The Parkin research station was established in 1990 at Parkin Archeological State Park in Cross County. The station’s primary mission is to study the Parkin site and related sites in the region and to aid State Parks staff in interpreting and presenting this research to the general public. The Parkin site is a 17-acre Mississippian period American Indian village located on the banks of the St. Francis River, and lies entirely within park boundaries. It has a large flat-topped earthen mound surrounded by hundreds of buried house remnants, and was enclosed by a log palisade and moat. Excavations in the 1990s showed that the site was settled as early as a.d. 1000 and was occupied at least until 1541, when the expedition of Hernando de Soto passed through the area. Parkin is believed to be the Indian village of Casqui that was visited by the Spaniards and described in the four written accounts left by survivors and chroniclers of the expedition.
Dr. Robert J. Scottwill become the new Station Archeologist on January 1, 2024. Robert (Bob) received his B.A. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2000), his M.A. from the University of Alabama (2004), and his PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2018). He previously worked for the Illinois State Museum studying Works Progress Administration (WPA)-Era collections, for the Center for Archaeological Investigations at SIUC where he taught archeological field schools, and for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. in Tuscaloosa. Between 2004 and 2007, he worked as the Station Assistant at the Survey’s UAM research station and served in the same capacity at the ASU research station from 2010 to 2013. He has conducted archeological excavations in Illinois, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas and has extensive experience in the laboratory analysis of Native American ceramics, lithics, and faunal remains from sites across east Arkansas. His research interests include the Late Prehistoric and Early Contact periods in the Lower Mississippi Valley, the archeology of colonial era Native Americans, the Late Woodland to Mississippian transition in northeast Arkansas, diaspora and Cahokia’s influence on regional communities in eastern and southeastern Arkansas, and applied zooarchaeology (mollusks).