overseas in Egypt," he said. "It's here, right underfoot."

Jones, who died in 1998, didn't make the task easy.

"Buddy wasn't the greatest note-taker that ever lived, and he had his own note-taking system," said Tim Perttula, an Austin-based tribal archaeological consultant who is assisting in the sorting process. "So a lot of what Patti's been doing is playing detective to figure out what goes with what."

Patti Haskins, the museum's volunteer archaeological steward, said breaking Jones' code has been a daily chore since 2005. The task got easier in 2010 when she received more detailed notes.

"From those notes, I was able to put everything together," Haskins said.

All of Haskins' work with the collection has been on a volunteer basis, and she said it has been a joy to be part of bringing the artifacts to life.

"These artifacts are extremely valuable, but the value is not monetary -- it's cultural," she said.

Perttula agreed.

"We're bringing to life the history of the Caddo and all the people and places that until now we've only known they existed," he said. "But until someone studies it and puts it on record, it is out there as kind of lost history."

And although studying history everywhere is important, the Caddo Indians have a special connection to Texas, Perttula said.

"The Caddo had a huge role in the early history of the state," he said. "They were recognized as diplomats that moderated between Texas and other Indian groups."

The reassembled bowls, vessels and jars will be on display in about three months at the Gregg County Historical Museum, Hansen said.

Gallery - Caddo

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Gregg County Historical Museum
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Longview, Texas 75606
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