Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

November 2, 2016

11,500 years of stratigraphy in a tractor.

Ancient peoples first occupied Bandera County, Texas from the end of the Pleistocene (Ice Age), until the early 18th century. Some of the flint points highlighted in Mike Leggett's recently published article in the Statesman, filed ironically under the category "Sports", appear to be from Archaic cultures.  Flint points like these varied in shape over time and analyzing these points against those from other archaeological sites could be useful in pinpointing the period when the article's dig site was in use by cultures of the past.

But that won't be possible when 11,500 years of stratigraphy are gouged out of the ground with a tractor or backhoe for sport.

Even more painful to read Leggett's statement:

"And there’s nothing wrong with organizing and orchestrating a dig such as this. There are no burial grounds to be disturbed here and no unknown artifacts that might offer some sudden insight into Native American life and culture."

"Nothing wrong" is a pretty broad term.

But is it illegal? 

On private property in Texas, no.  Under specific conditions, it is perfectly legal (unfortunately) to dig on private lands where middens and ancient historical objects can be found.

In Texas, the presence of an archaeologically significant site on private property does not restrict the property rights of the individual landowner.  In fact, these sites and their contents actually belong to landowner who can manage their property in the manner they choose within certain restrictions.  Some choose to use their sites as moneymaking ventures as some flint points are worth a few dollars, while rarer ones can be valued anywhere from between $7,000 and $12,000 each. 

On public property in Texas and under specific conditions, yes it is illegal. 

But having said all that, what we know of the nomadic prehistoric people who populated the region is quite limited so it's a pity when hobbyists with artifact obsessions see the territory only as their own personal treasure trove of pointy objects. 

In 2005 Thomas Hester presented a paper on there area where he said: 

Unfortunately for history, it looks as if the flintheads have the upper hand. Archeological sites will continue to be mined for profit in the Southwest as long as artifacts have sentimental and monetary value on the national and international ancient art markets. 

But what does it really mean when hobbyists take historical memories out of the ground like this, permanently sifting the land grain of sand by grain of sand until nothing is left.  

Collectors in some states can buy history, but preservationists know you can't buy culture.

Texas Pay Dig Site
Texas Pay Dig Site
Texas Pay Dig Site
Texas Pay Dig Site

By: Lynda Albertson

March 10, 2012

FBI - Dallas Office Reports "Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Roles in $3 Million Fraud Scheme Using Art as Collateral"

On March 7th the Dallas office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement: "Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Roles in $3 Million Fraud Scheme Using Art as Collateral":
[Eugenio D.] Leo, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and faces five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the loss to the victims.  [Jody L.] Meyer, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and faces a five-year term of probation and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the loss to the victims.  Both Leo and Meyer, who now reside in Harwood Heights, Illinois, will remain on bond pending sentencing, which is set for June 20, 2012 before Judge Kinkeade [Northern District of Texas].
In 2004, according to the FBI, the husband, a commodities broker, asked two clients to "invest their money by making short-term loans to museums in Europe." The FBI press release reports:
These loans would be secured by pieces of artwork worth significantly more than the loan value.
According to the FBI, the broker falsely reported to the client that the loan had been repaid with interest, used the original funds buy artwork, and resold it at a profit to himself.  The broker's wife falsely represented that her husband owned the artwork so that he "could obtain a loan (using the art as collateral) from the Art Capital Group for approximately $300,000", reported the FBI.

The Art Capital Group is the company that loaned money to photographer Annie Leibovitz against her work.  Felix Salmon of Reuters discussed the companies lending practices in 2009 here.