A handful of archaeologists gathered in Mills County on December 5, 2014 to take a tour of the construction on the gardens at Legacy Plaza and to inspect the bedrock mortars that can be found on several local ranches.
Among those in the group — hosted by members of the Legacy Plaza board, local Archaeology Steward Del Barnett, Legacy Plaza landscape designer/contractor Tab Ledbetter, Archaeologist Doug Boyd, Prewitt and Associates, Dan Potter, retired Texas Historical Commission Regional Archaeologist for the Central Texas Region, and Archaeologist and Professor at the University of Haifa in Israel, Dr. Dani Nadel.
Boyd organized the gathering and made arrangements for Nadel to come along while he is on a six-month sabbatical from the university, touring sites of ancient civilizations in the Southwestern United States.
The group started by touring the location of Legacy Plaza in downtown Goldthwaite, which will be home of the Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretive Center. Ledbetter led the group, pointing out some of the features there that are under construction.
From there, the group looked at 3 bedrock mortars that have been moved to Goldthwaite and proceeded to several local ranches, including the Hoover, Barnett and Hicks ranches, to see the bedrock mortars there, and to get feedback from Nadel, who studies similar features in Israel.
Nadel has an extensive archaeological career, earning his bachelor’s degree in archaeology and biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1984. It was there he also earned his master’s degree in prehistoric archaeology in 1988, and his Ph.D. in prehistoric archaeology in 1997.
Among his archaeological accomplishments are five field projects dating back to the 1980s, including excavations and salvage excavations, most at the Sea of Galilee. He and his findings have been published dozens of times in articles and journals, as well as his 1997 dissertation, “The Spatial Organization of Prehistoric Sites in the Jordan Valley: Kebaran, Natufian and Neolithic Case Studies.” He is also the author of two books, “Bones and Spirits, Prehistoric Burial Customs in Israel,” published in 1992, and “Ohalo II – a 23,000 Year-Old Fisher-Hunter-Gatherers’ Camp on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee,” published in 2002.
Nadel told The Goldthwaite Eagle he chose to take his sabbatical and tour the Southwest, not only because of “the lovely people,” but also because the archaeology in our region is “fascinating,” and there has been “major research done on bedrock features in a lot of the Southwest.”
During his six months in the Southwest, Nadel said he has seen a wide variety of types of bedrock features and the differences are a result of the resources available to the natives, as well as the differences in their traditions.
Some of the features he has seen in the state are identical to those in the Middle East, though those in his homeland are thousands of years older. He’s seen some features here he has not seen there and vice versa.
“It’s been very exciting to meet other archaeologists interested in the same things,” Nadel said of his visit, “and there are even people here who are not archaeologists who are interested and excited about these features.”
For years, the study of bedrock features in Israel has been neglected, he went on to say, which also makes studying the features elsewhere very interesting.
Nadel also said he was impressed by the Legacy Plaza project, especially that it will be located in the center of the city. He said this was a demonstration of the importance of history to the residents of Mills and surrounding counties.
Nadel said he has had “excellent cooperation” with the archaeologists and archaeology enthusiasts he has worked with since his coming to the Southwest.
We are expecting even more state, national and international archaeologist to come here to visit and study our rich archaeological heritage in this area in future years.
Republished with permission of the Goldthwaite Eagle.