Memorandum of Understanding
Arkansas Archeological Survey
Caddo Nation of Oklahoma,
the Osage Nation,
and Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
Procedures Following the Unearthing of Human Remains During Archeological Investigations in
the Central Arkansas River Valley
The Arkansas Archeological Survey, in collaboration with the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, the Osage Nation, and the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, recently received National Endowment for the Humanities funding for a three-year project titled American Indian Art, Ritual, and Social Interaction in the Central Arkansas River Valley. One element of this project involves investigation of archeological sites associated with the late pre-Columbian Carden Bottoms phase. This Memorandum of Understanding addresses procedures that will be followed in the event that human remains are uncovered during the course of these investigations. These procedures are consistent with Appendix B of the Arkansas State Plan: Guidelines for Archeological Fieldwork and Report Writing in Arkansas (hereafter,Guidelines).
Archaeogeophysical prospecting, utilizing a series of remote sensing technologies to identify buried cultural features, will be conducted at all sites before excavations begin. The technologies we will employ include magnetometry, resistivity, conductivity, magnetic susceptibility, and ground penetrating radar. These technologies often permit identification of areas containing human graves. No excavations will be conducted in any areas where the presence of buried human remains is suspected.
Anomalies detected by archaeogeophysical prospecting nonetheless may represent either natural or cultural disturbances; therefore, feature identification via limited test excavation is a necessary second step. In this project, selected anomalies suspected of representing cultural features other than burials will be tested via excavation of small units generally measuring 50 cm on a side. These excavations will terminate as soon as sufficient evidence is recovered to permit identification of the anomaly. Larger scale excavations of selected domestic features (such as houses and refuse pits) will then be undertaken based on the results of the initial testing.
In the event that suspected human remains are discovered in any of these excavations, the following steps will be taken, consistent with the Guidelines and with Arkansas Act 753 of 1991 (Grave Protection Act) and Act 1533 of 1999 (Grave Protection Act Amendment).