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Texas Archeological Society

James H. Word General Entry

The Texas Archeological Society owes its beginnings to an article in Scientific American on the discovery in 1923 near Colorado City, Texas, of an extinct bison (Bison antiquus) and three chert projectile points associated with the bones. Cyrus N. Ray of Abilene read this article and called a meeting in October 1928 to organize a society for the study of archeology. Nine people were present, among them William C. Holden of McMurry College and later of Texas Technological College, E. B. Sayles, Rupert N. Richardson, Otto O. Watts, and Julius Olsen of Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University). J. Frank Grimes, a newspaper publisher in Abilene, also attended the meeting. The organization named itself the West Texas Archeological Society. Abilene contributed nineteen members, and sixteen were from other parts of the state. It was decided to have regional vice presidents from different parts of the state, and society functions were divided into three parts: anthropological under Holden, historical under Richardson, and paleontological under Olsen. E. B. (Ted) Sales was a close associate of Ray in archeology and anthropology. Sales later became a professional archeologist with Gila Pueblo, a research institution in Arizona.

In January 1929, after interest had become statewide, the organization changed its name to Texas Archeological and Paleontological Society. In 1952 the name was changed to Texas Archeological Society, to reflect the fact that paleontology had not become a major concern. The first bulletin of the society, published in 1929 and edited by Ray, contained articles from professional and avocational archeologists. Annual bulletins containing articles on archeology have been published ever since. The Texas Archeological Society has become internationally recognized as a scientifically important organization. In 1963 a field school was held to train amateurs in proper archeological techniques. Since then the field school has been conducted annually in various parts of the state. It is supervised by professional archeologists and has made major contributions to the knowledge of archeology over the entire state. The Texas Archeological Society was joined by the Texas Historical Survey Committee (now the Texas Historical Commission) and the Texas Old Missions and Forts Restoration Association to present to Governor John B. Connally the need for a state archeologist. In 1965 the Fifty-ninth Legislature passed a bill establishing the position. In 1956 a quarterly newsletter began publication to inform members of the activities of the society. It contains brief articles pertaining to archeology.

E. Mott Davis, "The First Quarter Century of the Texas Archeological Society," Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 50 (1979). James H. Word, "Historical Perspective: A History of the Texas Archeological Society and the Establishment of a State Archeologist," Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 50 (1979).


  • Archeology
  • Organizations
  • Institutions

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James H. Word, “Texas Archeological Society,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 20, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.