George Sabo with Osage tribal members at Indian Rockhouse Cave
Survey director George Sabo speaking to members of the Osage tribe at Indian Rockhouse Cave (Buffalo National River).

Over 50 Years of Science and 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 2019–2020.

Meeting the Challenges of 2019–2020

Workday Transition. In July 2020, following a two-year period of development, the cloud-based Workday system of integrated human resource and financial management software applications “went live” for the first cohort of University of Arkansas System institutions. The ARAS implementation was capably guided by our Workday Change Champions Rachel Whitman and Shavawn Smith. Workday is used to manage all business processes for UA System employees.
Covid-19. As one of numerous institutions of higher education in Arkansas, the ARAS administration worked closely this year with the UA System Office, the Arkansas Division of Higher Education, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to monitor Covid-19 cases within and across the institutions; provide support for affected faculty, staff, and students; and assist in contact tracing programs. At our coordinating office and research stations, staff adopted work protocols and schedules to ensure maximum protection against the risk of infection.

ARAS 2019-2020 Annual Report Annual Report for 2020

Annual Reports Archive

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

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Virtual Public Archeology and Teaching. As part of our adoption of safe and physically distanced work practices this year, ARAS staff devoted considerable time to the creation of innovative and successful virtual presentations for a wide range of audiences including the avocational archeology community, members of the general public interested in all aspects of Arkansas history, and the public education community who frequently turn to us for resources that can be adapted to classroom settings. Our PhD staff who hold teaching positions at campuses across the state adapted their coursework for implementation on the variety of platforms adopted at their host institutions.

Scientific Achievements & Archeological Mission 2019–2020

Publications and Presentations. ARAS staff authored or coauthored 53 print or digital publications and reports and presented 32 papers or posters at meetings and conferences in 2019–2020.
Archeological sites recorded into our AMASDA database passed the 50,000 mark this year. Here, Sarah Shepard (ARAS Assistant Registrar) officially puts the stamp onto the site form, with ARAS Director George Sabo looking on.
Archeological sites recorded into our AMASDA database passed the 50,000 mark this year. Here, Sarah Shepard (ARAS Assistant Registrar) officially puts the stamp onto the site form, with ARAS Director George Sabo looking on.
Records Management. Our 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. The system is now available online (password protected) for qualified researchers. Contractors may subscribe per project or for an annual fee.
  • 412 new archeological sites were recorded, bringing the total number of sites in Arkansas site files to 50,162.
  • 172 new archeological projects were entered into the database, bringing the projects total to 7,540.
Help for Researchers. The ARAS registrar facilitated 1,500 requests for information from the Arkansas site files by students, researchers, and project managers. This included 20 graduate student and academic research projects. We assisted local, state, and federal entities, four American Indian Tribes, and 39 private firms conducting projects in Arkansas.
Outside Funding. We conducted projects supported with new funds generated by grants and cost-share agreements totaling $145,668.
Volunteers. Despite curtailment of in-person opportunities in March and cancellation of the annual June Training Program due to Covid-19, volunteer participation in our projects totaled 1,384 hours, showing a high level of continued interest in archeology.
uachita Mountains Archeology by Mary Beth Trubitt (Popular Series No. 06)
Ouachita Mountains Archeology by Mary Beth Trubitt (Popular Series No. 06)
Digital Data Collection Initiative. A DDCI working group within ARAS, led by Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU), developed 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 directly to our servers. Other members of the group were Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-Toltec), the late Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), John Samuelsen (ARAS-CSP), and Teka McGlothlin (ARAS-CO).
ARAS Publications Program. Our program continues to develop with two new Popular Series volumes (No. 6 and No. 7) published in 2019–2020, and another in production. We have additional submissions to Research Series and Popular Series under review.
  • Thanks to cooperative effort with the University of Arkansas’s CashNet team, our program now has an online eCommerce storefront, linked from our main website, where individual customers can order books. Online sales were shut down for several months during the pandemic.
Backing Up Our Records. In 2017 we started 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. Kathleen Cande has organized this effort, and the ARAS registrar’s office helps with digitization.
Projects Around Arkansas
Civil War Archeology at Pea Ridge. A Final Report on our four-year archeological project at Pea Ridge National Military Park was submitted. This project was funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center and was designated as part of the CESU (Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units) program. Six main areas on the battlefield landscape were studied using geophysics, GIS, archival research, and archeological excavation.
Study areas targeted in the 4-year CESU project at Pea Ridge National Military Park.
Study areas targeted in the 4-year CESU project at Pea Ridge National Military Park.
Safe Field Schools. Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) and Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) were coauthors of a 2020 article, “Creating and Supporting a Harassment- and Assault-Free Field School” in the journal Advances in Archaeological Practice. The two are co-principal investigators on a $300,000 grant from National Science Foundation led by Carol Colaninno (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center) and Shawn Lambert (Mississippi State University). This multiyear research project is aimed at making archeological field schools safer and more inclusive for all students. It will ultimately benefit not only field schools but all archeological fieldwork contexts, as well as other field-based disciplines, and will improve the overall quality of archeological research for the future.
ANCRC Funded Projects. “Preserving and Presenting Arkansas History through Artifacts—The Tom Jones Site” is a project funded by a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. ARAS-CO lab staff Madelyn Rose and Melody Astle compiled a detailed digital inventory of more than 150,000 artifacts excavated from the Grandview Prairie Wildlife Management Area during 2001–2004. The project included application of our new Digital Imaging Lab resources to create 3D models of several diagnostic artifacts, along with development of educational outreach materials for the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center, located near Hope in Hempstead County.
Public Interface for the Hodges Collection. The “JEC Hodges Collection Study” was supported by funding from several sources. Mary Beth Trubitt and Tommie Cotton (ARAS-HSU) collaborated with ARAS-CO staff members Teka McGlothlin and Sarah Shepard, and HSU students and staff, to create an extensive open storage exhibit for many of the 38,000 ceramic vessels and stone tools comprising the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection. These materials, from Clark and Hot Spring counties, reflect the long developmental history of the Caddo Indians. The display, which includes interactive websites and 3D models of dozens of artifacts, is open for viewing at the Caddo Center on the HSU campus.

Staff News

Dr. Ann Early, Arkansas’s second State Archeologist, has retired after 48 years with the Survey.
Dr. Ann Early, Arkansas’s second State Archeologist, has retired after 48 years with the Survey.
Dr. Ann Early, State Archeologist since 1999, and Archeologist at the ARAS-HSU research station from 1972–1999, retired at the end of June 2020.
Katy Gregory was appointed Interim Station Archeologist at ARAS-Toltec Mounds research station.
Dr. Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-Toltec Mounds) left the Survey at the end of this fiscal year. She will continue to pursue ethnobotanical research on a contractual basis through her own company.
Dr. Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) was promoted from Associate Archeologist to Archeologist.
Dr. John Samuelsen (ARAS-CSP) completed his PhD degree at the University of Arkansas with a dissertation entitled “An Isotopic Assessment of Late Prehistoric Interregional Warfare in the Southcentral US.”
Lydia Rees (ARAS-CO) completed her MA degree in the University of Arkansas Department of Anthropology.
Dr. Jessica Kowalski (ARAS-UAF) was hired as station archeologist on the UAF campus.
Shavawn Smith (ARAS-CO) was hired as the new Assistant Director for Fiscal Affairs. She comes to us from Business Services at the University of Arkansas and has helped guide us through the Workday transition.
Rachel Whitman (ARAS-CO) left us as Assistant Director for Fiscal Affairs for a new position as Director of Business Fiscal & Support Services with the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus Facilities Management. Whitman was our Workday Champion, who paved the way for a smooth transition.

Contributions to Higher Education in Arkansas 2019–2020

George Sabo III, ARAS Director since 2013 and Professor of Anthropology, serves as Co-Director of the Environmental Dynamics Interdisciplinary PhD Program, which is part of The Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas.
HSU student Emma Adams photographed pieces from the JEC Hodges Collection as part of her museum studies internship during spring semester (ARASHSUD_C2450 photo by Mary Beth Trubitt).
HSU student Emma Adams photographed pieces from the JEC Hodges Collection as part of her museum studies internship during spring semester (ARASHSUD_C2450 photo by Mary Beth Trubitt).
ARAS archeologists held research faculty titles in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas in 2019–2020: Jodi Barnes, Emily Beahm, Andrew Beaupré, the late Jamie Brandon, Carl Drexler, Ann Early, Elizabeth Horton, John House (Emeritus), Jessica Kowalski, Jami Lockhart, Jeffrey Mitchem, Juliet Morrow, and Mary Beth Trubitt.
ARAS archeologists taught 20 courses for 318 students enrolled at university campuses in Arkansas: UAF, UAFS, UALR, UAM, UAPB, ASU, ATU, HSU, and SAU. This included four online courses for University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University-Midsouth, and three students in Independent Studies classes or Internships at UAF, HSU, and UALR
Courses taught by ARAS archeologists fulfill basic education requirements and contribute to several undergraduate majors and graduate degree programs at Arkansas universities, including Anthropology, History, Geosciences, and Environmental Dynamics at UAF; Heritage Studies at ASU; the Historic Interpretation Program at UAFS; and African Studies at UAPB.
ARAS archeologists contributed numerous guest lectures, demonstrations of geophysical technologies, field and lab instruction including mapping, ethnobotanical, and other specialized processing, and tours of facilities for college and university students in Arkansas.
ARAS archeologists supervised three student interns.
ARAS archeologists filled 13 master’s or doctoral degree committee positions (as member or chair) for graduate students in Anthropology (UAF, UALR) and Environmental Dynamics (UAF), and 1 master’s committee for a University of Oklahoma student.
Prior to (and in accordance with) pandemic restrictions, ARAS 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.
ARAS provides employment to students, when possible, at several campuses through grant funding, assistantships, and direct employment.
Additional service to Arkansas college and university campuses includes 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; and assistance with historic properties and artifact collections owned or managed by the universities. These are 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); the Gregoire and other collections at Arkansas Tech Museum (ATU).

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, a PhD student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville previously supported by a Survey graduate assistantship, was hired as a Historic Preservation Specialist at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi. She continues to pursue her dissertation research on late prehistoric and protohistoric sites in the Central Arkansas River Valley, primarily focusing on the Isgrig site (3PU15), which is located south of Little Rock.
  • John Samuelsen completed his dissertation research at the Crenshaw site (3MI6), using lead and strontium isotopes as a method to biologically source human remains and to interpret the skull and mandible cemetery at the Crenshaw site. Samuelsen’s results suggest the remains are from people who may have lived in the surrounding area and therefore represent a local burial practice. Funding from several sources supported Samuelsen’s research, including grants from the University of Arkansas Department of Anthropology, the Arkansas Archeological Society, and the National Science Foundation. This project aids the Caddo Nation in determining whether the unusual burials at the site represent their ancestors or their ancestor’s war opponents. Samuelsen successfully defended his dissertation and was awarded his PhD in May 2020.
  • Lydia Rees completed her MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas. Rees studied prehistoric ceramics in the Arkansas Ozarks. She had previously received an Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education Award from Preserve Arkansas for her work on the “Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks” website. She is also the recipient of the Hester A. Davis Internship in Public Archeology. She assisted the ARAS Publications Program this year.

Contributions to Public Schools and K-12 Education 2019-2020

Project Dig kids develop spatial and observational skills by learning how to map artifacts in a grid and record data.
Project Dig kids develop spatial and observational skills by learning how to map artifacts in a grid and record data.
Gathering, Gardening & Agriculture – 5th Grade Social Sciences Curriculum. With funding from the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, the Arkansas Archeological Society, the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), and Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-Toltec) developed a 5th grade social sciences curriculum that is now available for free on the ARAS website with complete lesson plans, exercises, PowerPoints, and background information for teachers. This lesson and instruction package aligns with the 5th grade Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Social Studies Curriculum Framework. It presents the history of early Arkansas by comparing foodways of Native Americans, European settlers, and African Americans. Archeological evidence from Arkansas is used to illustrate and to show how science can explore these topics. The Survey also offers teacher workshops to help educators implement the curriculum. A hardcopy workbook is available to Arkansas educators on request.
Project Dig. ARAS-WRI station staff, cooperating with Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, again presented Project Dig, a semester-long program for gifted and talented 5th and 6th graders. Project Dig is an interactive hands-on program incorporating STEM and Humanities concepts to help students learn about culture by using evidence-based critical thinking. Students from Dardanelle, Dover, Perryville, Pottsville, and Hector participated, along with their teachers and some parents. The last day of Project Dig, a student symposium, had to be canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19. Emily Beahm wrote an analysis of the program that was published in Field Notes.
Mel Zabecki (ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator) visits Don Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale to teach about human osteology.
Mel Zabecki (ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator) visits Don Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale to teach about human osteology.
Teacher Workshops. ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki offered six teacher workshops at Educational Cooperatives in Branch, Farmington, Monticello, Blytheville, and Valley Springs, with 67 teachers earning professional development credits. Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS) joined Zabecki for one of these events. George Sabo (ARAS Director) participated in the 2019 Teacher’s Workshop sponsored by Caddo Mounds Historic Site in Texas, with 50 teachers in attendance.
Classroom Materials. 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. This year Lydia Rees updated and re-formatted the entire suite of fliers, and added some new ones.
School Visits, Programs & Tours. Survey archeologists typically give numerous talks and demonstrations on archeology, American Indians, and early Arkansas history throughout the year. During 2019–2020, we were able to conduct in-person classroom visits, tours, and other events that engaged over 1,770 K–12 students and their teachers before Covid-19 restrictions curtailed these efforts.
GT Archeology Semester. Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki (ARAS-CO) worked with a Gifted & Talented teacher in northwest Arkansas on a semester-long archeology project that included classroom visits, lesson planning, and field trips. The final part of the semester was completed via Zoom.
Engineering & Archeology Day Camp. Zabecki worked with Amy Warren (UA Engineering Department) to develop a pilot 5-day camp in Fayetteville for 7th and 8th grade girls, with hands-on learning that combines archeology and engineering. Warren won a grant to continue the camps in Blytheville and Morrilton (postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic).

Public Service and Outreach 2019–2020

Robert Scott (ARAS-UAPB) uses the total station to map an area where unmarked graves are suspected at Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock.
Robert Scott (ARAS-UAPB) uses the total station to map an area where unmarked graves are suspected at Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock.
Zooming Forward: Public Education in the Time of Covid. ARAS did not abandon its public education efforts in the face of Covid. Our staff moved quickly to adopt strategies for virtual presentations and events in 2020. For example, a series of short educational videos presented via Facebook and collected as a playlist called Lab Work on the Survey’s YouTube channel was developed by Michelle Rathgaber (ARAS-Parkin). Other educational events including working with schools and public presentations were carried out over Zoom and placed online.
NAGPRA Documentation. We continued our NAGPRA compliance program in cooperation with several American Indian Tribes. Under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), many institutions and agencies are obligated to provide an inventory of all items in their collections that are subject to repatriation. Such items are human remains, funerary objects, sacred artifacts, and items of cultural patrimony. This is done by researching and providing a summary of all existing records for each artifact collection in order to establish the geographical origin, cultural affiliation, and other basic information about how the items were acquired and accessioned. The remains and objects may then be repatriated to modern representatives of the appropriate culturally affiliated American Indian Tribe. These activities at ARAS are essential for compliance with federal law. We also curate, under contract, collections owned by various government entities that are subject to NAGPRA.
  • As of 2019 ARAS has completed the steps necessary to be substantially in compliance with our NAGPRA obligations for collections that we currently curate. This process took a number of years, and was overseen by the ARAS registrar’s office, with Sarah Shepard in charge.
  • This year Notices of Inventory Completion (records that are required to be published in the Federal Register) for the JEC Hodges collection were published; Lake Dumond site material was received from John House to be added to inventory; Transfer of Control of collections for the Quapaw Tribe was facilitated; and the office worked with Mel Zabecki (ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator) and bioarcheology graduate students to document remains and file all SOD paperwork relating to burials.
  • Registrar staff also assisted several outside agencies with NAGPRA compliance and information: Arkansas Department of Transportation, Arkansas State Parks, University of Arkansas Department of Anthropology, US Army Corps of Engineers, University of Arkansas Museum, and the US Forest Service.
State and Federal Agencies. The Survey works closely with state and federal agencies whose responsibilities include the management and protection of archeological sites: Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program; Arkansas Department of Transportation; Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism/Arkansas State Parks; Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; National Park Service; USDA Forest Service; US Natural Resources Conservation Service; US Army Corps of Engineers; and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Training Program & Field School. Sadly, the annual Training Program was canceled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If all goes well, the plans made for 2020 will be implemented instead in 2021.
Jared Pebworth and George Sabo at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville's Anthropology Open House in February, 2020.
Jared Pebworth and George Sabo at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville's Anthropology Open House in February, 2020.
Public Programs & Presentations. ARAS staff normally give dozens of public talks and set up information booths at community events that reach several thousand listeners and visitors each year. In 2019–2020, the Covid-19 pandemic threatened this outreach mission. Nevertheless, our staff gave at least 83 public lectures, workshops, tours, information booths, and other presentations reaching audiences of over 1,975 Arkansans and people in neighboring states. An additional 23 public talks to chapters of the Arkansas Archeological Society reached combined audiences of about 330. Most of these were in-person events prior to the pandemic, and a few were free Zoom events.
Historic Cemeteries. Kathleen Cande (ARAS-CO) coordinates our research, assistance, and advice to preservation groups and concerned individuals working to document and protect historic cemeteries, especially African American cemeteries. ARAS staff assisted several volunteer groups with cleaning and documentation, and helped investigate locations of suspected unmarked gravesites, including at Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas. ARAS staff have so far contributed about 60 articles and reviewed many others for the CALS online Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
Public Contacts. ARAS staff respond to thousands of requests for information from members of the public every year, by telephone, email, social media, and in person. We also work with landowners concerned about trespassers who disturb archeological sites, and are often able to investigate and recover information from sites that have been damaged by unauthorized digging.
Visitors view items from the JEC Hodges collection on open storage exhibit at the Caddo Center on the HSU campus.
Visitors view items from the JEC Hodges collection on open storage exhibit at the Caddo Center on the HSU campus.
Exhibits & Museums. ARAS staff have created or assisted with a number of exhibits around the state:
  • Last year Mary Beth Trubitt and Tommie Cotton (ARAS-HSU), with student intern Rae’Shawn Jones and volunteers, installed Hodges Collection artifacts into open storage exhibit space at the refurbished Caddo Center on the HSU campus. This year ARAS-HSU staff developed content for interactive computer stations to accompany the exhibit space. Grants from Arkansas Archeological Society and the Arkansas Humanities Council helped fund the project.
  • ARAS-HSU station staff maintain displays using Hodges collection artifacts at the HSU Huie Library, the OBU Hickingbotham Library, and the Clark County Historical Association Museum in Arkadelphia.
  • Melissa Zabecki (with Elizabeth Horton) provided materials and installed an Archeology Month exhibit at the Arkansas State Library in Little Rock.
  • George Sabo was curator for a permanent exhibit on “Arkansas Native Americans” installed at the Arkansas Union on the UAF campus.
  • Other assistance for exhibit development, collections, or programs at museums was provided to American Museum of Natural History; ASU Museum; Arkansas Tech Museum; Parkin and Toltec Mounds State Parks Visitors Centers; Davidsonville Historic State Park; Turner Neal Museum at UAM; Old Statehouse Museum; Helena Museum of Philips County; Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Historical Museum; Clark County Historical Association Museum; The Gilcrease Museum; Shiloh Museum of Ozark History; Rogers Historical Museum; University of Arkansas Museum Collections; Arkansas Game and Fish Center in Springdale; and National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Website and Social Media. Our website, designed and maintained by our own Computer Services Program staff (Deborah Weddle and John Samuelsen), offers a modern, graphic home page that is easy to navigate, with rotating content that emphasizes interesting information about archeological research and discoveries in Arkansas, and educational materials for public and schoolroom use. We also maintain topical websites for the general public and fellow scholars.
  • Visitor traffic to the main ARAS website increased by about 9% in FY20, with 126,705 pageviews by 21,609 users over 33,921 sessions. For all our websites combined, traffic reached 350,000 pageviews.

Total Website Pageviews by Year

  • A new website about the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection was developed by Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) with technical assistance of Deborah Weddle (ARAS-CSP).
  • Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) is working on an updated redesign of our Rock Art in Arkansas website, also with Weddle’s help. The new website should be ready to launch next year.
  • A popular continuing feature on the website is our Artifact of the Month series, now in its third year. These brief illustrated stories tell visitors about Arkansas’s prehistoric and historic heritage, and how we learn about the past, one artifact at a time.
  • AMASDA Online provides password-protected, web-based access to our archeological site database for qualified researchers. Contractors pay a fee per project or by annual subscription. The new online eCommerce site enables a more streamlined process for contractors to access their accounts. AMASDA Online had 98,712 pageviews in 2019–20. There were 125 paid-per-project and 7 annual subscriptions.
  • ARAS continues to increase the use of social media to provide information about Arkansas archeology, our projects and discoveries, and local volunteer opportunities. Our Educational Outreach Coordinator manages the social media administrative functions for the main accounts. Each research station also has its own Facebook page. This year, during Covid-19, we used social media to provide informative short videos as virtual “lab sessions” and talks.
Boards and Commissions. ARAS staff served on a number of Boards and Commissions in Arkansas and beyond:
  • Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM): Executive Committee, VP of Governance, and VP of Advocacy for Preserve Arkansas; board member, Drew County Historical Society and Museum Commission.
  • Kathleen Cande (ARAS-SRP): Board of Directors, Recording Secretary, Washington County Historical Society; Board of Trustees, Arkansas Historical Association.
  • Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU): Board of Trustees and chair of the Foster Award committee, Arkansas Historical Association; Arkansas representative, Caddo Conference Organization.
  • Ann Early (State Archeologist): Vice Chairman of the State Review Board for Historic Preservation; board member and historian of the Arkansas Genealogical Society; board member of the Arkansas Women’s History Institute; board member of the National Association of State Archaeologists.
  • Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP): Northwest Arkansas Open Space Plan Steering Committee.
  • Jeffrey Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin): Advisory Board, Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, St. Petersburg, Florida; Director-at-Large, Florida Public Archaeology Network.
  • Deborah Sabo (as Newsletter Editor), Marilyn Knapp (ex officio), and Melissa Zabecki (ex officio) (all ARAS-CO): Executive Committee of the Arkansas Archeological Society.
  • Deborah Weddle (ARAS-CSP): Board of Directors, Fan Association of North America.
  • Melissa Zabecki (ARAS-CO): board member, REACH committee, and Programs committee of the Arkansas Humanities Council; State Coordinator for Arkansas, Project Dig.

Professional Service 2019-2020

ARAS staff provided expert advice or other assistance to over 150 agencies, firms, museums, schools, parks, civic groups, and other bodies, in addition to service rendered to research station host institutions.
Several Survey archeologists serve as editors or members of editorial boards for professional organizations and journals.
Several Survey archeologists serve as editors or members of editorial boards for professional organizations and journals.
Jeffrey Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin) sits on the Board of Directors of The Archaeological Conservancy. Mitchem has served the organization for many years as a tour leader and lecturer, and (along with other ARAS archeologists) has partnered to assist the Conservancy’s mission of investigating sites that may be protected through acquisition and helping to negotiate this process. The Parkin site, now preserved within Parkin Archeological State Park, was acquired by the Conservancy and donated to the State of Arkansas for this purpose. Over 500 important archeological sites have so far been saved by the Conservancy.
Several ARAS archeologists serve as editors or members of editorial boards for professional organizations and journals.
  • Jodi Barnes serves as associate editor of the journal Historical Archaeology.
  • Andrew Beaupré is news editor for the Council of Northeast Historical Archaeology Newsletter.
  • Emily Beahm serves as a member of the editorial board of the journal Southeastern Archaeology and as newsletter editor for the Southeastern Archaeological Conference.
  • Kathleen Cande serves as Gulf States current research editor for the Society for Historical Archaeology Newsletter.
  • Jeffrey Mitchem is on the editorial board for the journal The Florida Anthropologist.
  • Mary Beth Trubitt serves as editor of the journal Southeastern Archaeology and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Texas Archeology and History.
  • Mary Beth Trubitt and George Sabo serve on the editorial board of the Caddo Archeology Journal.
Multiple ARAS staff members served as officers, members of various committees, or in other service capacities for these professional organizations.
  • Society for American Archaeology
  • Society for Historical Archaeology
  • Caddo Conference Organization
  • Southeastern Archaeological Conference
  • The Archaeological Conservancy
  • Florida Anthropological Society
  • Arkansas Historical Association
  • Society of Bead Researchers
  • Florida Archaeological Council
  • Friends of the Arkansas State Archives
  • National Association of State Archaeologists
  • National Association for Interpretation
  • Washington County Historical Society
We post “Guidelines for Fieldwork and Report Writing in Arkansas,” an appendix to the Arkansas State Plan, on our website for access by agency and private firm archeologists.

Grants & Cost-Share Agreements 2019–2020

Extensions of existing ARAS projects with outside funding agreements totaled $58,574. These include support from Arkansas State Parks, Department of Arkansas Heritage, and National Science Foundation.
Funding for new ARAS Projects during FY2020 totaled $145,668. These include support from Arkansas Humanities Council, Arkansas Archeological Society, Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Commission, National Science Foundation, Institute for Heritage Education, and the UA Anthropology Department.
Jessica Kowalski (ARAS-UAF) and Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) received a $1455 grant from the ARAS Hester A. Davis Fund for “Documenting Archeological Sites Using Photogrammetry.”
Jared Pebworth (ARAS-UAF) received $1500 from University of Arkansas Anthropology Department for “Teaching Lithics,” a project to create Paleolithic tool set replicas for instructional use.
Carol Colaninno (SIUE), Shawn Lambert (Mississippi State), Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU), and Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) as co-Principal Investigators received $300,000 from the National Science Foundation for “Evidence-based Transformation of Undergraduate Field Schools to Promote Safety and Inclusivity among Southeastern Archaeology,” a multi-year project.
Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) was awarded a $1472 grant from the ARAS Hester A. Davis Fund for “New 3D Scanning of Hodges Collection Effigies.”
Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) received a $1000 grant from the AAS Bill Jordan Public Education Fund and a $2000 grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council for “Interpreting the Hodges Collection and Caddo History for the Public.”
Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) received a $2750 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund for radiocarbon dates from the Holman Springs and Lockesburg Mound sites.
George Sabo III (ARAS Director) is a co-Principal Investigator (with Claire Terhune, Wenchao Zhou, Paul M. Gignac, and Haley D. O’Brien) on a $687,161 multiyear grant from National Science Foundation, “MRI: Acquisition of micro-computed tomography system for advanced imaging and inter-disciplinary multi-user access for the University of Arkansas and the US Interior Highlands.”
George Sabo III (ARAS Director) is a co-Principal Investigator (with Kathryn Sloan, Michael Pierce, Kim Sexton, Robert Cochran, David Fredrick, Sean Teuton, Eric Funkhouser, and Joshua Youngblood) on an $88,735 University of Arkansas Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation, and Collaboration Fund Grant for “Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging.”
Mel Zabecki (ARAS-CO) received a $1000 grant from the Institute for Heritage Education for the purchase of books from Project Archeology to furnish to teachers at the summer workshops.
Mel Zabecki (ARAS-CO) received a $1242.39 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Bill Jordan Public Education Fund for purchasing supplies to make archeological lesson props for the 10 ARAS research stations.

Honors & Awards 2019-2020

Ann Early (State Archeologist) was awarded the Arkansas Archeological Society’s McGimsey Preservation Award in recognition of her 40-year career devoted to archeology in Arkansas.
McGimsey Preservation Award
for 2020 – Ann M. Early
Dr. Ann M. Early joined the Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) in 1972 as research station archeologist at Henderson State University (Arkadelphia). Throughout her long career with ARAS, Ann conducted extensive research on Caddo Indian culture history in and south of the Ouachita Mountains region of southwest Arkansas, authoring several important books, book chapters, and journal articles.
Ann Early (State Archeologist) was awarded the Arkansas Archeological Society’s McGimsey Preservation Award in recognition of her 40-year career devoted to archeology in Arkansas.
Ann Early (State Archeologist) was awarded the Arkansas Archeological Society’s McGimsey Preservation Award in recognition of her 40-year career devoted to archeology in Arkansas.
An initial foray into studying the archeology of the region involved examination of archival, artifact collection, and literature sources to develop a series of chronologically ordered Caddo settlement models for the Ouachita River basin. Her first major excavation project, designed in part to refine those models, took place at the Standridge site, where she supervised excavations conducted in 1975 and 1976 as part of the Arkansas Archeological Society Training Program and University of Arkansas field schools.
She took part in developing one of the first “State Plans” for archeological site conservation and research, as part of the NPS Resource Protection Planning Process and also worked to develop the first volume of a series of cultural resource overviews for the Southwest District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, devoted to the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain regions of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Both studies continue to serve as important general references for those areas.
Throughout much of her tenure as the Survey’s HSU research station archeologist, Dr. Early served as Certification Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Archeological Society Training Program and she taught numerous seminars including the Beginner’s Orientation for the past several years. She consequently directed more of the annual two-week Training Programs than many of her colleagues, and also succeeded in producing publications for most of those projects.
In addition to her extensive list of projects centering on Caddo settlement and subsistence organization in the Ouachita Mountains, Dr. Early directed a significant part of her research to the study of Caddo ceramics. While at HSU, she oversaw the curation and management of the HSU Museum as well as the Joint Educational Consortium Hodges Collection. As part of her long-time examination of these and other Caddo decorated ceramics she reconstructed a series of “grammars” or rule-based procedures that track the application of decorative variations aligning with discrete communities. She also contributed to the development of the so­-called “collegiate” system for classifying Caddo ceramic decorative treatments.
Dr. Early directed archeological investigations and reconstruction efforts at HSU’s J. E. M. Barkman House site in preparation for its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. She also served a term on the faculty senate and contributed to numerous other HSU committees.
One of her most noteworthy achievements as State Archeologist was managing a series of projects funded by grants awarded by the National NAGPRA office to complete the repatriation process for all subject materials in ARAS collections. She has consulted with numerous state and federal agencies, held many elected offices for a variety of organizations, and received numerous awards for her preservation and education efforts. But these awards hardly begin to measure up to the overall impact Dr. Early has contributed to the study of archeology in Arkansas and the Southeast.

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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