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 2015–2016.

Scientific Achievements & Archeological Mission

Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) staff authored or coauthored 33 publications and reports, and presented 30 papers or posters at meetings and conferences in 2015–2016. Major new publications by ARAS staff during 2015–16 include:

  • Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) edited the volume Research, Preservation, Communication: Honoring Thomas J. Green on His Retirement from the Arkansas Archeological Survey, which we published as No. 67 in the ARAS Research Series. Trubitt also authored/coauthored two chapters. Additional chapters in the volume were contributed by ARAS archeologists Jodi Barnes, Jamie Brandon, Jami Lockhart, Juliet Morrow, and George Sabo. ARAS graduate assistant Michelle Rathgaber also contributed a chapter.

  • Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) edited the University of Tennessee Press volume Historical Archaeology of Arkansas: A Hidden Diversity, and contributed the introductory chapter. Other ARAS contributors to this book include Jamie Brandon and Jerry Hilliard.

  • Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) received the 2016 Walter L. Brown Award for Best Article in a County or Local Journal from the Arkansas Historical Association for “The Archeology of Health and Healing at Hollywood Plantation,” published in the Drew County Historical Journal.

Volunteer participation in our projects continues to show a high level of interest in archeology among Arkansans. We logged over 10,375 hours of volunteer help from Arkansas Archeological Society members, students, and other citizens of Arkansas on various field and laboratory projects around the state.

The Survey’s AMASDA database (Automated Management of Archeological Site Data in Arkansas) is one of the earliest created 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 databases. 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.

  • 513 new archeological sites were recorded, bringing the total number of sites in AMASDA to 48,284.

  • 224 new archeological projects were entered into the database, bringing the projects total to 6946.

  • The ARAS registrar facilitated 192 requests for information from the Arkansas site files by students, researchers, and project managers.

Our research stations and Sponsored Research Program conducted projects supported with new funds from grants and cost-share agreements totaling $220,125.

ARAS 2016 Annual Report Annual Report for 2016

 

Annual Reports Archive

Annual reports for past years are accessible at the end of this page.

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Archeological Projects Around Arkansas 2015–2016

Paleoindian Research

Julie Morrow (ARAS-ASU) has a long-term research interest in the earliest cultures of Arkansas and the Americas. She organized and co-chaired a symposium, “After Anzick,”on the peopling of the New World at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Orlando, Florida that brought together an international group of scholars to present papers about the archeology of Ice Age foragers in light of recent DNA studies published in Science and Nature. The symposium was a springboard for journal publications. Morrow’s contribution to the understanding of the peopling of the New World is a manuscript conceptualizing the origins of the Clovis techno-complex, which will be part of a book she has been working on. Clovis origins have been elusive because the evidence is sparse and the geographic expanse covered is extreme. Within Arkansas, Morrow has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Corps of Engineers to identify the potential for buried early sites in various areas of Arkansas. The earliest period of human occupation in the state, so far as we know, is the Clovis culture.

Early Agriculture in Arkansas & the Southeast

Dr. David Stahle (Professor of Geosciences, University of Arkansas) examines a charred post removed from the top of the mound at the Parkin site to see if it can be dated by tree-ring analysis. The post is thought to represent a cross that was erected on the mound by Hernando de Soto’s men in 1541.
Dr. David Stahle (Professor of Geosciences, University of Arkansas) examines a charred post removed from the top of the mound at the Parkin site to see if it can be dated by tree-ring analysis. The post is thought to represent a cross that was erected on the mound by Hernando de Soto’s men in 1541.

The Survey is developing an organizational focus on research into early agriculture in the Southeast, especially Arkansas. Many people do not realize that the southeastern United States is one of ten independent world centers of plant domestication, and much of the evidence for early indigenous domesticated plants comes from excavations in dry bluff shelters in the Arkansas Ozarks. Archeologists at three of our research stations (UAM, Toltec Mounds State Park, and WRI) have combined efforts to create a 5th grade social studies curriculum that is aligned with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) framework. “Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture” consists of five one-hour lessons that use archeological information about changing Native American, African American, and early settler foodways over time, plus STEM skills, to teach scientific literacy and to convey knowledge about this important aspect of Arkansas history. There is also a sixth bonus lesson about the Columbian Exchange. The Survey is providing free teacher workshops for ADE credits. The curriculum is available for free to all Arkansas teachers, as a hard copy upon request, or as downloadable PDFs and PowerPoints on our website.

Other elements of the early agriculture research and education emphasis include:

  • Native American gardens are now maintained at three of our research stations. The Plum Bayou Garden at Toltec Mounds State Park emphasizes the Eastern Agricultural Complex of locally domesticated indigenous plants in a lowland habitat. The Native American Garden at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute research station studies early plant use in an upland environment. The Mississippian Garden at Parkin State Park emphasizes the “Three Sisters” crops (corn, beans, and squash) that became staples of Native North American agricultural societies in later prehistory.
  • At Toltec Mounds State Park, research archeologist Elizabeth Horton has established a paleoethnobotany lab and is building a comparative study collection. From the products of the Plum Bayou Garden she is able to supply seeds to other experimental gardens in the region. This year the station and park hosted weekend workshops for students and their teachers from several Arkansas colleges and universities who came to learn about paleoethnobotany, early agriculture, flotation (a recovery technique for botanical remains at archeological sites), and how to incorporate such projects in public education.
  • At the ARAS-HSU research station, past lifeways in the Ouachita Mountains remains a major focus of study. Station archeologist Mary Beth Trubitt directed two seasons of excavations at two sites in Montgomery County. Processing and analyzing information from the sites has continued to a point where station staff and their colleagues have begun to publish results. The totality of the project seeks to explore people’s daily lives in the past in the Ouachita Mountains, finding clues to social identity, interaction between different Native American communities, and change through time. Foodways is a major part of this, with specialist analysis of plant remains like carbonized seeds and nut shell, animal bones, and mussel shells from the Ouachita River that represent food choices of ancient people. Along with analysis of the artifacts and architectural traces uncovered at the sites, complete site maps, and 11 AMS radiocarbon dates, the team can say that the sites were occupied by ancestral Caddo Indians over an extended period—between 2300 BC and AD 1650.

The Parkin Site & the De Soto Expedition

Jeff Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin), Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP), and Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS) worked to further investigate one of the most intriguing pieces of evidence that the Hernando de Soto expedition visited the Parkin site—a Native American mound and village site that is wholly preserved within Parkin Archeological State Park. A grant from the Elfrieda Frank Foundation supported investigations on top of the mound at Parkin to see if remains of a post discovered there in 1966 could be more accurately dated to support its identification as the remnant of a large wooden cross erected by Hernando de Soto’s men in 1541. The post remnant was completely removed and transported to the ARAS lab in Fayetteville, where it was examined by Dr. David Stahle (Professor of Geosciences, University of Arkansas), an internationally recognized tree-ring expert. Unfortunately, the post could not be dated by tree-ring analysis, but it had cut marks attributed to metal tools and samples were taken for AMS radiocarbon dating.

 

Bluff Shelter website. Landing page for the new “Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks” educational website during development.
Bluff Shelter website. Landing page for the new “Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks” educational website during development.

Ozark Bluff Shelters

Two of our research stations have an emphasis on researching bluff shelters. While large mounds were noticed by archeologists as long ago as the late 19th century in the large river valleys and the Mississippi Delta region, bluff shelters in the Ozarks also helped to put Arkansas on the archeological map, with many being excavated in the 1930s.

  • At the ARAS-UAF research station Jerry Hilliard has worked with other ARAS staff and colleagues from the Department of Anthropology at the Breckenridge Shelter, where recently the earliest radiocarbon dates associated with human occupation in Arkansas—9765–9555 BP—were obtained from a deeply buried hearth with a nearby Dalton (late Paleoindian) dart point.
  • Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF) worked this year with Lydia Rees (ARAS-SRP) on a project to update records and collections from bluff shelter excavations done in the 1930s and curated in the University of Arkansas Museum. With funding from Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, records for over 80 Ozark sites have been scanned in high resolution archival image format and stored on our servers, with lower resolution versions incorporated into our AMASDA site file database. Also a new educational website about Ozark bluff shelters was developed, and went live shortly after this fiscal year.
  • The ARAS-WRI research station developed a long-term project to study rock shelters on Petit Jean Mountain. While many of these sites have been investigated for their rock art, less is known about other uses of the rock shelters. Emily Beahm and Larry Porter wanted to know more about the occupations. This includes finding answers to the basic who, what, when, and why questions—what kind of social groups occupied the sites and what was their cultural affiliation, when were they occupied and for how long, and what were the shelters used for? The archeologists also want to be able to connect their findings about rock shelter occupation to the rock art, and especially to find ways to help date the rock art. Test excavations at a small rock shelter last spring began this project. Local volunteer Don Higgins assisted the WRI staff. Preliminary analysis suggests a Mississippian cultural affiliation.
 

Historic Properties

ARAS staff and volunteers at the Taylor House (Hollywood Plantation) during a spring break dig.
ARAS staff and volunteers at the Taylor House (Hollywood Plantation) during a spring break dig.

The Survey carries out long-term research at several historic properties owned by institutions of higher learning in Arkansas.

  • Work at the Drennen-Scott Historic Site in Van Buren has been a continuing project for Tim Mulvihill since the ARAS-UAFS station opened in 2006 and is part of the Survey’s cooperative agreement with the UAFS campus, owner of the Historic Site. Archeology students get the opportunity to participate in fieldwork at the site as part of their course enrollment. Results of the ongoing excavations have contributed information about outbuildings and other features of the property that aid restoration. The house is used as museum space and a training center for the Historical Interpretation degree program.
  • This year, archeogeophysical survey was performed at the Willhaf House, another historical property in Van Buren acquired by UAFS in 2015. The 1840–1860 structure is intended for additional exhibit space, and a modern addition on the house will one day become the ARAS-UAFS research station. The Survey’s work at the Willhaf House will aid in development of a master plan for the property. Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS), Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP), and several archeologists from ARAS-SRP and ARAS-UAF took part.
  • Jodi Barnes and her assistants at the ARAS-UAM research station carried out more excavations at the antebellum Taylor House (also called Hollywood Plantation) in support of restoration work by the University. This has been an ongoing project for several years, involving Survey crews, students, and volunteers. The recent fieldwork identified some features in the ground relating to the smokehouse, but brick piers showing a definite foundation so far have not been located. On the other hand, artifacts and animal bones lend a good amount of information about the smokehouse area and give clues to the food habits of the Taylor family. Research also included collaboration with Nancy Theiss from the Oldham County Historical Society in Kentucky. This was part of a team effort to put together the history of the Taylor family, who came to Arkansas from Kentucky.

The CESU Program in Arkansas: Trading Posts & Battlefields

Volunteer Audrey Lindsey learning to use the metal detector in the service of science at Pea Ridge National Military Park. Photo by Jamie Brandon.
Volunteer Audrey Lindsey learning to use the metal detector in the service of science at Pea Ridge National Military Park. Photo by Jamie Brandon.

Two multiyear projects begun during the previous (2014–15) fiscal year received continuing support from the National Park Service through the federal Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) program. Both projects are being carried out in collaboration with the Midwest Archeological Center of the National Park Service. These projects have involved large scale mapping, remote sensing surveys by the ARAS director of archeogeophysical research, Jami Lockhart, and other archival and fieldwork as appropriate. Funding under the CESU program supported the Survey’s contributions to these projects (see below).

  • Arkansas Post – Osotouy Unit. Comprehensive Archeological Investigations in the Osotouy Unit of Arkansas Post National Memorial is planned as a four-year effort (now in the second year). The goal is to integrate all previous studies at several sites in the area of Arkansas Post National Memorial that represent the Quapaw presence at this locale and their interactions with Europeans. Arkansas Post was the first settlement of French and Spanish traders and colonists in what became the state of Arkansas. ARAS-UAPB research station personnel led by John House continued a multiyear project in partnership with the National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center to conduct a comprehensive archeological inventory of the Osotouy Unit of Arkansas Post National Memorial. The Osotouy Unit contains the location of the first Arkansas Post, established by Henri de Tonti in 1686. In 2015–16, crews carried out Phase 2 fieldwork at the Menard-Hodges site, including gradiometry survey for geophysical mapping and follow-up test excavations. Other fieldwork looked for the boundaries of the nearby Wallace Bottom site, while station archeologist John House worked on a report of previous excavations carried out at the Lake Dumond site. The three sites are within an area known archeologically as the Menard Locality.
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park Civil War Battlefield Landscape. Comprehensive Archeological Inventory of Ruddick’s Field, Pea Ridge National Military Park was part of another projected multiyear effort also undertaken in collaboration with the NPS Midwest Archeological Center under the CESU program. The research team employ GPS and Total Station instrument survey data, LiDAR, aerial photography, and other sources of information to produce a comprehensive geospatial framework to encompass two areas of the park important for investigating its Civil War history: Leetown and Ruddick’s Field. Geophysical survey supported by metal detector survey and limited test excavations were conducted across Ruddick’s field this year, with additional work planned for Leetown in the coming months. These efforts are producing greatly expanded information compared to earlier archeological investigations at Pea Ridge, which employed a more limited range of technologies. Future large-scale excavations are planned, based on the results of the ongoing survey and testing efforts. ARAS staff worked with Midwest Archeological Center and local volunteers, and university students, on this project. The findings of these investigations will enable the National Park Service to expand heritage tourism activities, programs, and displays at Pea Ridge National Military Park.

Civil War Archeology

Small arms ammunition recovered from the Elkins Ferry Civil War site.
Small arms ammunition recovered from the Elkins Ferry Civil War site.

The Survey has made many contributions to Civil War archeology in Arkansas over the years. In addition the work at Pea Ridge National Military Park discussed above, we have done fieldwork at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park to discover the precise locations important structures, roads, and other features on the landscape. Investigations during 2014 prior to construction of new rest room and parking facilities revealed information about troop movements and battlefield activity. At the ARAS-UAF station, projects have been carried out at the numerous Civil War era sites, including Cross Hollows, the Mt. Comfort church, and Van Winkle Mill, to mention a few.

  • The ARAS-SAU station in Magnolia has focused on Civil War archeology during the past year or so. This is in part because the new station archeologist, Carl Drexler (formerly the station assistant) is an expert in Conflict Archeology with experience in the study of battlefield landscapes. Drexler led archeological surveys at two Arkansas battlefield locations—Elkins’ Ferry in Nevada County and Wallace’s Ferry in Phillips County. The Elkins’ Ferry work was funded by Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and carried out in partnership with AHPP, Nevada County Depot and Museum, and the Civil War Trust. Volunteers assisted the fieldwork as well, which consisted of systematic metal detector survey on 448 acres purchased to preserve the battlefield. Results confirmed several important combat actions carried out as part of the 1864 Camden Expedition. The whole project contributes to development of heritage tourism. Work at Wallace’s Ferry was a continuation of previous investigations. Again, a systematic metal detector survey by professional and trained volunteer crew members this year helped to establish the limits of the battlefield and to get a sense of troop positions and movements.
  • Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF) served as Vice-Chair of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which received two awards upon completion of its mission: the 2016 Henry Award for Arkansas Heritage, given by the Arkansas Tourism industry, and the 2015 award for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education Statewide, given by Preserve Arkansas.

Contributions to Higher Education in Arkansas

Botany students and faculty from UAM attend a workshop at Toltec Mounds State Park to learn about flotation, southeastern paleoethnobotany, and the Plum Bayou Garden.
Botany students and faculty from UAM attend a workshop at Toltec Mounds State Park to learn about flotation, southeastern paleoethnobotany, and the Plum Bayou Garden.

Ten Survey archeologists held research faculty titles in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas in 2015–16: Dr. Jodi Barnes, Dr. Jamie Brandon, Dr. Carol Colaninno, Dr. Carl Drexler, Dr. Ann Early, Dr. Elizabeth Horton, Dr. John House, Dr. Jami Lockhart, Dr. Jeffrey Mitchem, Dr. Juliet Morrow, and Dr. Mary Beth Trubitt. George Sabo III , Survey Director since 2013, is Professor of Anthropology, also serves as Co-Director of the Environmental Dynamics Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in the U of A Graduate School.

Additional service to Arkansas college and university campuses included: participation in course and program development for host departments; membership on campus and departmental committees, and curatorial functions for campus museums; assistance with historic properties and collections owned or managed by the universities (e.g., the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection, Lakeport Plantation, Drennen-Scott Historic Site, Willhaf House, Camp Monticello, the Taylor House/Hollywood Plantation, development of SAU Museum, ongoing UA Museum collections research at UAF, and more.

Teaching and Advising
  • Survey archeologists taught 19 courses to 240 undergraduate and graduate students at seven 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 (for example) Anthropology, History, Geosciences, and Environmental Dynamics at UAF, Heritage Studies at ASU, and African Studies at UAPB.
  • Survey archeologists contributed guest lectures, demonstrations of geophysical technologies, and tours of facilities to students attending several colleges and universities in Arkansas.
  • Survey archeologists filled 24 thesis or dissertation committee positions for UAF graduate students in Anthropology and Environmental Dynamics, 1 committee for a UALR graduate student, and 1 graduate committee for an out-of-state institution (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale).
  • 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.

Contributions to Public Schools and K-12 Education

Survey archeologists gave talks and demonstrations on archeology, American Indians, and early Arkansas history, including Career Day presentations and Summer Enrichment Programs, to over 670 K–12 students and their teachers at schools, parks, and nature centers across the state. Among the unique and creative educational activities that Survey archeologists were involved with this year:

  • Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture 5th Grade Curriculum – With funding from multiple sources (a Public Outreach Grant from the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, a Bill Jordan Public Education Grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society, a Pre-production Media Grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council), several ARAS staff developed a 5th grade social sciences curriculum to be made available on the ARAS website in 2017. Originally spearheaded by Carol Colaninno, Jodi Barnes (ARAS- UAM) took over leadership of the project when Colaninno resigned in order to accept a new position in another state. Other partners in the project are Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) and Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS). This curriculum will present the history of early Arkansas through the diverse plant use, foodways, and plant-based traditions of Native Americans, European settlers, and African Americans, and will show how archeologists use scientific techniques to explore these topics.
  • Learning how to record data during Project Dig at ARAS-WRI.
    Learning how to record data during Project Dig at ARAS-WRI.

    Project Dig – 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. 52 students from Dardanelle, Perryville, Hector, and Bigelow schools participated, along with their teachers and some parents.

  • Bend. Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) obtained funding from Arkansas Humanities Council and Arkansas Arts Council to bring performance artist Kimi Maeda to Arkansas. Maeda’s Bend performance tells the story of internees at a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. Performances were given in Little Rock and McGehee. Maeda then presented a day-long workshop for 40 high school students in McGehee, who visited the World War II Japanese-American Internment Museum and learned about various aspects of Japanese culture by trying their hands at sand painting, getting a language lesson from students at the UAM Japanese Club, and preparing a Japanese meal.
  • Webb Mounds Video. Julie Morrow (ARAS-ASU) helped students from Nettleton High School make a video about the educational importance of learning about and preserving this mound site in Craighead County and others like it.
  • Arkansas Arts Academy Virtual Field Trip. Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) collaborated with Kim Wilson (A+ Schools) and Shelle Stormoe (AHPP) to create a teleconferenced “virtual field trip” to Rohwer and the WWII Japanese American Internment Museum for the Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers, Arkansas. The program, which focused on creativity among internees, was made available to classrooms around the state.
  • 4-H Day of Archeology. Jodi Barnes and the ARAS-UAM station worked with 80 students attending the Desha County 4-H Day of Archeology to learn critical thinking and the scientific method through hands-on lessons of the whole process of archeology.
  • Two student activities from the Rock Art website are included in a package of electronic resources distributed to Arkansas public schools by The Learning Institute in Little Rock
  • The Survey continues to develop educational Internet resources, now including interactive websites (Rock Art in Arkansas and Indians of Arkansas), our new Arkansas Novaculite website for research and education, plus our redesigned main website with information about the Survey and our programs. Content continues to be added highlighting current research projects.

Public Service and Outreach

Government Agencies
Michael Evans (ARAS-SRP) during geophysical survey at Pea Ridge National Military Park as part of the CESU project in cooperation with the National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center. Photo by Jamie Brandon.
Michael Evans (ARAS-SRP) during geophysical survey at Pea Ridge National Military Park as part of the CESU project in cooperation with the National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center. Photo by Jamie Brandon.

We work closely with several 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.

  • This year Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF), Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), and Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) taught workshops on Historical Archeology, Historical Material Culture, Lithics, and Prehistoric Archeology to 120 participants in the Ouachita National Forest Heritage Resource Technician Program at several locations around the state.
American Indian Tribes

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.

  • State Archeologist Ann Early supervised graduate student Sarah Hunt Shepard, who finished work on Notices of Inventory Completion for ARAS collections under a $63,000 NAGPRA Documentation Grant from the National Park Service awarded to Dr. Early. The Survey is now much closer to reaching full compliance with NAGPRA.
The General Public

Our staff are available for presentations, tours, and demonstrations throughout the year. Approximately 58 public lectures, workshops, and other presentations by Survey staff, plus participation in 9 community events or festivals, reached audiences of more than 2380. Across the state, our staff responded to 1000s of requests for information, by telephone, email, in writing, and in person.

  • The Survey and its research stations increased the use of social media to provide information about Arkansas archeology, our projects and discoveries, and local volunteer opportunities.
  • Survey archeologists provided consultation and advice, including acting as Humanities Scholars for Arkansas Humanities Council grant proposals, to numerous groups and individuals working on projects to document and protect historic African-American cemeteries.
  • Archeology Month is a multifaceted public education concept to promote awareness and appreciation of Arkansas archeology. March is Arkansas Archeology Month. We work with the Arkansas Archeology Society to contact participants, create a printed Events Brochure, distribute information and posters, and update the Archeology Month web pages. During 2016 some 1700 people attended the 47 scheduled programs at 35 venues across the state, including 7 museums, 7 state parks, 7 schools and colleges, and other locations such as libraries and nature centers. Events included illustrated talks, exhibits, tours, artifact identification programs, and hands-on activities. Highlights included a continuation of last year’s successful “Archeology Minute” radio spots broadcast on KUAF and archived on their website, an “Archeology Day” in Fayetteville featuring flintknapping, basketry/weaving, spear throwing, and other tool demonstrations, and the second annual ArcheOlympics event at Toltec Mounds State Park with archeology-related games for teams to compete. Just a few examples of other activities led by ARAS staff included a spring break dig at the historic Taylor House coordinated with a youth archeology project involving Desha County 4H, a class at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, an Open House at WRI, and a variety of talks and demonstrations.
Citizen Science: Archeology for Everyone
Julie Morrow (ARAS-ASU) combines helping visitors with recording data at an Artifact ID event for the public.
Julie Morrow (ARAS-ASU) combines helping visitors with recording data at an Artifact ID event for the public.

Arkansas Archeological Society & The Annual Training Program. This program is co-managed by the Survey and the Arkansas Archeological Society. Every year in June a two-week field school for amateurs is conducted at an archeological site chosen according to criteria of ongoing research interests at the Survey stations, educational potential, and logistical needs. The program requires extensive preparation by Survey staff along with a committee of Society members beginning months in advance. Field and laboratory work are supervised by Survey staff, other professionals, and qualified Society members. Survey archeologists and other qualified individuals also teach a series of five-day seminars on various archeological topics during the Training Program. Those who complete the required number of hours in the field, lab, and classroom and demonstrate their abilities may earn optional Certificates in several categories. The Survey stations devote years to analyzing the material collected during the summer “Digs,” usually with help from Society volunteers. Training Program participants must be members of the Arkansas Archeological Society. Ages eight and up are welcome, but children under 18 must be accompanied by a registered adult participant. The Training Program is our most visible outreach activity and has been widely imitated throughout the United States.

  • 74 members of the Arkansas Archeological Society attended the 2016 Training Program for amateur archeologists, held for the second consecutive year at the Richards Bridge site in Crittenden County near Parkin Archeological State Park. Extensive archeogeophyiscal survey, directed by Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) was conducted prior to the excavation. The site is a Native American village contemporaneous with the occupation of the Parkin site. The excavations, co-directed by Jeff Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin) and Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS), will add new information to aid interpretation at the Park.
Internet Outreach and Social Media

Our new website, designed and created by our own Computer Services staff, was launched in early July 2015. It is easy to navigate, with rotating content about archeological research and discoveries in Arkansas and educational materials for public and schoolroom use.

  • Our interactive educational website Indians of Arkansas received 90,000 page views in 2015–16
  • Our Rock Art in Arkansas website received 21,500 page views in 2015–16.
  • Our Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection website, authored by HSU station archeologist Dr. Mary Beth Trubitt and her associates, provides resources for scholars and students and received 11,500 page views in 2015–16.
  • A new website on Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks was in development this year by Lydia Rees (ARAS-SRP) and Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF) as part of an ANCRC-funded project to update and preserve excavation records from the 1930s and to provide information to the public

Science blogging has become a significant medium for academics to engage with colleagues and public audiences. Jodi Barnes both contributed a blog post to the International Day of Archaeology website, an annual event that collects hundreds of posts from archeologists all over the world to educate the public about the science and practice of archeology, while Carl Drexler participated in Grand Challenge blog carnival.

  • Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) blogs about his work at Trowel ‘n’ Transit (https://cgdrexler.wordpress.com/trowel-n-transit/) and participated this year in the Grand Challenges blog carnival with a post about his field of specialization, conflict archeology (https://cgdrexler.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/conflict-archaeology-in-north-america-the-grand-challenges/).
  • Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) again contributed to the Day of Archaeology with a blog post titled “How To Think Like an Archaeologist: Youth Archaeology in Arkansas.”
  • Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) wrote about the experimental Native American garden on the WRI blog here http://rockefellerinstitute.org/blog/AASopenhouse .

The Survey maintains a social media presence with a Facebook Page and Twitter account linked to our main website. In addition, each of the ten research stations has its own Facebook Pages for educational outreach and to communicate with volunteers in the local area. Response to our social media has increased dramatically in the past year.

Boards and Commissions
  • Ann Early (State Archeologist) serves on the Department of Arkansas Heritage State Review Board for Historic Preservation, an appointment by the Governor of Arkansas, and was elected Chairman; she is also a board member of the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Arkansas Genealogical Society, and the Arkansas Women’s History Institute, and is Vice President of the National Association of State Archaeologists.
  • Jamie Brandon serves as Chair of the State Review Board for Historical Preservation; board member of Arkansas Humanities Council; and Vice-Chairman of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission (dissolved in December 2015).
  • Jamie Brandon and Jodi Barnes are board members of Preserve Arkansas (formerly the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas); Brandon was President in 2015 and Barnes was President-elect.
  • Carl Drexler is on the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Historical Association.
  • Elizabeth Horton serves on the Arkansas State Parks Cultural Resources Committee.
  • Deborah Sabo and Marilyn Knapp are members of the Executive Committee of the Arkansas Archeological Society.

Professional Service

Participants at the Training Program learn STEM skills by putting archeological field methods into practice. Here they learn to lay out a grid using math and geometry.
Participants at the Training Program learn STEM skills by putting archeological field methods into practice. Here they learn to lay out a grid using math and geometry.

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.

Survey staff served as officers, members of various committees, or in other service capacities for professional organizations: Society for American Archaeology; Southeastern Archaeological Conference; Society for Historical Archaeology; Caddo Conference Organization; Florida Anthropological Society; Arkansas Historical Association.

Honors & Awards

The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Jamie Brandon, Vice-Chair, received the 2016 Henry Award for Arkansas Heritage, given by the Arkansas Tourism industry.

Preserve Arkansas awarded the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Jamie Brandon, Vice-Chair, its 2015 award for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education Statewide.

Jodi Barnes received the 2016 Walter L. Brown Award for Best Article in a County or Local Journal from the Arkansas Historical Association for “The Archeology of Health and Healing at Hollywood Plantation,” published in the Drew County Historical Journal.

Jodi Barnes received a Project Archaeology Leadership Academy Scholarship to attend the Leadership Academy training program in Bozeman, Montana during 2016.

The ARAS-UAM research station was awarded a Desha County 4-H Certificate of Appreciation.

Grants & Cost-Share Agreements

Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) and volunteer Karen Johnson shovel skimming at the Taylor House (Hollywood Plantation) during a spring break dig.
Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) and volunteer Karen Johnson shovel skimming at the Taylor House (Hollywood Plantation) during a spring break dig.

$44,133 from ANCRC to ARAS-SRP for “Preserving the Prehistoric Heritage of South Arkansas.”

$20,396 from ANCRC to ARAS Registrar for “Enhancement of AMASDA” archeological site database.

$35,471 from ANCRC to ARAS-UAF for “Preserving and Interpreting Arkansas Bluff Shelters.”

$595 from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund to Robert Scott (ARAS-UAPB) for an AMS date on charred nut shell from the Open Lake site, 3DR166.

$3033 from Arkansas Arts Council and $1500 from Arkansas Humanities Council to Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) to support the Bend performances and workshop.

$1990 SEAC Public Outreach Grant from the Southeastern Archaeological Conference to help fund teacher workshops for the Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture 5th Grade Curriculum project.

$3290 Bill Jordan Public Outreach Grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society to fund a curriculum/activity workbook for the Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture 5th Grade Curriculum project.

$4999 Pre-production Media Grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council to help fund production of a video web-series for teachers as part of the Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture 5th Grade Curriculum project.

$1500 Public Programs Grant from Arkansas Humanities Council to Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) for Preserve Arkansas Fall Ramble.

$17,037 for “A Smokehouse Plus a Kitchen Equals Foodways” and $23,096 for “Archeology of the Hollywood Plantation Landscape" from UAM and ANCRC to Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) for Taylor House excavations.

$710 from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund to Mary Beth Trubitt and Katie Leslie (ARAS-HSU) for “Dating Architecture from the 2014 Society Training Program Excavations,” to perform botanical identification and AMS dating of a sample from 3MN298 Structure 2.

$3789 Major Grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council to Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) for fieldwork at the Wallace’s Ferry Civil War site.

$11,807 from AHPP to Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) for archeological explorations at the Elkins’ Ferry Civil War site.

$19,468.81 from the Elfrieda Frank Foundation to Jeff Mitchem (ARAS-PAR) for “Search for De Soto’s Cross at Parkin.”

$31,449 from the National Park Service (CESU) for Archeological Inventory at Pea Ridge National Military Park, Ruddick’s Field.

$18,814 from National Park Service (CESU) for Comprehensive Archeological Inventory at the Osotouy Unit, Arkansas Post National Memorial.

Annual Reports

Annual reports of the Arkansas Archeological Survey are freely available in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. Bound copies of some years may be available by request.

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ARAS 2016 Annual Report 2016
 

 

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Annual Report 2015 2015
 

 

Annual Report 2014 2014