Page 3


pay due attention to those fields of knowledge that would further the economic progress of the State of Texas! I learned English as a second language, the hard waythat is, the good way. I’ve never heard such linguistic, logical, or semanti cal nonsense in my life. The invasion of university autonomy takes violent forms in Latin-America. The invasion is almost completely non-violent, or the reaction to it is non-violent, in the American University. The end result is the same: the pursuit of knowledge is hampered, is violated. I object to both forms of violation, for the University belongs to the world of scholarshipnot to the politicians, not to the rabble, not to the extremists, not to the economic vested interests. fl Where the West Began Austin In Central Texas the traditions of the American South and West are, to lift a phrase from an old Congressional Record, “inextricably intertwingled,” and it is no surprise that the national press wonders how much Lyndon Johnson is to be considered a Southerner and how much a Westerner. The journalistic musings on the regional affinities of the President bring to mind several essays in the Observer some years ago, essays growing, it was said, from discussions over beer at Scholz Garten in Austin. The question attacked was, Where does the South end in Texas? Where does the West begin? If a line is to be drawn, where do you draw it? In similar vein it has occurred to me that these social explorations lacked a significant dimension, the long view of prehistory gained from the work of the archeologists who are ferreting into Texas’ dim past. Where did the West begin in the days long ago? Some information is at hand. If we look at Central Texas first, matters are pretty prosaic from the journalistic point of view: no pyramids, no jewelstudded stone lions, no mysterious inscriptions. There are only the traces of simple hunting folk, moving on their yearly rounds from camping place to camping place in the Edwards Plateau country, hunting and fishing and gathering wild plant foods. Apparently life didn’t change much over the generations. Styles of flint projectile points did fluctuate, fortunately for the archeologist, to whom such changeable fashions are the indicators of Who and When. A major innovation appeared less than two thousand years ago when the bow and arrow came into use; before that they were using spears and javelins. But aside from taking up rare technological break-throughs, the Central Texans of yore were a conservative lot; what was good enough for great-granddad seems to have been good enough for great-great-grandson. When you look around more widely, the prehistory of Central Texas ties in most closely with that of the dry country farther west. A race is currently going on in the nearest area where there has been much research, along the Rio Grande around the mouth of the Pecos, where the Amistad Dam and Reservoir are now a-building. On the one hand the archeologists are trying E. Mott Davis is lecturer and research archeologist in the department of anthropology at the University of Texas. E. Mott Davis to work out the details of the prehistory before the evidence is flooded by the huge reservoir, while on the other hand the week-end “pot-hunters” are .trying to root out as many old relics as possible for their collections. Thanks to the work of the first of these zealot groups \(and no thanks to inhabitants of the Roy Bean country were like the people in Central Texas in many ways. The generally placid course of history along this part of the Rio Grande, the way of life, the adoption of the bow and arrow, the styles of the projectile pointsthe whole situation is reminiscent of what one finds on the Edwards Plateau. There are also hints of further resemblances, westward, into Chihuahua, into New Mexico, and beyond. Thus in a general way the cultural affinities of Central Texas in the olden times were primarily westward. VV HAT THEN of the prehistoric South? We turn to East Texas, an area that today falls in the western marches of the Deep South. Five hundred years ago and farther back than that, the East Texans were mound-building farmers living in villages. Traces of their sturdy thatched cottages are still there underneath the sod of the piney woods and the fields, to be found by anyone with the requisite skill and experience. Their well made and often beautifully designed pottery, placed carefully in the graves of the dead, is now gradually stocking the rumpus rooms and overflowing into the garages of the pothunting hobbyists, whose collecting zeal seems to intensify with the years. In contrast, archeologists have been able to do systematic work in East Texas only occasionally, but the research is far enough along to show that the Indian farmers of the piney woods could have felt no kinship between themselves and their benighted contemporaries of the Edwards Plateau many miles to the west. The prehistoric division echoes that of today. The piney woods farmers, like their modern successors in East Texas, were the westernmost representatives of a way of life typical of the whole southeastern part of North America. Similar peoples could be found in those days from the Neches to the Atlantic, from the Tennessee to the Gulf. In livelihood, in architecture, in their entire elaborate way of life the East Texans belonged to the Southeast and were foreign to the simple hunters of the Edwards Plateau. To make this story complete we will need to go farther back into prehistory, fifteen hundred years ago or more, to the time when agriculture and village life had not yet appeared in East Texas and the people were living by hunting and gathering, just as the Central Texans were. One might theorize that under such primitive conditions life would be pretty much the same everywhere and the distinction between South and West would be insignificant; but the evidence is otherwise. Even in that distant time, so the styles of artifacts show, the East Texans were Southerners to the core. Their customs, unlike those of Central Texas, were part of the wider traditions of what is now the southeastern United States. THE PREHISTORIC BORDER between South and West lay somewhere between the Neches and the Colorado, a countryside that is still largely unexplored by the archeologist. Here the forests of the Southeast gave way to the prairies, and the traditions of East and West met and, mingled, ideas and styles moving from one to the other. Artifacts made of Central Texas flint crop up occasionally in East Texas archeological sites, and pieces of East Texas pottery can be found now and then as far west as the neighborhoods of Waco and Belton. Relic hunters in the intermediate region have in their collections artifacts of styles pointing both east and west. For thousands of years, so it seems, the South ended and the West began in a zone that included the middle and lower drainages of the Trinity and the Brazos. Those who have argued over beer at Scholz Garten as to what is Southern and what is Western should pause, then, to pay tribute to the timelessness of their subject. They are discussing a feature of the Texas scene that goes back many thousands of years. May 14, 1965 13 1INOOMIN.110.11111000111111.1.111111100/= THE IDLER THE IDLER is a liberal monthly that’s j fun to read. Entertaining, informal, and informative. Send $1 for two sample backissues or $6 for a year’s subscription. THE IDLER 125 5th St. NE I Washington 2, D.C. IIMI. 11.1101011.1/