Walker Shelter Hike & Program, October 7th

Join us Oct. 7 starting at 2pm for a hike and program about Ozark bluff shelters along the Back 40 trail system in Bella Vista.

Jamie Brandon and Lydia Rees will lead a hike along the Back 40 trail to Walker Shelter, a site we have recently recorded while conducting salvage excavations on looter disturbances there. Upon arrival at the shelter, they will provide an overview of past and more recent archeological work that complicates the picture of the prehistoric Arkansas Ozarks and offers possible future directions for research that can further refine our understanding of Ozark bluff shelters.

The hike will take place on the Back 40 Loop trail south of Lake Ann, starting at the Buckingham trailhead heading east to the bluffs and back, approximately 2 miles. Expect intermediate terrain. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing, and bring water and insect repellent. This family friendly hike is also open to friendly dogs on a leash.

Limited parking is available at the trailhead. You may park in the right of way along Buckingham Drive, as long as emergency vehicles can still get through. Please DO NOT park in the right of way along Trafalgar Road.

Walker Shelter in Bella Vista

Lydia Rees (ARAS staff) at Walker Shelter in Bella Vista.

The Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) staff respond to several bluff shelter looting incidents every year.  This year, the most extensive was our salvage work at Walker Shelter in Bella Vista.  The Bella Vista Historical Museum contacted the ARAS-UAF Research Station regarding preventing further looting at an impressive shelter along the Bella Vista Back 40 trail system.  This trail had been the target of much looting activity prior to the trail opening in the fall of 2016, and it was the Museum’s hope that we could assist with documenting the damage and helping to deter subsequent looting.

This June, as a side-project of the 2017 University of Arkansas archeological field school, 10 students and several members of the ARAS staff visited Walker Shelter.  We created a detailed site map, documented the looting and conducted salvage excavations along the looted areas.  At least a meter and a half of archeological deposits were documented―including the recovery of a Middle Archaic Calf Creek projectile point.  The looters pits were backfilled and the Museum has plans for further sterile fill and signage at the site…we are also planning a guided hike to the shelter and a lecture about the importance of bluff shelters as an endangered resources in the fall–stay tuned.

The 2017 University of Arkansas archeological field school arrives at Walker Shelter in Bella Vista after a brisk hike in.
Kayden Dennis (UofA Anthropology undergraduate) and Jared Pebworth (ARAS) documenting looter disturbance and identifying intact deposits at Walker Shelter.
Victoria Jones (UofA graduate student) and Jamie Middleton (UofA Honors undergraduate) mapping Walker Shelter.
Late Archaic projectile point recovered from the base of the looter disturbance at Walker Shelter.
Signage placed at Walker Shelter in order to help deter looting.