Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

William M. Bass

Committee Members

Lida K. Barrett, R.L. Jantz, John Gregg


A comprehensive biological analysis of the skeletal remains from the Kaufman-Williams site, 41RR16, Red River County, Texas, was conducted. The primary purpose of the investigation was to expand our knowledge about the biological variability found among the prehistoric Caddo. Cranial and postcranial measurements were taken, and indices were calculated. Several non-metrical characters were observed. The health status of the group was assessed based upon the pathological conditions noted in the bones. Cranial deformation was studied in detail, particularly its effect on craniofacial measurements.

A further analysis attempted to relate the skeletal material from the Kaufman-Williams site to Caddoan skeletal samples discussed in Maples (1962) and Westbury (1978) and to skeletal samples from the Saint Helena phase in Nebraska and from the Mobridge and Rygh sites (Arikara) in South Dakota. All of these groups were members of the Caddoan Linguistic Family. The Penrose Size and Shape Coefficient was used in the analysis since only literature data was available for the Caddo studies.

Seventy-five skeletons were used in the biological analysis. They were dug by Gregory Perino of the Museum of the Red River, Idabel, Oklahoma. The skeletal material was given to Dr. William M. Bass, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, who made them available to the author. There were 28 females, 26 males, and 21 subadults in the sample.

The two health conditions which probably caused the greatest problem for the inhabitants of the site were dental caries and abscesses and degenerative arthritis. Congenital defects, which probably caused no problems, occurred quite frequently.

Twenty-eight percent of the deaths occurred among subadults. The highest death rate for males occurred between 30. 0 and 34. 9 years of age. The females had two periods of high death rate--one between 30.0 and 34. 9 years of age and the other between 45. 0 and 49. 9.

The skulls from Kaufman-Williams were almost all intentionally cranially deformed. Parallelo-fronto-occipital deformation was the most common type. Two ratios (Frontal Deformation Ratio and Occipital Deformation Ratio) were devised to quantify the amount of deformation observed. The skulls were then grouped into deformation classes based upon these ratios. The three-cluster arrangement of the skulls based on the deformation ratios agreed well with the author's subjective classification. However, small cluster groups necessitated realignment of the skulls into two groups--moderate and extreme--for later comparisons.

Three tests, based upon either the two deformation ratios or upon the two deformation classes, were conducted to determine which craniofacial measurements were affected by deformation. These tests showed that, in general, breadth measurements were most affected by deformation. Those measurements which seemed to be most significantly affected by deformation were not used in the Penrose Size and Shape calculation.

The Penrose distance calculation placed the Cooper Lake material (Westbury 1978) generally more distant from the other populations; however, among the females Cooper Lake and Sanders (Maples 1962) were close. The Penrose coefficient placed the Kaufman-Williams, Arikara, and Saint Helena morphologically close.

The discrete trait analysis showed no significant sex, bilateral, or deformation class differences in the frequency of the traits. However, there were several traits which occurred in higher frequencies in both sexes in either the moderate or extreme deformation classes.

This study broadens our knowledge about the Caddo Indians and about their placement within the Caddoan Linguistic Family; however, many more such studies need to be completed. Furthermore, comparison of the Caddo with other nearby groups in the Texas-Oklahoma area should be conducted.

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