This peculiar concentration of material inevitably leads to several questions: To address these questions, we must understand something about how the site has come to light, the geologic history of the Gulf coast and its salt domes, and the postglacial history of falling and rising sea level. Long, a biology professor at Lamar University, contacted local collectors, studied their collections, and published the first summary of the site in 1977, a short report issued by the Spindletop Museum.Some of the earliest collections from the beach were made by local residents Odis and Beverly Beckham, especially after Hurricane Carla in 1961. Two years earlier, Jeffrey Russell, a student of Long’s, completed an inventory and study of the fossil vertebrates in the beach collections as a Master’s thesis at Lamar University; it remains the major source of information on the fossils.
Even the Gault site in central Texas has produced less than half as many Clovis points, despite years of intensive excavation.As a result, Mc Faddin Beach shows up as a conspicuous hot spot on both state and national distribution maps of Paleoindian points.In 1983, avocational archeologist Paul Tanner of Port Arthur began keeping detailed locational records of artifacts found on the beach, and over time became the chief field researcher for the site.At about the same time, the Minerals Management Service in the US Department of the Interior became concerned about the possible impact of petroleum exploration and recovery on submerged archeological sites on the continental shelf, and commissioned some studies of the seafloor geology.In 1991, a conference on the site was organized in Port Arthur by Dee Ann Story, Paul Tanner, and Ellen Sue Turner, and 27 local collections were brought for examination, photography, and preliminary documentation.
These included both artifacts and vertebrate fossils.She examined sources of toolstone, degree of wear, resharpening, the spatial position of the artifact along the beach, ages of the artifacts based on typology, and functional classes of artifacts. In 2004, David Driver of Moore Archeological Consulting carried out a survey of a proposed wetlands area at Mc Faddin National Wildlife Refuge and excavated five backhoe trenches (1.0-1.7 m deep) on the inland side of the highway, finding no cultural material. This was an interfluvial area between the Trinity River valley to the southwest and the Sabine River valley to the northeast.Since the 1991 conference, Paul Tanner has continued monitoring the site and has recorded, among other things, several more Clovis points from the beach. During the Pleistocene, or last ice age, so much water was sequestered in major continental ice sheets (like the Laurentide ice sheet in North America) and in alpine ice sheets rimming the earth’s mountain ranges, that global sea level was drastically lowered.Radiocarbon and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dates on the Beaumont/Prairie Formation range from roughly 28,000 to about 135,000 calendar years B. Mc Faddin Beach alone has produced more Clovis points than any single county in the state of Texas — over a hundred of them.Its nearest competitor, Gaines County in west Texas, has less than a third as many known Clovis points.of the Interior), began a detailed study of five of the best-documented collections, the ones with recorded dates and locations for the finds. It seems clear that artifacts and fossils are arriving on the beach from a submerged, offshore source area, perhaps at no great distance or depth in the Gulf.