50 Years of Science & Service
The Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) is a part of the University of Arkansas System. Our mission is to study and protect archeological sites in Arkansas, to preserve and manage information and collections from those sites, and to communicate what we learn to the people of Arkansas. We have ten research stations around the state, located on seven university campuses, two state parks, and at the UA System’s Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. Survey archeologists help to increase our knowledge of Arkansas by working closely with local, state, and federal agencies, American Indian tribes, college students, school teachers and K-12 students, tourists, fellow scholars, land owners and managers, amateur archeologists, and all Arkansas residents interested in archeology, prehistory, and the early history of the state.
These are some highlights of our accomplishments in 2016–2017. In 2017 we celebrated our 50th anniversary. To mark this half-century milestone, we chose mainly educational celebrations, which are described below. We have accomplished much, but there is much more to do.
Scientific Achievements & Archeological Mission 2016–2017
Survey staff authored or coauthored 36 publications and reports, and presented 42 papers or posters at meetings and conferences in 2016–2017.
The Survey’s AMASDA database (Automated Management of Archeological Site Data in Arkansas) is one of the oldest and best computerized site file systems in the country. Our computer services program and registrar’s office personnel are constantly working to expand and upgrade the AMASDA system to add new functionality. With the help of a major grant from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, the system is now available online (password protected) for qualified researchers.
495 new archeological sites were recorded, bringing the total number of sites in Arkansas site files to 48,779.
224 new archeological projects were entered into the database, bringing the projects total to 7071.
The Survey registrar facilitated 1225 requests for information from the Arkansas site files by students, researchers, and project managers. We assisted Local, State, and Federal entities, six American Indian Tribes, and 44 private firms conducting projects in Arkansas.
We conducted projects supported with new funds generated by grants and cost-share agreements totaling $119,697.
Volunteer participation in our projects, totaling 11,970 hours, continued to show a high level of interest in archeology.
Digital Data Collection Initiative. A DDCI working group within ARAS led by Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) is developing an “action plan” to transition us from paper records filled out by hand to use of a digital platform for creating all of the records collected during fieldwork and uploading those records from the field to our servers. This involves making digital versions of the many forms we use (excavation unit level records, feature forms, profile forms, Field Serial Number log sheets, photo record sheets, special sample forms, etc.), selecting associated hardware platforms (weatherized tablets for use in the field), and developing software for uploading the data. Other members of the group are Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS), Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), John Samuelsen (ARAS-CSP), and Teka McGlothlin (ARAS-Registrar).
Our Publications Program is active with a new Research Series volume published in 2016, another in the fall of 2017, and two more volumes accepted (one in production and one undergoing author revision).
In conjunction with our 50th year, we embarked on a major initiative to create a systematic archive of all our accumulated project documentation, including digitization of paper records for long-term preservation. We also started to inventory and organize our collections at the coordinating office and all ten research stations to ensure that records are complete and storage is according to modern curatorial standards.
Archeological Projects Around Arkansas 2016-2017
Studying and Teaching About Early Agriculture
The Survey is developing a new organizational focus on the study of early agriculture in Arkansas and the Southeast, and public education about this topic.
Our new Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: Plant-based Foodways in the Southeastern United States 5th grade social sciences curriculum was made available this year. This lesson and instruction package is aligned with the 5th grade Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Social Studies Curriculum Framework. It promotes the use of archeology in social studies education in Arkansas’s public schools. Each year, hundreds of 5th grade educators teach their students about pre-Columbian societies and early European exploration in North America, a period known largely through archeology. Archeology is a scholarly discipline that integrates elements of social studies, humanities, and science to reconstruct and study past human communities. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, many upper elementary and secondary educators find archeology an engaging way to teach social studies, history, and science. This curriculum offers lessons and activities to help teachers and students explore pre-Columbian societies and early European exploration, while highlighting specific sites and events in Arkansas.
Plants are vital to our everyday lives as the foundation for diverse habitats. Archeologically, plants provide a lens into past social and cultural changes. People have a long and complicated history of plant use. Plants are and have been vital to people for food, for medicine, as a raw material resource for building homes or boats, and for making tools. As critical parts of our foodways, plants not only fulfill nutrient needs, they teach us about culture, history, and economics. Biologically, people need food to survive, but what we eat is part of our history and culture.
The ancient use of plants is an important part of Arkansas history. Arkansas, along with the surrounding mid-South region, is one of only ten world centers of independent crop domestication. Preserved plant remains excavated from dry bluff shelters in the Arkansas Ozarks (and now curated at the University of Arkansas) represent most of the evidence supporting this identification. The new curriculum is designed in part to celebrate this important aspect of our past.
Our curriculum package is available for free as downloadable PDF lessons and classroom materials and PowerPoint presentations, along with background material for teachers, on a dedicated website that is easily accessible at our main website. We also have printed copies of a workbook available on request at no charge. Teacher workshops can be arranged and presented periodically to help implement this curriculum. See archeology.uark.edu/gga
Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture was awarded Preserve Arkansas’s 2017 Excellence in Heritage Preservation Award.
We now have research and teaching gardens at three locations, Toltec Mounds, Parkin, and WRI:
The Plum Bayou Garden at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park is the first such project to celebrate and teach about the indigenous plants that were domesticated locally and cultivated by Native people in the eastern United States. It is in its second full year and is a permanent feature at the Park.
The Mississippian Garden at Parkin focuses on the “three sisters” crops (corn, beans, squash) imported from Central America that formed dietary staples of the later Mississippian cultures that dominated pre-Columbian economies at the time of European arrival, and that contributed much to the Columbian Exchange.
The gardens at WRI include both Mississippian and Woodland Native American Teaching Gardens, and offer visitors a chance to engage in gardening activities, including experimenting with a replicated set of implements.
50 Years of the Arkansas Archeological Survey
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Arkansas Archeological Survey. To celebrate a half century of fulfilling our mission to serve the state of Arkansas and its people by working to study, preserve, and teach about our history and archeological heritage, we decided to develop a series of short articles on our website. The “50 Moments” series presents many of our significant accomplishments, things we have learned, and major milestones of the Survey’s development from a small but determined organization to a slightly larger and equally determined one. We’ve faced challenges along the way, but this series illustrates how we’ve persisted. The 50 Moments in Survey History stories can be read here.
Other anniversary projects were “Arkansas Archeological Survey 50 Year Anniversary: What Have We Learned in 50 Years?” a panel discussion at the 2017 annual meeting of the Arkansas Archeological Society (moderated by John House, ARAS-UAPB), and “Archaeology Matters: Celebrating 50 Years of Public Archaeology,” a symposium at the 2017 annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (organized by Jodi Barnes, ARAS-UAM).
Conflict Archeology and Civil War Battlefield Sites
The Survey has partnered with National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, to conduct archeological inventory at Pea Ridge National Military Park. This is a projected four year project. In 2016 geophysical survey, Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial analysis, and artifact collection took place at Ruddick’s Field Civil War Battlefield within the park. In 2017, geophysical survey, GIS, and excavations at Leetown, a Civil War era civilian hamlet, were carried out in conjunction with a University of Arkansas Archeological Field School. Preceding the field school, Survey personnel participated in the NPS-sponsored workshop "Current Archeological Prospection Advances for Non-Destructive Investigations in the 21st Century". Staff from ARAS-UAF, ARAS-SAU, ARAS-SRP, and ARAS-CSP have been involved in the NPS-supported Pea Ridge project, with Jami Lockhart directing the geophysical aspect.
With an emphasis on Civil War era sites, and some home-front sites of the World War 1 & 2 years, Conflict Archeology is another emerging research focus within ARAS. Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) has a long-term research interest in this topic and experience in battlefield archeology, and has been exploring a number of Civil War related sites in southwest Arkansas (Elkins’ Ferry, Dooley’s Ferry, Wallace’s Ferry). Projects in northwest Arkansas (aside from Pea Ridge) have included investigations at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, Van Winkle Mill and homestead sites in Hobbs State Park, Cross Hollows, Mt. Comfort Church, and other sites, involving the efforts of ARAS-UAF station staff Jamie Brandon and Jerry Hilliard, as well as geophysical director Jami Lockhart, and others. In southeast Arkansas, Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) has worked at Camp Monticello, which served as an Italian prisoner-of-war camp during WWII. Also this year, Drexler became involved in efforts to establish safe procedures for dealing with unexploded ordnance unearthed at archeological contexts or during development. Often these objects can be handled in a way to gain information from them, rather than treated as imminent hazards to be destroyed.
We published two books in our Research Series during 2016 and 2017. Research, Preservation, Communication: Honoring Thomas J. Green on His Retirement from the Arkansas Archeological Survey (RS67), edited by Mary Beth Trubitt, was published at the very beginning of the 2016–2017 fiscal year. This volume is based on papers presented at a 2014 symposium organized by Trubitt at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology and is organized on the theme of the Survey’s tripartite mission to study archeology, preserve site data and collections, and educate and inform the public. It contains 13 essays by 20 contributors, including 6 currently associated with the Survey. The Battle Mound Landscape: Exploring Space, Place, and History of a Red River Caddo Community in Southwest Arkansas (RS68), by Duncan P. McKinnon, was published in early fall of 2017. A revised version of McKinnon’s doctoral dissertation, this volume brings together archeogeophysical and archeohistorical data from the Battle Mound site to examine Caddo community structure and landscape use.
Helping Host Campuses Develop Historic Properties
ARAS works in cooperation with several of our host campuses to aid research at historic properties owned by the universities as these properties are developed for teaching and other purposes. UAFS owns the Drennen-Scott Historic Site in Van Buren, Arkansas and recently purchased the Willhaf House, also in Van Buren. Tim Mulvihill leads ongoing archeological investigations at both properties to assist reconstructions at the properties. Drennen-Scott is used as a teaching lab for the Historic Interpretation degree program. Willhaf House will become a combination museum and the mid-20th century addition to the house will be renovated as the new UAFS research station headquarters. UAM owns the Taylor House/Hollywood Plantation and Camp Monticello. Jodi Barnes has led excavations at the Taylor property to aid in reconstructions of the antebellum plantation home. Her investigations at Camp Monticello resulted in publications and a documentary film.
The Search for Hernando De Soto’s Cross
Last year with funds from the Elfrieda Frank Foundation, excavations on top of the mound at the Parkin site were carried out to re-locate and remove the remnants of a wooden stump thought to represent the base of a large Christian cross erected by Hernando de Soto’s men in 1541. It was hoped that dendrochronology (tree ring dating) could determine the exact year the wooden post was cut and placed in the ground, thus reinforcing the other evidence that Parkin is the town of Casqui written about in accounts left by participants of the Soto expedition. That proved impossible, as the stump was too decomposed; however, the wood was identified, and samples were radiocarbon dated to a range consistent with the expedition, AD 1445–1650. The remainder of the wood is being stored in case future technological improvements can provide a more accurate date.
Ozark Bluff Shelters
The Survey has been focusing new research attention on Ozark bluff shelters—those mostly dry rock shelter sites for which the area became archeologically famous in the early decades of the twentieth century. This new research is being undertaken mostly by the ARAS-UAF research station, with contributions by our paleoethnobotany specialist at ARAS-TMRS and other staff members. Grant funding has supported a number of projects allowing a reevaluation of collections from old excavations often left languishing for many years without any detailed inventory or study. Here are some of the developments:
Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks is a new public-oriented website written by Lydia Rees, with assistance from Jamie Brandon and Elizabeth Horton. It offers the basics about these sites on a broad range of topics and includes a “News” section to keep people up to date on new research and events, including tours and lectures for the public.
Saltpeter Cave was excavated by the Survey in 1969 and 1970, after previous visits in the 1930s by the University of Arkansas Museum. It is a deep, stratified bluff shelter that is important for the fact it was excavated scientifically. However, the records and collections of the Survey’s work 47 years ago had never been studied or written up. With support of a grant from ANCRC, Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF) worked with Jared Pebworth and Lydia Rees (ARAS-SRP) to rehabilitate, reorganize, and inventory the records and collections, including scanning for a digital archive. Then they photographed and analyzed a portion of the artifacts. Associated charcoal samples with the best diagnostic contexts were selected for radiocarbon dating. Saltpeter allows a glimpse back at the way of life in Arkansas 8000 years ago.
Archeology on the Mulberry River
The Mulberry River Project is a cooperative undertaking with the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests to investigate sites in Forest Service-owned tracts along the Mulberry River in Franklin County, northwest Arkansas. Limited existing information about the sites was augmented in 2016–2017 with geophysical survey, backhoe trenches to understand the geomorphology, and test excavations on a few of the geophysical anomalies. Then our joint summer Training Program with Arkansas Archeological Society was carried out at two sites, 3FR46 and 3FR58. They date to the Woodland and Mississippi periods, for which relatively few open air sites have been excavated in this part of the state. Results of the project added a new site type to the cultural landscape: one that concentrated on agricultural storage (there was a large grass-lined pit probably used for storing harvested produce) and manufacture of gardening hoes made from argillite (silicified siltstone). This collaborative project with USFS is producing new information on ancient plant use and habitat management that will lead to more accurate native habitat restoration projects in the National Forests.
Studying Caddo Lifeways in the Ouachitas
Ouachita Caddo lifeways are the subject of long-range research projects by ARAS-HSU researcher Mary Beth Trubitt and her assistants. Studies have included investigations of novaculite quarry sites, resulting in the “Arkansas Novaculite” website and other products, including a book coauthored with Anne S. Dowd, Extracting Stone: The Archaeology of Quarry Landscapes, that will be published by Oxbow Books as part of their American Landscapes series. Excavations at various habitation sites have produced a body of data on plant and animal resource use in the Saline and Ouachita river valleys. These studies stretch back to the Archaic period and through more recent Woodland and Mississippian cultural periods. This research uses architecture, foodways, and material culture to interpret social identity and community interconnections in the Ouachita Mountains.
Native American Domestic and Ceremonial Architecture
An article in The Arkansas Archeologist by John House (ARAS-UAPB) presents comparative archeological data from 110 excavated Native American structures in eastern Arkansas. It is the most comprehensive study of architecture for the Mississippi (AD 900–1550) and Protohistoric (AD 1550–1700) periods in this area. The data, mostly derived from published sources, are from 33 sites and include both ceremonial and domestic structures. House compares size, orientation, shape, and construction technology, forming conclusions that associate circular buildings with ceremonial functions (although circular domestic houses were seen in southeastern Arkansas in a manifestation known as Plaquemine culture). This article represents an important distillation of existing information about Mississippi and Protohistoric period architecture in Arkansas and will be a standard reference for years to come.
Fluted Points in Arkansas: The Earliest People To Live in Our State
The Arkansas Fluted Point Survey is a project by Julie Morrow (ARAS-ASU) and her assistants to collect information about fluted points in Arkansas, and thus improve our knowledge of Paleoindian presence in the state. The site files indicate 136 known sites where one or more fluted point types have been found. Most fluted points in North America have only a vague provenience (county-level) because they were found by non-professionals and kept in private collections without records. This gives some information to help track Paleoindian movements on the landscape 13,000 years ago, but Morrow and her team hope eventually to find intact Paleoindian sites that will tell much more about life at the end of the Ice Age. The Fluted Point Survey involves visits to record detailed measurements of Paleoindian artifacts and as much provenience data as possible. Morrow has accumulated similar data for fluted points across the eastern United States for a comparative context.
Contributions to Higher Education in Arkansas
George Sabo III, Survey Director since 2013 and Professor of Anthropology, serves as Co-Director of the Environmental Dynamics Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program, which is part of The Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas.
Ten Survey archeologists held research faculty titles in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas in 2016–17: Jodi Barnes, Emily Beahm, Jamie Brandon, Carl Drexler, Ann Early, Elizabeth Horton, John House, Jami Lockhart, Jeffrey Mitchem, Juliet Morrow, and Mary Beth Trubitt.
Survey archeologists taught 19 courses to 276 students at 7 university campuses in Arkansas (UAF, UAPB, UAM, UAFS, ASU, HSU, and SAU).
Courses taught by Survey archeologists fulfilled basic education requirements and contributed to several undergraduate majors and graduate degree programs at Arkansas universities, including Anthropology, History, Geosciences, and Environmental Dynamics at UAF; Heritage Studies at ASU; Historic Interpretation Program at UAFS; and African Studies at UAPB.
Survey archeologists contributed numerous guest lectures, demonstrations of geophysical technologies, field and lab instruction including mapping, ethnobotanical, and other specialized processing, and tours of facilities to college and university students in Arkansas.
Elizabeth Horton (station archeologist at Toltec Mounds) participated with Dr. Krista Lewis (UALR) in the Land of Frankincense Archaeological Project at Al Baleed, a UNESCO Heritage site in Oman.
Survey archeologists served on 20 thesis or dissertation committee positions (member or chair) for UAF graduate students in Anthropology and Environmental Dynamics, 1 committee for an HSU student’s MLA committee, and 2 graduate committees for out-of-state institutions (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Texas Tech University).
In addition Survey archeologists serve on 4 undergraduate Honors committees at UAF, 1 at ASU, and as mentor for a UAM undergraduate working on an individualised undergraduate minor in Anthropology.
Survey archeologists at all research stations and the coordinating office provided opportunities for hands-on research experience in archeological fieldwork and laboratory analysis for undergraduate and graduate students at host campuses.
The Survey provided employment to students at UAF, UAFS, and UAM.
Additional service to Arkansas college and university campuses included
- participation in course and program development for host departments
- membership on campus and departmental committees, curatorial functions and exhibit development for campus museums and libraries
- assistance with historic properties and collections owned or managed by the universities – e.g., the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection (HSU); Lakeport Plantation (ASU); Drennen-Scott Historic Site (UAFS); Willhaf House (UAFS); Camp Monticello (UAM); the Taylor House/Hollywood Plantation (UAM); development of SAU Museum; ongoing UA Museum Collections research and on-campus exhibit development (UAF); and more
- ARAS Director George Sabo served as Curator for a new permanent exhibit “Arkansas Native Americans” installed at the Arkansas Union on the UAF campus using artifacts from the University Museum Collections
Graduate Student Research
The Arkansas Archeological Survey supports graduate students working on internship, thesis, and dissertation projects both at the Coordinating Office and at our research stations. Support is provided through employment when available and for assistantships paid out of our base funding and through grants or other special project funds. We also work closely with the Anthropology Department and the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas to host students who receive support through the Hester A. Davis Internship in Public Archeology and the Charles R. McGimsey III Endowment for Cultural Resource Management. Our graduate students work on a wide variety of research, preservation, and educational initiatives and thus make valuable contributions to our mission within the University of Arkansas system.
Jessica Cogburn has been a graduate student at the University of Arkansas since August 2014. Prior to that, she was the station assistant for the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s research station at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus. As the Survey’s graduate assistant in Fayetteville, she has been working on a database for the State Historic Preservation Office regarding archeological site eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. Her dissertation research focus is on late prehistoric and protohistoric sites in the Central Arkansas River Valley. She will be analyzing collections from a number of sites in this region, primarily focusing on the Isgrig site (3PU15), which is located south of Little Rock.
Michelle Rathgaber is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Dynamics program. Her research focuses on the New Madrid earthquakes in NE Arkansas/SE Missouri and how they may have affected life there in the Middle-Late Mississippian cultural period (around ad1200s–1500s). She will be using archeological excavations at two sites (Manley-Usrey and Eaker) as well as larger scale views of the landscape and environment of the area to try to see the effects of the large-scale New Madrid earthquakes on how and where people were living. She is being funded by a Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship as well as a graduate assistantship through the Arkansas Archeological Survey.
John Samuelsen is a Ph.D. student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas. He is employed full-time at the Survey coordinating office as server administrator in our computer services program. John’s dissertation research involves strontium and lead isotope analysis of samples from a unique skull and mandible cemetery at the Crenshaw site in the Caddo Archeological area of southwest Arkansas to help determine whether the people buried were of local origin, and thus if this was part of a local burial ceremonial practice. He has successfully tested an extractive process on the University of Arkansas campus to lower costs. With permission of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, he is preparing a National Science Foundation grant proposal for further analysis of the remains. This project will aid the Caddo Nation in determining the cultural affiliation of the human remains at the site.
Contributions to Public Schools and K-12 Education 2016–2017
New 5th Grade Curriculum Is Free for Educators
Gathering, Gardening & Agriculture – new 5th Grade Social Sciences Curriculum. With funding from multiple sources (the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, the Arkansas Archeological Society, the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities), several ARAS staff developed a 5th grade social sciences curriculum that is now available free on the ARAS website. Lesson plans, exercises, and PowerPoints may be downloaded directly from the Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture webpages, which also include background information and updates on Teacher Workshops we will offer to help educators implement the curriculum. A hardcopy workbook is also available to Arkansas educators on request. The package conforms with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Social Studies Curriculum Framework. Team partners in the project are Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), and Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS). The curriculum presents the history of early Arkansas through the diverse uses of plants, foodways, and plant-based traditions of Native Americans, European settlers, and African Americans, presenting archeological evidence from Arkansas to illustrate and to show how scientific techniques can explore these topics.
ARAS-WRI station staff, cooperating with WRI Program Coordinators, again presented Project Dig, a program for Gifted and Talented students that uses archeological concepts and active learning to teach critical thinking and the scientific method. About 50 students from Dardanelle, Perryville, Hector, Pottsville, and Dover participated, along with their teachers and some parents.
The Survey continues to develop educational Internet resources, now including interactive websites — Rock Art in Arkansas and Indians of Arkansas — our new Ozark Bluff Shelters website written by Lydia Rees and Jamie Brandon, Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection, a website written by Mary Beth Trubitt for researchers and more advanced students, plus our redesigned main website with information about the Survey’s research and outreach programs.
Free Classroom Handouts
We offer a series of educational fliers on many topics available as downloadable PDFs that can be used for teacher preparation or as classroom handouts.
School Visits and Events
Survey archeologists gave talks and demonstrations on archeology, American Indians, and early Arkansas history, including Career Day presentations, Project Dig, and tours at our main office, to approximately 800 K–12 students and their teachers at schools, parks, and nature centers across the state.
ARAS staff participated in 4H “Day of Archeology” camps at Historic Washington, Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center, Helena/West Helena, Cass, Arkansas (Mulberry River Archeology Project), and State 4H O’Rama Workshop at the Survey coordinating office. A total of 119 youth and 38 adults learned about archeology in Arkansas at these events.
Public Service and Outreach 2016–2017
Working with Agencies
The Survey works closely with state and federal agencies whose responsibilities under environmental and cultural preservation statutes include the management and protection of archeological sites:
Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism/Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
National Park Service
USDA Forest Service
U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF) taught a Heritage Resource Technician training workshop for Ozark National Forest.
Survey staff from UAF and SAU research stations and the CSP and SRP at the coordinating office in Fayetteville participated with staff of the Midwestern Archeological Center to conduct a National Park Service-sponsored training workshop “Current Archeological Prospection Advances for Non-Destructive Investigations in the 21st Century,” at Pea Ridge National Military Park.
Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act
We continued our NAGPRA compliance program in cooperation with several American Indian Tribes. The federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) requires institutions such as museums and universities to inventory their archeological and ethnographic collections of human remains, funerary objects, sacred artifacts, and items of cultural patrimony. These remains and objects must be repatriated to modern representatives of the appropriate culturally affiliated American Indian Tribe. The Survey’s activities are essential for compliance with this federal law. We also curate, under contract, collections owned by various government entities that are subject to NAGPRA.
Ann Early prepared a successful grant extension proposal that allowed the Survey to spend the final $12,000 remaining from the previous grant cycle to document and prepare notices of inventory completion for a new group of human remains and funerary objects. Upon completion, the Survey will be in full compliance with NAGPRA requirements early in FY 2017–18. Early supervised graduate student Sarah Shepard, who completed the work in the ARAS Registrar’s office.
Public Lectures & Outreach
83 public lectures, workshops, and other presentations by Survey staff reached audiences of 2000 Arkansans. Staff participation in 10 archeology fairs and community events or festivals, reached audiences of over 1000.
Arkansas Archeological Society Training Program
110 members of the Arkansas Archeological Society attended our jointly sponsored annual Training Program for amateur archeologists. The 2017 “Society Dig” on two sites along the Mulberry River in the Ozark National Forest near Cass, Arkansas was a cooperative research project with the Forest Service, the Society, and the Survey. Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS) and Mary Brennan (Ozark National Forest) directed fieldwork, while Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) organized archeogeophysical survey prior to the excavations. Cass Job Corps personnel provided assistance and facilities. The field school excavations uncovered evidence of a new type of site related to prehistoric agriculture in northwest Arkansas (see pp. 116 in the Annual Report PDF).
Historic Cemetery Preservation
Survey archeologists provided consultation and advice to groups and individuals working on projects to document and protect historic cemeteries, especially African-American cemeteries.
Exhibits Around the State
Survey staff created or assisted with a number of exhibits around the state:
Elizabeth Horton and Katy Gregory (ARAS-TMRS) with assistance from Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), worked with Capitol Historian David Ware to create and install an exhibit at the State Capitol called “Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: 4000 Years of Foodways in Arkansas.” Featuring the Survey’s developing research focus on early agriculture, our suite of experimental gardens, the new 5th grade social studies curriculum, paleoethnobotany and other specialities, the exhibit ran February through May 2017.
Mary Beth Trubitt and Chelsea Cinotto (ARAS-HSU) manage a rotating exhibit at Huie Library on the HSU campus. Three installations during the year were “Changing Technology in Archeology,” “Casas Grandes,” using Southwestern ceramics from the Sargent donation, and “1800s Artifacts,” with an array of historic finds from excavations at 3MN22.
Chelsea Cinotto (ARAS-HSU) installed an exhibit in the Garland County Library for Archeology Month using ceramic vessels from the Sargent collection.
A poster by Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) about archeology at Hollywood Plantation was part of the Chancellor’s Exhibit at the UAM campus.
George Sabo (ARAS Director) was curator for a temporary exhibit on “Native American Storytelling” at Mullins Library on the UAF campus.
George Sabo was curator for a new permanent exhibit on “Arkansas Native Americans” installed at the Arkansas Union on the UAF campus.
Assistance for other exhibit development was provided to the Commissioner for State Lands, Hampson Museum State Park, and Clinton Presidential Center (Ann Early); Delta Gateway Museum and ASU Museum (Julie Morrow); Parkin (Jeffrey Mitchem) and Toltec Mounds (Elizabeth Horton) State Parks; Nevada County Depot and Museum (Carl Drexler); Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Historical Museum (John House); Drew County Historical Museum (Jodi Barnes); and Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (John Samuelsen).
Service on Boards and Commissions
Ann Early (State Archeologist): Department of Arkansas Heritage State Review Board for Historic Preservation, an appointment by the Governor of Arkansas, interim secretary; board member of the Arkansas Genealogical Society, and the Arkansas Women’s History Institute; member of the National Association of State Archaeologists.
Jamie Brandon (UAF): Chair, State Review Board for Historical Preservation; board member, Arkansas Humanities Council; President (July–December 2016) and Secretary (January–June 2017), Preserve Arkansas; Vice-Chair, City of Fayetteville Woolsey Farmstead Steering Committee.
Jodi Barnes (UAM): President-Elect (July–December 2016) and President (beginning December 2016), Preserve Arkansas; board member, Arkansas Preservation Foundation; Drew County Historical Society and Museum Commission; Arkansas Delta Endowment for Building Communities (grant selection committee).
Carl Drexler (SAU): Board of Trustees, Arkansas Historical Association; board member, Friends of the Arkansas State Archives.
Jami Lockhart (CSP): Northwest Arkansas Open Space Plan Steering Committee.
Jeffrey Mitchem (Parkin): Advisory Board, Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, St. Petersburg, Florida; Director-at-Large, Florida Public Archaeology Network.
Deborah Sabo and Marilyn Knapp (CO): Executive Committee members of the Arkansas Archeological Society.
Professional Service 2016–2017
Survey staff provided consultation, advice, or other assistance to over 130 agencies, firms, museums, schools, parks, civic groups, and other bodies, in addition to service rendered to research station host institutions.
Mary Beth Trubitt was named as Editor of the journal Southeastern Archaeology.
Survey staff served as officers, members of various committees, or in other service capacities for professional organizations: Society for American Archaeology – Society for Historical Archaeology – Southeastern Archaeological Conference – Caddo Conference Organization – Florida Anthropological Society – Arkansas Historical Association
Grants & Cost-Share Agreements 2016–2017
$19,468.81 from the Elfrieda Frank Foundation to Jeffrey M. Mitchem for “The Search for Hernando de Soto’s Cross at Casqui.”
$1170 in 2015 from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund to Jeffrey M. Mitchem, Timothy S. Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS), and Jami J. Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) for “Radiocarbon Dates for the Richards Bridge Site (3CT11/22).”
$595 in 2016 from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund to Jeffrey M. Mitchem, Timothy S. Mulvihill, and Jami J. Lockhart for “Radiocarbon Dates for the Richards Bridge Site (3CT11/22).”
$595 from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund, awarded to Jamie Brandon, Lydia Rees, and Jared Pebworth, for an AMS radiocarbon date from 3NW29.
$595 from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund to Robert Scott for “Dating Late Mississippian Tillar Phase Ceramics and Subsistence Remains in Southeast Arkansas,” AMS date for 3DR359.
$19,688 grant awarded to Jodi Barnes from ANCRC for “Continued Research at Hollywood Plantation: Monitoring, Analysis, and Public Education.”
$710 awarded by the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund to Mary Beth Trubitt and Katie Leslie for “Dating Architecture from the 2014 Society Training Program Excavations” (for botanical identification and AMS dating of a sample from 3MN298 Structure 2).
$30,324 from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for Archeological Survey of the Battlefield at Prairie D’Ane (Carl Drexler, principal investigator).
$46,992 from the National Park Service for “Archeological Inventory at Leetown, Pea Ridge National Military Park.”
$37,480 from ANCRC for “Preserving the Prehistoric Heritage of South Arkansas.”
$7520 from ANCRC for “Preserving and Interpreting Saltpeter Cave.”
$24,427 from ANCRC (through UAM) for “Investigations at Taylor House/Hollywood Plantation.”
$3278 from ANCRC (through UAFS) for “Investigations at the Willhaf House.”
Honors & Awards 2016–2017
2016 Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of Archeological Programs to the Arkansas Archeological Survey from Desha County 4H.
2017 Forest Supervisor’s Award for Partners and Community Engagement to Arkansas Archeological Survey and Arkansas Archeological Society from the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.
Martha Rolingson, Emerita Archeologist with Arkansas Archeological Survey, was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
2017 Excellence in Heritage Preservation Award from Preserve Arkansas to Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: Plant-Based Foodways in the Southeastern United States, a 5th grade social studies curriculum developed by ARAS.
2017 Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education Award from Preserve Arkansas to Bluff-Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks, a new public-oriented website developed by ARAS.