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KIOMATIA MOUNDS. The Kiomatia (pronounced Kiameechee) Mounds are a large group of Caddoan ceremonial mounds on a flat alluvial floodplain of the Red River in northwest Red River County. The site is about two miles long and perhaps a quarter mile wide. Artificially constructed mound centers like this one, which are not necessarily concentrations of burial mounds, are not common. Within 150 miles to the west of Texarkana only twelve known mound groups exist among hundreds of other archeological sites. These ceremonial centers were locations from which civil, military, and religious authorities directed activities involving unknown numbers of Caddoan people living in hamlets spread over a larger area and over a period of time approaching a thousand years. The mound centers offer significant archeological resources for understanding the development and changes in the culture of the Caddos. Unfortunately, most such sites have been damaged during the past 150 years. The Kiomatia Mounds are important for the whole area of Caddo occupation. The site is more or less centrally located with relation to other mound centers, such as the A. C. Mackin, Arnold Roitsch (formerly Kaufman), Roden, and Williams sites; the Kiomatia Mounds are the most physically prominent of this group.
The Kiomatia area is on the south side of the Red River opposite the mouth of the Kiamichi River in Oklahoma. The importance of this location is suggested by protohistoric and historic activities as well as by prehistoric occupation. The Caddos seem to have chosen the site because the Kiamichi riverbed served as a corridor into the Ouachita Mountains, which were of vital economic importance to Caddoan society; the mouth of the river was also the location of a boat landing and ferry crossing during historic times.
The mounds are twin groups of two mounds each. During the period of occupancy they were located on the primary floodplain of the river. The physical characteristics of the twin groups are remarkable, but it is not known whether the sites were occupied contemporaneously or during separate periods. The mounds, from which associated villages radiated outward, are separated by a distance of a mile; the mound groups are slightly more than a mile apart. Caddoan house sites also occur within a mile of the mounds. Because of the distance separating the two mound groups, they are more commonly known under two different names-the Wright Plantation and the Faskin Mound (formerly the Flying K Ranch). Each group consists of large mounds with smaller and lower mounds located some 600 feet to the north-northeast. The larger (A) mounds probably functioned as platforms upon which "temple" structures were located, and the smaller (B) mounds appear to have functioned as special mortuary features.
No scientific excavations or systematic surveys have been made at either site. However, the J. J. Pickle Research Campus in Austin does have minimal site data from both sites and a small collection (129 artifacts) from the Wright Plantation. In the 1930s George Wright, the grandson of the original owner, excavated a small portion of Mound B at the Wright Plantation. He also collected some shards from the Faskin Mound site. R. K. Harris is reported to have excavated some burials in the 1930s or 1940s, possibly from the area excavated by Wright. In the mid-1960s construction crews reportedly found numbers of artifacts during realignment of Farm Road 410, which cuts across the western part of Mound A at the Flying K ranchhouse. From the limited data available, both sites appear to represent both Gibson and Fulton aspects, which date perhaps from the end of the first millennium A.D. to the early eighteenth century. French trade goods have been found at the Wright site, but whether this is indicative of Indian trade or actual French occupancy is not known. It is possible that a post constructed by Bénard de la Harpe in the early 1700s was located in the vicinity. The Caddos reportedly abandoned the site in 1795 as a result of Osage raids.
The larger mounds at both sites had early farm or plantation homes built on them. The house on Mound A at the Flying K Ranch, owned in 1984 by Andy Faskin, was removed in the mid-1970s. A concrete cellar below the house extended about six feet into the mound. The double log cabin with a dog run still existing on top of Mound A at the Wright Plantation was constructed either by Claiborne Wrightqv in 1818 or by Travis G. Wright in 1831. The house and outbuildings have Civil War-period accretions.
Site files of both sites are located at the Texas Archeological Survey, part of the Texas Historical Commission, but because of the limited knowledge from both sites there are no major published references to them. Until well-designed excavations are conducted, the history, relationship to other Caddoan sites, and significance of the Kiomatia Mounds will remain largely unknown.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:A. W. Neville, The Red River Valley, Then and Now (Paris, Texas: North Texas, 1948). Texas Archeological Survey Site Files, Austin, Fisken Mound site, Wright Plantation site.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Larry Banks, "Kiomatia Mounds," accessed April 23, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bbk02.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.