Burr Site Burial Cairn

2008

In 2008, local Late Archaic period (ca. 1000 B.C.A.D. 700) research was advanced primarily through the excavation of the Burr Site Burial Cairn located along the upper reaches of Terlingua Creek. Of unusual construction, this five-meter diameter cairn was originally thought to be affiliated with the Late Prehistoric Livermore people. However, two bone collagen dates indicate the burial to be around a thousand years earlier (from the middle portion of the Late Archaic). Although the central part of the burial and portions of the surrounding cairn had been looted in the 1980s, the excavation revealed that parts of the burial were still intact, including the forearm, wrist and hand of a 30—35 year old female. Entwined around her wrist was a bracelet of discoidal shell beads of a type not previously seen in the Big Bend. This burial represents the only one of this size and configuration known for the Late Archaic period and suggests that women could achieve status equivalent to that of high-ranking males. It is believed the burial may represent a Late Archaic precursor to practices prominent in the subsequent Late Prehistoric period.


Bones found at site
Remains of historic stone structure
Map of artifacts and bones found at site