Madelyn Rose and Michelle Rathgaber log artifact collections into a new tablet-based artifact cataloging system developed by the Arkansas Archeological Survey.
Madelyn Rose and Michelle Rathgaber log artifact collections into a new tablet-based artifact cataloging system developed by the Arkansas Archeological Survey.

Over 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 2018–2019.
Staff News
John H. House retired from the Survey at the end of December 2018. He had been with the organization since 1978. His involvement with archeology in Arkansas stretches to his teenaged years in Mountain Home when he was a young participant in the founding of the Arkansas Archeological Society. House was educated at the University of Arkansas, where he earned a B.A. with a major in Anthropology, taking many courses from Michael P. Hoffman. He then worked in Georgia, Louisiana, and at South Carolina’s Institute of Archeology and Anthropology before returning to Arkansas and to the Survey as an assistant at the UAPB research station. His career was well established when he entered graduate school, receiving his Ph.D. in 1991 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His graduate studies were supported in part by a National Science Foundation fellowship. House served successively as research station archeologist for the Survey in Monticello and finally in Pine Bluff, where he remained until retirement.

ARAS 2018-2019 Annual Report Annual Report for 2019

Annual Reports Archive

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

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Dr. John House was presented with the McGimsey Preservation Award in 2018 for his lifetime of service to Arkansas archeology.
Dr. John House was presented with the McGimsey Preservation Award in 2018 for his lifetime of service to Arkansas archeology.
House’s research has focused on the emergence of historic era ethnic groups, particularly the Quapaws. He cites his work in partnership and collaboration with the Quapaw as the most gratifying part of his career. Included are discoveries that identified the 1600s Quapaw village of Osotouy and the French Arkansas Post of the early 1700s. He also remarks on the importance of avocational archeologists and members of the general public as contributors to archeological discovery and research — a founding principle of both the Arkansas Archeological Survey and Society over more than 50 years. John House was granted emeritus status by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. The Arkansas Archeological Society presented him with the McGimsey Preservation Award in 2018 for his lifetime of service to Arkansas archeology.
Lela Donat also retired in December 2018. Hired as Assistant Registrar in 1992 after completion of her M.A. degree in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas, Lela was promoted to Registrar for the Survey in 1994 and held the position thereafter. She played a lead role in the development of the AMASDA database system for managing statewide information on archeological sites, projects, reports, and associated information. Throughout her career she provided invaluable assistance to students, scholars, federal and state agency officials, Native American officials, and Survey staff members requiring access to database information. Lela supervised a carefully trained staff, who ably cared for the Survey’s extensive records and collections. She provided valuable oversight for collection curation activities at the Survey’s coordinating office and at our statewide network of research stations. In the final years of her career, Lela oversaw the development of a major initiative to digitize records and maps accumulated during the past half-century of all the Survey’s facilities. Lela is missed not only for her professional skills, but for her kindness and extensive institutional knowledge.
Marilyn Whitlow retired in December 2018 from her position as Research Station Assistant at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park, where she began working as a secretary on October 1, 1985. During her long tenure at the station, she provided valuable assistance to all four Station Archeologists: Drs. Martha Rolingson, Julie Markin, Jane Anne Blakney-Bailey, and Elizabeth T. Horton. Beyond basic office management, Marilyn regularly helped with field activities and supervising Arkansas Archeological Society volunteers, assisted with special events and programs at the State Park, and contributed extensive effort to inventorying, cataloging, and curating the station’s artifact, photo, and record collections. She also completed the first digital inventory of the Toltec artifact collections using the DELOS nomenclature, developed during the 1980s by the Survey’s Computer Services Program, and then used the resulting database to create analysis tables appearing in Dr. Rolingson’s monographs.
Teka McGlothlin succeeded Lela Donat as Survey Registrar. Teka worked in the registrar’s office as a Research Assistant from 2008–2014, while completing her M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. Promoted to Assistant Registrar in 2014, Teka assumed primary responsibility for managing the Geographical Information System elements of AMASDA and later helped develop the Survey’s 3D scanning and printing lab. Teka brings extensive archeological field and lab experience to her new position, with a special focus on the study of historic sites in northwest Arkansas.
Assistant Registrar Sarah Shepard
Assistant Registrar Sarah Shepard
Sarah Shepard was promoted to Assistant Registrar at the beginning of 2019. Following receipt of her B.A. in History from the University of Central Arkansas in 2010 and another B.A. in Archeology at the University of Oklahoma in 2011, Sarah entered the graduate program at the University of Arkansas, earning a M.A. degree in 2016. She has worked as Research Assistant at the Survey since 2014, assisting the registrar’s office with maintenance of AMASDA databases and inventorying and cataloging artifact and record collections. Sarah is also managing the Survey’s recent NPS-funded effort to update our Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation compliance.
Rachel Tebbetts was hired following a nationwide search to begin work as our graphic artist and photographer in July 2018. Rachel has been making art her whole life. As a child, she loved drawing, coloring, and taking pictures. Rachel fostered that interest by pursuing a degree in art with an emphasis in painting from the University of Arkansas. After completing a BFA with honors, she began to create pottery while living and working at Terra Studios in Durham, Arkansas. In 2011, she and her spouse started a business in Fayetteville called Ease Arts Supplies. Together, they created a unique line of wholesale pottery, gave art lessons, and more. In the summer of 2016, Rachel and family moved to Trinidad, Colorado, where Rachel began work in Graphic Design. She and her family are happy to return to Fayetteville where Rachel is now using her art skills as the Commercial Graphic Artist for the Arkansas Archeological Survey.
Andrew R. Beaupré was hired as the new Research Station Archeologist for ARAS-UAPB, and Research Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Arkansas–Fayetteville. Following a search during FY2019, Beaupré took up his post in August 2019. He has been interested in archeology since his first visit to an excavation in the fourth grade. He earned his Ph.D. at the College of William and Mary in 2017. His current research interests include historical archeology, culture contact and colonialism, landscape archeology, heritage studies, and public archeology. He has excavated throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States, in Canada, and as far away as Australia. Prior to joining ARAS, Beaupré was the inaugural Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Fellow in the McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolutionary Era at Siena College in Loudonville, NY. He has also taught courses at the University of Vermont, several community colleges, and has worked as a cultural resource management archeologist.

Scientific Achievements & Archeological Mission 2018–2019

Publications and Presentations. Survey staff authored or coauthored 47 print or digital publications and reports, and presented 46 papers or posters at meetings and conferences in 2018–2019.
Registrar Teka McGlothlin entering project data into AMASDA.
Registrar Teka McGlothlin entering project data into AMASDA.
Site Records. 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. The system is now available online (password protected) for qualified researchers. Contractors may subscribe per project or for an annual fee. During FY2019:
  • 444 new archeological sites were recorded, bringing the total number of sites in Arkansas site files to 49,750.
  • 162 new archeological projects were entered into the database, bringing the projects total to 7,368.
  • The Survey registrar facilitated 2,500 requests for information from the Arkansas site files by students, researchers, and project managers. This included graduate students, academic research projects, local, state, and federal entities, American Indian Tribes, and 47 private firms conducting projects in Arkansas.
Grants & Cost-Share. ARAS conducted projects supported with new funds generated by grants and cost-share agreements totaling $97,314.
Volunteer participation in our projects, totaling 12,337 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) 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 from the field to our servers. Other members of the group were Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS), the late Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), John Samuelsen (ARAS-CSP), and Teka McGlothlin (ARAS-Registrar).
  • This year the interactive fieldwork database was employed during the Training Program excavations at Lockesburg Mounds in Sevier County. This provided further testing of the system and the ease with which new users could master it.
  • An additional larger focus during 2018–2019 was expansion of the concept for processing artifact collections in the laboratory. John Samuelsen worked with others to create and implement the artifact database. With funding from ANCRC, lab technicians led by Michelle Rathgaber and Madelyn Rose refined the application by processing several large artifact collections, both prehistoric and historic, to determine how existing artifact classifications functioned within the database. The system proved to be efficient and useful.
The Mazique Site (22Ad502): A Balmoral Phase Coles Creek Mound and Plaza Center in the Natchez Bluffs Region of Mississippi by Daniel A. LaDuOur publications program continues to develop with a new Research Series volume (no. 69) published in 2018 and three Popular Series volumes in production.
  • 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. This has greatly streamlined our process to better serve students and the public.
Records Management. In conjunction with our 50th year in 2017, 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 that storage meets modern curatorial standards. The ARAS registrar’s office is pursuing the digitization effort.
  • In 2018–2019 station records from ARAS-WRI were completed. Station records at ARAS-HSU and slides from the coordinating office were also finished, and the office began scanning records from ARAS-UAPB.
Archeological Projects Around Arkansas 2018–2019
The Survey has been developing an organizational focus on the study of early agriculture in Arkansas and the Southeast, and public education about this topic.
  • Our Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: Plant-based Foodways in the Southeastern United States 5th grade social sciences curriculum is available free of charge online: https://archeology.uark.edu/gga/.
  • Experimental and teaching gardens at three of our research stations contribute to study and public outreach on this topic in a variety of ways.
  • 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 a permanent feature at the park and projects at the garden contribute to collaborative research across the Southeast.
  • The Mississippian Garden at Parkin Archeological State Park 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 ARAS-WRI station has both Mississippian and Woodland Native American Teaching Gardens, and offers visitors a chance to engage in gardening activities, including experimenting with a replicated set of implements.
  • Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) and Mel Zabecki (Educational Outreach Coordinator) continue to work with homeschoolers and Gifted & Talented students from public schools at the WRI research station, using the GGA curriculum and other lesson plans they have developed, including extensive hands-on activity in the gardens.
Toltec Type X seeds
Toltec Type X seeds
Paleoethnobotanical research performed by Elizabeth Horton has added a new dimension to the Survey’s abilities. Work carried out during 2018–2019 in the Paleoethnobotany Lab at the ARAS-TMRS included analysis and processing of samples from bluff shelter sites in the Buffalo National River for a contractor (Panamerican Inc.); analysis and sample selection from the Holman Springs site 3SV29 for ARAS-SAU and the 2019 Training Program; botanical analysis from excavations at 3FR46 on the Mulberry River project for ARAS-UAF; and ongoing work on unanalyzed samples from 2010 Training Program excavations at the Toltec Mounds site 3LN42.
  • Horton assisted MicroCT scanning of the Edens Bluff seed bag (UA Museum 32-3-139) and continued comparative work (seed measurements) with Rudbeckia to narrow identification of the “unknown Asteraceae” seed accompanying the domesticated C. berlandierie seeds that are inside the bag.
  • Experimental paleoethnobotany research included pawpaw processing exploring lakeside retting and the role of tools like plummets and chert knives. (“Retting” is softening plant fibers by soaking them in water.)
  • “Naked Grains in ENA: Little Barley and Type X”: Horton, working with intern Jenna Bracas, carried out three small-scale experiments in processing and charring little barley, three species of native wild rye, and native broom grass to understand the phenomena of “naked grains” in the archeological record of North America. The “Type X” is a (so far) unidentified domesticated grass present archeologically at Toltec Mounds.
Clay pipe from the Pea Ridge project
Clay pipe from the Pea Ridge project
With an emphasis on Civil War era sites, and homefront sites of the World Wars, 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, Prairie D’Ane). The Survey has also carried out a multi-year project at Pea Ridge (see below) and a number of fieldwork projects at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. Research by Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) at Camp Monticello and projects associated with Japanese-American internment bring attention to archeology and anthropology of the World War II home front.
  • The Survey partnered with the National Park Service to conduct archeological inventory at Pea Ridge National Military Park. The four-year project was named as part of the federal Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) program. Fieldwork was completed in 2019 with the final report to be submitted in January 2020. Geophysical surveys, Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial analysis, artifact collection, and excavations took place variously at Ruddick’s Field Civil War Battlefield, at Leetown (a Civil War era hamlet), and at Foster’s and Clemens farmsteads (domestic sites that figured in the battlefield landscape). Two University of Arkansas field schools, a NPS-sponsored workshop, and the 2018 jointly sponsored Survey and Society Training Program were held in conjunction with the project. Staff from across the Survey have been involved in the Pea Ridge project, especially the ARAS-UAF and ARAS-SAU research stations and ARAS-CSP, with Carl Drexler, Jami Lockhart, and the late Jamie Brandon as principal investigators.
  • Camp Monticello is a World War II Italian prisoner of war camp in southeast Arkansas. The results from 2013 research by Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) were published this year in a thematic issue of the journal Historical Archaeology, “Intimate Archaeologies of World War II,” edited by Barnes. In addition, Barnes partnered with Dr. Stacey Camp (Michigan State University) to include Camp Monticello in an online comparative database of World War II internment. Funding was being sought from the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Juliet Morrow and her colleagues (ARAS-ASU) continued with research on Paleoindians in Arkansas. Morrow has been building an Arkansas Paleoindian Database (APD) to map all known locations of identified diagnostic artifacts (fluted points and the terminal Paleoindian Dalton points). Over the last year, Morrow and team expanded the regional contexts of the project to include the entire Ozark Mountains region across 93 counties in four states: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. This gives a more accurate picture of the area’s use by Clovis era peoples. At a continental scale, the Ozarks was a major supply zone for raw material for stone tools. Data suggest the midcontinent was the “reservoir” for Paleoindian variation.
Jeff Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin) has been working on processing material from past excavations at the Richards Bridge site (3CT11/22). So far, the results call its identification as a Parkin phase village into some question. On the other hand, it does not resemble “typical” Nodena phase sites either. Probably the site was settled before well-defined chiefdoms developed in the region and before continuous warfare necessitated strategically located fortified villages. The location of the village in a presumed frontier zone highlights its importance in learning about the timing of shifting political boundaries in northeast Arkansas during late prehistory.
Artifacts from the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection were transferred to Open Storage in 2019
Artifacts from the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection were transferred to Open Storage in 2019
Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) continued her research on Caddo lifeways in the Saline and Ouachita river valleys. With accumulated evidence from past excavations at several sites, a picture of how these ancestral Caddo communities used the land and resources is being built. The upland aspect of Ouachita area land use is explored through the station’s novaculite tool production and exchange research project, presented on our dedicated “Arkansas Novaculite” website. Conference presentations, journal articles, and two forthcoming books bring the results to colleagues and to the public. Ouachita Mountains Archeology was in press for the ARAS Popular Series in 2019 and is now available for purchase. A coauthored volume on the “Archeology of Quarry Landscapes” for Oxbow Books is in preparation. Trubitt is preparing another book manuscript comparing results of past excavations at Hughes (3SA11) and Hedges (3HS60), two contemporaneous Caddo mound sites in the Saline and Ouachita river valleys.
  • This year a major accomplishment was transfer of artifacts from the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges Collection, curated by ARAS-HSU research station, from closed to open storage in the newly rehabilitated Caddo Center on the HSU campus. Staff, students, and volunteers updated inventories and installed the artifacts.
Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) is developing high-resolution 3D maps and imagery for archeological sites using aerial photos and LiDAR derived imagery. Lockhart is able to interpret these cutting-edge data sets—even in densely forested areas—to complement hand-drawn site sketches currently included within the Survey’s AMASDA database. The new data provide unequalled analytical information for discovering, measuring, and mapping prehistoric mounds, earthworks, and bluff shelters, as well as historic roads, Civil War related features, former land use, and more. To date, Lockhart has processed and analyzed bare-earth LiDAR data for more than 250 archeological sites and study areas statewide.
Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) has continued to work at Hollywood Plantation, developing a focus on the archeology of health and foodways, especially representing the lives of women, both the wife of the plantation family and the enslaved women who worked in its kitchen and cared for their owners’ children. This year she expanded her research to begin a comparative analysis of the findings from Hollywood with information from the Brownlee House (3PU30) in Pulaski County and Lakeport Plantation (3CH90) in Chicot County. Grants allowed preliminary analysis of faunal remains from these two sites to better understand foodways across the state, and how ethnicity and religious practices of the families, their ownership of enslaved laborers, and urban versus rural location influenced diet.
Excavations at the Drennen-Scott Historic Site, Fort Smith.
Excavations at the Drennen-Scott Historic Site, Fort Smith.
Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS) continued to assist with the Willhaf House and Drennen-Scott Historic Site, two 19th century properties located near the downtown area of Van Buren, Arkansas, that are owned by the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith. Drennen-Scott has served as an archeological “laboratory” for Mulvihill’s Introduction to Archeology students at UAFS, who participate in excavations to acquire hands-on experience. The Willhaf house is currently being stabilized and rehabilitated, with Mulvihill consulting on archeological matters. During 2019, Mulvihill monitored while a 1990s addition that had been built onto the back of the historic structure was removed; no intact below-ground features were encountered.
Beginning in 2014 the Survey, in partnership with the National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC) in Lincoln, Nebraska, began a multiyear comprehensive archeological inventory of the Osotouy Unit at Arkansas Post National Memorial. John House (ARAS-UAPB) and Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) were co-principal investigators. Geophysical surveys of the Menard-Hodges site (3AR4) indicated numerous cultural features beneath the surface and excavation on selected locations ensued. Midwest Archeological Center conducted follow-up topographic mapping and mound coring. The partnership project officially ended in summer 2019. However, ARAS-UAPB personnel will continue to work with MWAC, interpreting the results and integrating the findings from past excavations.

Contributions to Higher Education in Arkansas 2018–2019

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.
Survey archeologists held research faculty titles in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas in 2018–19: Jodi Barnes, Emily Beahm, Andrew Beaupré, the late Jamie Brandon, Carl Drexler, Ann Early, Elizabeth Horton, John House (Emeritus), Jami Lockhart, Jeffrey Mitchem, Juliet Morrow, and Mary Beth Trubitt.
Survey archeologists Dr. George Sabo III and Dr. Jami Lockhart at Michelle Rathgaber's dissertation defense
Survey archeologists Dr. George Sabo III and Dr. Jami Lockhart at Michelle Rathgaber's dissertation defense
Survey archeologists taught 19 courses for 268 students enrolled at 9 university campuses in Arkansas and one out-of-state school (Southern Missouri State University): UAF, UAFS, UAPB, UAM, UALR, ASU, HSU, SAU, and Hendrix College. This included four online courses for University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University Midsouth.
Courses taught by Survey 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.
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.
Survey archeologists supervised three students in Intern positions: Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS) worked with Hendrix University student Jenna Bracas, Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) worked with ATU student Morgan Vaughan, and Ann Early (State Archeologist) supervised UALR student Katheryn Bryles.
Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS) participated with Dr. Krista Lewis (UALR) in the Land of Frankincense Archaeological Project at Al Baleed, a UNESCO Heritage site in Oman. Horton assisted with excavation strategy and directing fieldwork, including training for two field school students (from UALR and Southern Missouri State University).
Survey archeologists served on 25 thesis or dissertation committee positions (member or chair) for UAF graduate students in Anthropology and Environmental Dynamics, and 1 committee for a UALR graduate student, and advised 2 undergraduate Honors students studying anthropology at UAF.
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 several campuses through grant funding, assistantships, and direct employment.
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, and
  • assistance with historic properties and artifact collections owned or managed by the universities: 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 collections and Arkansas Tech Museum (ATU).

Graduate Student Research

Graduate student and NSF grant recipient John Samuelsen analyzing data in the isotope lab on the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville campus.
Graduate student and NSF grant recipient John Samuelsen analyzing data in the isotope lab on the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville campus.
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 is a Ph.D. student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville, where she is supported by a Survey graduate assistantship. 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 is 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. Jessica Cogburn’s dissertation advisor is Dr. John House.
  • Michelle Rathgaber completed her Ph.D. in the Environmental Dynamics program at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and graduated at the end of FY2019. Her dissertation research focused on the New Madrid seismic zone in NE Arkansas/SE Missouri and how earthquakes may have affected life in the Middle-Late Mississippian cultural period (around AD 1200s–1500s). She used archeological excavations at two sites (Manley-Usrey and Eaker) as well as larger scale views of the landscape and environment to study this problem. She was supported by a Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship as well as a graduate assistantship through the Arkansas Archeological Survey. Michelle Rathgaber’s dissertation advisor was Dr. George Sabo III. She was hired by the Survey as Station Assistant at the Parkin research station.
  • John Samuelsen is a Ph.D. student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. 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 the meaning of the cemetery. With permission of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, he applied for and received a $14,750 Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant in 2018. His project will aid the Caddo Nation in determining the cultural affiliation of the human remains at the site. John Samuelsen’s dissertation advisor is Dr. George Sabo III.
  • Lydia Rees is a graduate student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. She is completing her M.A. degree with an emphasis on prehistoric ceramics in the Arkansas Ozarks. Ms. Rees 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. Lydia Rees’s advisor is Dr. Wesley Stoner (UAF Department of Anthropology).

Contributions to Public Schools and K-12 Education 2018–2019

Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki worked with Fayetteville Gifted & Talented teachers on a semester-long archeology project.
Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki worked with Fayetteville Gifted & Talented teachers on a semester-long archeology project.
Gathering, Gardening & Agriculture – 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), Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), and Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS) developed a 5th grade social sciences curriculum that is now available free on the ARAS website at https://archeology.uark.edu/gga/. 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. This lesson and instruction package is aligned with the 5th grade Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Social Studies Curriculum Framework. It presents the history of early Arkansas by comparing foodways and plant-based cultural traditions 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. 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 to help educators implement the curriculum. A hardcopy workbook is available to Arkansas educators on request.
  • Emily Beahm gave presentations to Booneville Elementary social studies 5th graders using the GGA curriculum.
  • Homeschool students visited the station for a monthly series “Plant Use Through Time” that uses the GGA curriculum, supplemented with hands-on activities in the Teaching Gardens.
Other unique and creative educational activities:
  • 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 that uses archeological concepts and active learning to teach about culture, using evidence-based critical thinking and the scientific method. Sixty-three students from Dardanelle, Dover, Perryville, Pottsville, and Hector participated, along with their teachers and some parents.
  • Teacher Workshops. George Sabo (ARAS Director) taught 24 participating teachers about Caddo Indian culture at a teacher workshop in Nacogdoches, Texas. ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki made arrangements with Educational Cooperatives for five teacher workshops that were offered around the state, including at the Training Program. Emily Beahm presented a “Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture” teacher’s workshop at the ARAS-WRI station.
  • Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) offered a monthly After School Anthropology program at the McGehee Community Center.
    Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) offered a monthly After School Anthropology program at the McGehee Community Center.
    After School Anthropology. Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) offered this monthly after-school program at the McGehee Community Center. The program offers lessons on culture and history of Africa and its peoples, and the African diaspora, using videos, readings, and hands-on activities to change misconceptions about Africa, show the diversity of its people and their achievements.
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. Our new Educational Outreach Coordinator, Mel Zabecki, is working to reorganize these in a presentation that will be more useful for Arkansas educators.
School Visits, Programs & Tours. Survey archeologists gave talks and demonstrations on archeology, American Indians, and early Arkansas history, including Career Day presentations, Project Dig, projects with homeschoolers, summer reading programs, and tours at our main office, to approximately 2750 K–12 students and their teachers at schools, parks, libraries, and other venues across the state.
GT Archeology Semester. Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki (ARAS-CO) worked with three Fayetteville 5th and 6th grade Gifted & Talented teachers on a semester-long archeology project that included classroom visits, lesson planning, field trips, and a final conference in Little Rock.
4H Programs. ARAS staff at the coordinating office participated in a 4H visit & tour, with 13 students and 6 adults in the group. Hope Bragg, County Extension Agent and 4H coordinator at UAM, also brought a group of 24 students and 10 adults to the summer Training Program in De Queen, where youth were able to learn application of STEM concepts and skills through participation in a real archeological dig.

Public Service and Outreach 2018–2019

Participant Miranda Diaz at the Annual Training Program & Field School
Participant Miranda Diaz at the Annual Training Program & Field School
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. 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.
  • ARAS Reaches Near Up-to-Date Compliance on Notices of Inventory Completion. As of 2018–2019 the ARAS has substantially completed the steps necessary to be in compliance with our NAGPRA obligations for collections that we currently curate. This process has taken a number of years, and has been overseen by the ARAS registrar’s office, with Sarah Shepard in charge of preparing the Notices of Inventory Completion (records that are required to be published in the Federal Register).
  • This year Notices of Inventory Completion and Correction Notices were forthcoming for the JEC Hodges collection from the ARAS-HSU station.
  • We also assisted these outside agencies with NAGPRA compliance and information: Arkansas Department of Transportation, Arkansas State Parks, University of Arkansas Department of Anthropology, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, University of Arkansas Museum, Missouri Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, University of West Florida, and West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center.
State and Federal 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:
  • 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; U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Training Program & Field School. Sixty members of the Arkansas Archeological Society attended our jointly sponsored annual Training Program for amateur archeologists in June. The 2019 “Society Dig” took place in Sevier County in the De Queen area. Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) directed the project. Eighteen ARAS staff members contributed to the program as instructors and field and lab supervisors. The UA-Cossatot campus provided assistance and facilities for teaching space, lab, and headquarters. Attending the program this year was a Teacher Workshop with 12 teachers who earned professional development credits, and a group of 24 4H youth and 10 adults (parents and supervisors) who came from Mountain Home, Little Rock, Monticello, the De Queen area, and Kansas. College students can also arrange to earn credit with their institutions. All participants learn about archeology while contributing to research as citizen scientists.
Public Programs & Presentations. Survey staff gave 99 public lectures, workshops, tours, information booths, and other presentations reaching audiences of over 5300 Arkansans and people in neighboring states during FY2019. An additional 38 public talks to chapters of the Arkansas Archeological Society reached combined audiences of 833.
Survey archeologists provide assistance on documenting and protecting historic cemeteries, especially African-American cemeteries.
Survey archeologists provide assistance on documenting and protecting historic cemeteries, especially African-American cemeteries.
Historic Cemeteries. Kathleen Cande coordinates Survey assistance and advice to groups and individuals working on projects to document and protect historic cemeteries, especially African-American cemeteries. In Monticello, Jodi Barnes hosted a cemetery clean-up at Hollywood Plantation for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Survey staff have so far contributed 58 articles and reviewed many others for the CALS online Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
Public Contacts. Survey staff members respond to thousands of requests for information from members of the public every year, by telephone, email, and in person.
Exhibits & Museums. Survey staff have created or assisted with a number of exhibits around the state:
  • ARAS-HSU staff, 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. Station staff also 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 and Elizabeth Horton provided materials for an exhibit at the Arkansas State Library in Little Rock.
  • ARAS-UAPB inventoried artifacts exhibited at the Esther D. Nixon Public Library in Jacksonville, which were donated to the research station by Mike Wilson of Jacksonville.
  • Mike Evans and Jared Pebworth (ARAS-UAF), with Jerry Hilliard (retired station assistant) assisted Shiloh Museum in Springdale with installation of a new exhibit on Ozark Bluff Shelters. Among other contributions, Mike and Jared produced a replicated collection of ancient stone tools and assisted in the creation of 3D printed replicas of artifacts for display as part of the exhibit.
  • 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 Delta Gateway Museum; 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; Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Historical Museum; The Gilcrease Museum; Shiloh Museum of Ozark History; Rogers Historical Museum; University of Arkansas Museum Collections; and Museum of the Mississippi Delta in Greenwood, Mississippi.
A stone figurine from Jefferson County, featured in our Artifact of the Month series
A stone figurine from Jefferson County, featured in our Artifact of the Month series
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 ARAS website increased by 9.65% in FY19, with 116,266 pageviews by 18,137 users.
  • A popular new feature on the website in 2018 and 2019 is our Artifact of the Month series. These brief illustrated stories tell visitors about Arkansas’s prehistoric and historic heritage, and how we learn about and from 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 85,623 pageviews in 2018–19.
  • 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. Our new Educational Outreach Coordinator manages the social media administrative functions for the main accounts. Each research station also has its own Facebook page.
Survey staff work with local landowners who are concerned about site looting and trespassing on their property. We respond to requests from concerned landowners to investigate and to recover information from sites that have been damaged by unauthorized digging.
Survey staff served on a number of Boards and Commissions in Arkansas and beyond:
  • Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM): Secretary, Chair of Governance Committee, and Behind the Big House Planning Committee, Preserve Arkansas; grant reviewer, Arkansas Community Foundation; board member, Drew County Historical Society and Museum Commission.
  • Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF): State Review Board for Historic Preservation; board member, Arkansas Humanities Council; Board of Directors, Preserve Arkansas; Board of Directors, City of Fayetteville Woolsey Farmstead Restoration Committee.
  • Kathleen Cande (ARAS-SRP): Board of Directors, Corresponding Secretary, Washington County Historical Society.
  • Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU): Board of Trustees, Arkansas Historical Association; board member, Friends of the Arkansas State Archives.
  • Ann Early (State Archeologist): Vice Chairman of the State Review Board for Historic Preservation; board member of the Arkansas Genealogical Society; board member of the Arkansas Women’s History Institute; Vice President 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, Marilyn Knapp (ex officio), and Melissa Zabecki (ex officio) (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, Arkansas Humanities Council.

Professional Service 2018–2019

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.
Jeff Mitchem leading the Archaeological Conservancy’s “Peoples of the Mississippi Valley” tour at the Parkin site.
Jeff Mitchem leading the Archaeological Conservancy’s “Peoples of the Mississippi Valley” tour at the Parkin site.
Survey staff provided expert advice or other assistance to over 140 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.
  • Jodi Barnes serves as Associate Editor of the journal Historical Archaeology. She also was on the editorial board for the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Anthropology (through summer 2018).
  • Emily Beahm serves as newsletter editor for the Southeastern Archaeological Conference.
  • Kathleen Cande serves as Gulf States current research editor for the Society for Historical Archaeology.
  • Jeffrey Mitchem is on the editorial board for the journal The Florida Anthropologist.
  • Mary Beth Trubitt serves as Editor of the journal Southeastern Archaeology. She is also on the editorial board for the Caddo Archaeology Journal and the Journal of Texas Archeology and History.
Multiple Survey staff members served as officers, members of various committees, or in other service capacities for these professional organizations. Details can be found throughout the 2018-2019 Annual Report.
  • 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
The Survey posts “Guidelines for Fieldwork and Report Writing in Arkansas”, an appendix to the Arkansas State Plan, on its website for access by agency and private firm archeologists.

Grants & Cost-Share Agreements 2018–2019

  • Make No Bones About It: Foodways and Faunal Remains at Arkansas Historic Sites: $1400 grant awarded to Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) by the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund, with additional funds from the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Hester Davis Public Outreach Fund, and Historic Arkansas Museum.
  • MicroCT scan of a replica seed bag. The interior images show Chenopodium seeds and woven rattlesnake master bag structure.
    MicroCT scan of a replica seed bag. The interior images show Chenopodium seeds and woven rattlesnake master bag structure.
    Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU) received a $595 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund for “Is Cooper Boneware the Earliest Pottery in the Trans-Mississippi South?” With it, she obtained an AMS date from Beta Analytic, Inc., on a Dragover site feature containing Cooper Boneware sherds, and summarized results for the Society’s newsletter, Field Notes.
  • Carl Drexler and Fiona Taylor (ARAS-SAU) received a $780 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund for radiocarbon dates from the Holman Springs site 3SV29.
  • “Preserving and Presenting Arkansas History” is a $24,314 grant awarded to the Survey by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council that allowed staff members at the coordinating office lab to upgrade the inventory catalog for four major ARAS artifact collections containing more than 135,000 artifacts, to test a new artifact database, and to refine data categories.
  • George Sabo (ARAS Director) received a $73,000 grant from The Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust for purchase of a Breuckmann 3D structured light scanning system for the Survey’s new Digital Imaging Lab.
  • Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) was awarded $2,000 from the Ozark National Forest as part of a renewal for a Master Participating Agreement; he developed a pilot project to illustrate the efficacy and efficiency of GIS modeling and LiDAR data development for the Big Piney Ranger District.
  • A $14,750 Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (ongoing, awarded 2018) from the National Science Foundation helps support John Samuelsen’s dissertation project, “An Isotopic Assessment of Late Prehistoric Interregional Warfare in the Southcentral U.S.” (Dissertation Chair/principal investigator, George Sabo III).
  • George Sabo III (ARAS Director) is a co-principal investigator (with Claire E. Terhune, Wenchao Zhou, Paul M. Gignac, and Haley D. O’Brien) on “MRI: Acquisition of a micro-computed tomography system for advanced imaging and inter-disciplinary multi-user access for the University of Arkansas and the US Interior Highlands” ($687,161 grant from the National Science Foundation for 2017–2020) https://micro.uark.edu; https://researchfrontiers.uark.edu/researchers-test-new-microct-imaging-system/.
  • George Sabo III (ARAS Director) is a co-principal investigator (with Kathryn Sloan, Michael Pierce, Kim Sexton, Robert Cochran, David Fredrick, Sean Teuton, and Eric Funkhouser) on “Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging” ($88,735 grant from the University of Arkansas Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation, and Collaboration Fund for 2018–2019).
  • Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS) is a collaborating researcher on “The Palette for Selection: Growing and Sequencing Lost Crops to Understand the Role of Plasticity in Plant Domestication,” a multi-year Smithsonian Institution Grant Program award to Logan Kistler (NMNH) and Natalie Meuller (Cornell University) in 2017.

Honors & Awards 2018-2019

  • John House (ARAS-UAPB) received the Arkansas Archeological Society’s McGimsey Preservation Award in 2018.
  • Marvin Jeter (Emeritus Archeologist) also received the McGimsey Preservation Award in 2018.
  • Upon retirement John House was awarded Emeritus status by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
  • Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) was promoted from Associate Archeologist to Archeologist, effective July 1, 2019.

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