Tablescape: working on Saltpeter Cave maps and projectile points from 1970s excavations, ARAS-UAF digital photo by Jamie Brandon.
Tablescape: working on Saltpeter Cave maps and projectile points from 1970s excavations, ARAS-UAF digital photo by Jamie Brandon.

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 2017–2018.

Scientific Achievements & Archeological Mission 2017–2018

Survey staff authored or coauthored 47 print or digital publications and reports and presented 55 papers or posters at meetings and conferences in 2017–2018.

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.

527 new archeological sites were recorded, bringing the total number of sites in Arkansas site files to 49,306.

135 new archeological projects were entered into the database, bringing the projects total to 7,206.

The Survey registrar facilitated 2100 requests for information from the Arkansas site files by students, researchers, and project managers. This included 19 graduate student and academic research projects. We assisted local, state, and federal entities, six American Indian Tribes, and 46 private firms conducting projects in Arkansas.

We conducted projects supported with new funds generated by grants and cost-share agreements totaling $107,040.

Volunteer participation in our projects, totaling 14,146 hours, continued to show a high level of interest in archeology.

Cover of the ARAS Annual Report for 2017-18 Annual Report for 2018

Annual Reports Archive

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



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. Team members worked to create an interactive fieldwork database using iPads for data entry. The system was tested by Carl Drexler in the field at Pea Ridge and will be expanded for lab data entry next year. Other members of the group were Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS), Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), John Samuelsen (ARAS-CSP), and Teka McGlothlin (ARAS-Registrar).

Our publications program is thriving with a new Research Series volume published in 2017, another scheduled for 2018, two Popular Series volumes in production, and two more accepted for publication.

A major development this year for ARAS-Publications was the long-awaited implementation of an online ordering system facilitated by the University of Arkansas. Patrons may now order books from a web-based storefront that is linked directly from the publications webpages on our website. Deborah Weddle (ARAS-CSP) and Rachel Whitman (Assistant Director for Financial Affairs) worked closely with Matt Rolniak and others in the University’s Financial Affairs Technology Group to make this happen. Deborah Sabo (ARAS-Publications) provided text and images for the eCommerce ordering webpage.

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 storage is according to modern curatorial standards. Kathleen Cande has been leading this effort from the coordinating office, while Elizabeth Horton oversaw a complete inventory and reorganization of three decades’ worth of records at the Toltec Mounds research station.

Cande reviewed and inventoried a large collection of maps stored at the ARAS-ASU research station, scanned all that had not previously been digitized, and created a storage system in acid-free portfolios.

Cande also undertook a reorganization of ARAS-SRP administrative records to improve tracking and accessibility and to update information that is required for the ARAS registrar’s office files.

Staff News

Jerry Hilliard at The Narrows rock art site with Environmental Dynamics Program Ph.D. student Kaelin Groom
Jerry Hilliard at The Narrows rock art site with Environmental Dynamics Program Ph.D. student Kaelin Groom

Jerry Hilliard retired at the end of 2017 after 38 years of service with ARAS. Hilliard had been with the Survey since 1979, and he made an incredible impact on the organization as both archeologist and mentor. Hilliard originally hails from North Carolina. After receiving his B.A. in anthropology from East Carolina University, he moved half-way across the country to get his M.A. from the University of Arkansas. Hilliard began working for the Arkansas Archeological Survey almost immediately—first as an assistant compliance officer (1979–1983), then as the Survey Registrar (1983–1994), and finally, with the UAF research station as Research Associate (1994–2017). He was also an asset to the Arkansas Archeological Society. He helped found the Ko-ko-ci Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society in the mid-1990s, often taught mapping and site survey seminars at the summer training program, and coordinated the Society’s certification program for more than a decade. Listing all the contributions that Hilliard made to the Survey (and to Arkansas archeology in general) would be impossible here, but some of his standout projects and publications include: his thesis on nut utilization in Ozark bluff shelters; excavations at Mount Comfort Church; reanalyzing bluff shelter collections from Craddock, Brown Bluff, and the Narrows; excavations at the Narrows; locating the Confederate encampment at Cross Hollows; excavations at Van Winkle’s Mill; analysis of collections from the Spradley Field site; and excavations at Prairie Grove Battlefield. He was a huge asset to other projects such as Dr. George Sabo’s NEH-funded Arkansas rock art and Carden Bottoms projects.

Jane Kellett (center) teaching a digital photography workshop to ARAS staff in 2014
Jane Kellett (center) teaching a digital photography workshop to ARAS staff in 2014

M. Jane Kellett retired at the end of 2017 after 40 years of service with ARAS. Jane’s role as graphic artist and photographer has been central to the work of archeology in the state, providing photographic documentation of artifacts and other visual aids to interpret sites and to illustrate research for publications, exhibits, educational products, and presentations. Jane also created many Archeology Month (or Archeology Week) posters, t-shirt designs, and other graphics used by the Arkansas Archeological Society over the years, photographed many Survey and Society events, and taught photography seminars at the training programs. Jane’s work to organize and maintain the Survey’s photo archive materially assists the publications program, documentation, all research, and innumerable requests from colleagues and the public. The Survey undertook a search for a new graphic artist during 2018, and hired Rachel Tebbetts (BFA, University of Arkansas), to begin work in July 2018.

Promotions & Degrees
LEFT: Jared Pebworth at Pea Ridge National Military Park. RIGHT: Michael Evans mapping during an initial site visit to a bluff shelter in Washington County.
LEFT: Jared Pebworth at Pea Ridge National Military Park. RIGHT: Michael Evans mapping during an initial site visit to a bluff shelter in Washington County.


Jared Pebworth and Michael Evans were promoted to Research Associate and became the “new” Station Assistants at the UAF research station in January 2018. Mike and Jared are no strangers as they have worked for the Arkansas Archeological Survey since 1991. For almost 30 years, as an integral part of the Survey’s sponsored research program, Pebworth and Evans have done archeology in virtually every corner of the state and in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Both are well versed in field and laboratory logistics, historic and prehistoric material culture, advanced mapping technologies, metal artifact conservation, and the reproduction of traditional technologies. Even before they came to work at the UAF research station, Evans and Pebworth have collaborated on many projects with the UAF station—recently this included fieldwork at Pea Ridge National Military Park, Breckenridge Shelter, and Cane Hill, as well as work with older collections from Saltpeter Cave.

Nancy Smith was promoted to Fiscal Support Specialist in November 2017. She began at ARAS in 2014 as an Administrative Assistant. In her new position, Ms. Smith works closely with Assistant Director for Fiscal Affairs, Rachel Whitman, performing a variety of fiscal related tasks with efficiency, and helping to keep the organization running smoothly.

Robert Scott (ARAS-UAPB station assistant) was awarded his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in June 2018.

New Hires

ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator Melissa ZabeckiMelissa Zabecki (Ph.D., University of Arkansas) joined the Survey as our new Educational Outreach Coordinator in January 2018. Mel received her B.A. in anthropology from Mount Holyoke College in Western Massachusetts after spending her Junior Year Abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She then interned for a year in Cairo before returning to the U.S. to study bioarcheology at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, receiving her M.A. in anthropology in 2001. For a few years, she worked as an archeologist and lab director at the University of Kentucky and then returned to the University of Arkansas to enter the doctoral program in anthropology. After earning her Ph.D. in 2009, she taught as an adjunct at both UAF and UAFS. In 2012, Mel moved to eastern Arkansas to become a park interpreter at Parkin Archeological State Park, where she gained ample experience in sharing archeology with the public. Over six years as park interpreter, she interacted with thousands of school kids, as well as many adult visitors, and produced archeological and historic programs for all ages and walks of life.

Archeological Projects Around Arkansas 2017–2018

The Study of Early Agriculture in Arkansas and the Southeast
Entrance to the Plum Bayou Garden at ARAS-TMRS, Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park

Our Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: Plant-based Foodways in the Southeastern United States 5th grade social sciences curriculum is available free of charge online.

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 in its second full year and is a permanent feature at the park.

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.

This year Mel Zabecki (Educational Outreach Coordinator) joined with Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI) to guide a group of Faulkner County homeschoolers as they worked through the GGA curriculum at the WRI research station, including extensive hands-on activity in the gardens.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-Toltec), who took her garden-based research to the journal Nature in a 2017 co-authored article “Growing the Lost Crops of Eastern North America’s Original Agricultural System,” joined a multidisciplinary, multi-year project funded by the Smithsonian’s Core Sciences program that will study the role of genetic plasticity on the domestication of three of these plants: sumpweed, erect knotweed, and goosefoot. Horton will be a collaborator in the study, which is awarded to Logan Kistler (National Museum of Natural History) and Natalie Mueller (Cornell University).

Tim Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS) continued follow-up work on the Mulberry River project that began with archeological explorations at two Woodland period sites in Franklin County in a partnership with the Forest Service and Arkansas Archeological Society volunteers. Additional excavations were carried out at 3FR46, where a unique prehistoric agricultural storage feature had been identified in the previous field season.

Pea Ridge Civil War Battlefield & Conflict Archeology

Pea Ridge National Military Park in northwest Arkansas

The Survey has partnered with National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, to conduct archeological inventory at Pea Ridge National Military Park. This is a four-year project. In 2016 geophysical survey, Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial analysis, and artifact collection took place at Ruddick’s Field Civil War Battlefield within the park. In 2017, geophysical survey, GIS, and excavations at Leetown, a Civil War era civilian hamlet, were carried out in conjunction with a University of Arkansas archeological field school, and Survey staff also participated as instructors in a NPS-sponsored workshop prior to the field school. In 2018 the work continued with another University of Arkansas archeological field school, coinciding with this year’s jointly sponsored Survey and Society Training Program at Leetown, and at domestic sites that figured in the battlefield landscape. Staff from across the Survey have been involved in the NPS-supported Pea Ridge project, with Jamie Brandon, Carl Drexler, and Jami Lockhart as principal investigators.

With an emphasis on Civil War era sites, and some homefront sites of the World War I and World War II years, conflict archeology is an 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). This year Drexler became involved in efforts to establish safe procedures for dealing with unexploded ordnance unearthed at archeological contexts or during development. Often these objects can be handled in a way to gain information from them, rather than treated as imminent hazards to be destroyed. Drexler also took on field investigations at Prairie D’Ane battlefield in Nevada County, and has been involved as a principal investigator in the Pea Ridge Battlefield Landscape project.

The Osotouy Unit at Arkansas Post

At the ARAS-UAPB research station, several projects relate to ongoing research at sites in the Osotouy Unit of Arkansas Post National Memorial. Flotation samples were sorted by UAPB student Jamaal Courtney as part of an Independent Study. John House gave a paper at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference on the recent work.

Womens’ Lives at a Historic Plantation

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.

Caddo Lifeways

Mary Beth Trubitt and Chelsea Cinotto (ARAS-HSU) advanced their 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. Conference presentations, journal articles, and a book manuscript bring the results to colleagues. Meanwhile, the upland aspect of Ouachita area land use is explored through the station’s novaculite tool production and exchange research project, presented to the public on our website. Trubitt has written a manuscript on “Ouachita Mountains Archeology” for the ARAS Popular Series, and co-authored a volume on the “Archeology of Quarry Landscapes” (in preparation) for Oxbow Books.

Keeping Track of Arkansas’s Oldest Artifacts

Juliet Morrow (ARAS-ASU), with research station assistants Brandy Dacus and Sarah Stuckey, continued to work on Morrow’s project to create a comprehensive database of Paleoindian fluted points from Arkansas. This included visits to collections, adding more specimens, and investigating questions of typology. A distribution map of known find locations in Arkansas has been generated based on site file data. Also relevant to Paleoindian research in the state was a revisit to the King Mastodon project to explore pathologies on the animal’s skull. Another topic of research at the ARAS-ASU station has been paleoseismology at the Old Town Ridge site, a later prehistoric fortified village in Craighead County where stratigraphy may reveal features caused by ancient earthquakes.

Contributions to Higher Education in Arkansas 2017–2018

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.

Ten Survey archeologists held research faculty titles in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas in 2017–18: Jodi Barnes, Emily Beahm, Jamie Brandon, Carl Drexler, Ann Early, Elizabeth Horton, John House, Jami Lockhart, Jeffrey Mitchem, Juliet Morrow, and Mary Beth Trubitt.

UAFS Introduction to Archeology students learning the process of flintknapping (ARAS-UAFS DSC_1963, Digital Photo by Tim Mulvihill).
UAFS Introduction to Archeology students learning the process of flintknapping (ARAS-UAFS DSC_1963, Digital Photo by Tim Mulvihill).

Survey archeologists taught 22 courses for 293 students enrolled at 9 university campuses in Arkansas: East Arkansas Community College, UAF, UAFS, UAPB, UAM, UALR, ASU, HSU, SAU, and Hendrix College. This included two 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; 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.

Elizabeth Horton (station archeologist at Toltec Mounds) participated with Dr. Krista Lewis (UALR) in the Land of Frankincense Archaeological Project at Al Baleed, a UNESCO Heritage site in Oman.

Survey archeologists served on 25 thesis or dissertation committee positions (member or chair) for UAF graduate students in Anthropology and Environmental Dynamics, 1 committee for a UALR student’s M.A. degree, and 1 Ph.D. committee for an out-of-state institution (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale).

In addition Survey archeologists served on 3 undergraduate Honors committees for 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 UAF, UAFS, and UAPB.

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
      • 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

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 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.

Graduate Student Research & the Coordinating Office

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 is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Dynamics program at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. Her research focuses on the New Madrid seismic zone in NE Arkansas/SE Missouri and how eathquakes may have affected life in the Middle-Late Mississippian cultural period (around ad 1200s–1500s). She will be using 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 is supported by a Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship as well as a graduate assistantship through the Arkansas Archeological Survey. Michelle Rathgaber’s dissertation advisor is Dr. George Sabo III.

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 this year. 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.

Graduate Student Research & the UAF Station
Lydia Rees works with Jared Pebworth photographing artifacts from Saltpeter Cave in the ARAS-UAF lab. IMG–3253 by Jamie Brandon.
Lydia Rees works with Jared Pebworth photographing artifacts from Saltpeter Cave in the ARAS-UAF lab. IMG–3253 by Jamie Brandon.

Victoria Jones is a graduate student on the archeology track in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. She is working on a M.A. thesis using 2017 field school data collected at the Leetown hamlet in Pea Ridge National Military Park. Her thesis will look at the function and chronology of Leetown structures and will investigate Ozark tourism using material from these excavations. Ms. Jones served as the teaching assistant  for the 2018 University of Arkansas archeological field school, worked as a seasonal ranger on the Buffalo National River, and will serve as laboratory director for the Pea Ridge Project during the 2018–2019 academic year. Victoria Jones’s thesis advisor is Dr. Jamie Brandon.

Lydia Rees is a M.A. student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. The subject of her thesis is prehistoric ceramics in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is looking at spatial and temporal patterning in hopes of understanding prehistoric communities of practice in the region. 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 thesis advisor is Dr. Wesley Stoner (UAF Department of Anthropology).

Breanna Wilbanks was the first anthropology major to graduate from the University of Central Arkansas, and is now a M.A. student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. Ms. Wilbanks’ research interests include folk medicine and feminist archeology. Her thesis will examine these issues using material the ARAS-UAF research station excavated in 2004 from the nineteenth-century Sisters of Mercy convent in Fort Smith. Breanna Wilbanks’ thesis advisor is Dr. Jamie Brandon.

Contributions to Public Schools and K-12 Education 2017–2018

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 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 used the GGA curriculum to work with a group of homeshoolers at the ARAS-WRI research station throughout the school year. Students were able to augment the activities in the workbook with tending, harvesting, and processing crops from the experimental gardens at WRI.

Other unique and creative educational activities that Survey archeologists were involved with this year:

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 critical thinking and the scientific method. Thirty students from Dardanelle, Perryville, and Pottsville participated, along with their teachers and some parents. Read more on pp. 46–47.

Michael Evans and Jared Pebworth demonstrating replicated traditional technologies to 4-H members taking part in State O’Rama at the Survey coordinating office in Fayetteville. ARAS-UAF digital photo.
Michael Evans and Jared Pebworth demonstrating replicated traditional technologies to 4-H members taking part in State O’Rama at the Survey coordinating office in Fayetteville. ARAS-UAF digital photo.

GT Archeology Unit. Emily Beahm, with assistance from Larry Porter (ARAS-WRI), visited 3rd grade gifted and talented classes at London Elementary in Russellville, where teacher Lindsey Drain used a year-long archeology curriculum. Over the course of the school year, Beahm gave presentations on archeology and soil science, culture, excavation, and data recording. She led the students in related activities including stratigraphic sand art, a Munsell color chart exercise, and a mock excavation. Forty-four students participated. Read more on p. 48.

Basic Excavation for Youth at the Training Program: Thaden School. A group from the Thaden School in Bentonville attended the joint Arkansas Archeological Survey/Arkansas Archeological Society Training Program at Pea Ridge National Military Park in June. Society executive committee member Gary Knudsen and Survey Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki worked to develop a youth version of the “Basic Excavation” class for this group of students. Basic Excavation is a combined classroom and fieldwork approach that teaches participants basic archeological concepts plus a practical hands-on introduction to excavation techniques and methods working under professional supervision and alongside experienced excavators. The students also learned about the particular project at Pea Ridge and how the field school would contribute to scientific research and park interpretation of the battlefield landscape.

Teacher Workshops. George Sabo (ARAS Director) taught 24 participating teachers about Caddo Indian culture at a teacher workshop at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Texas. ARAS Educational Outreach Coordinator Mel Zabecki made arrangements with Educational Cooperatives for five teacher workshops that were offered in summer 2018 around the state.

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 reoganize 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 2000 K–12 students and their teachers at schools, parks, libraries, and other venues across the state.

4H Programs. ARAS staff participated in 4H “Day of Archeology” camps in McGehee, Helena/West Helena, Monticello (Taylor House/Hollywood Plantation Cemetery clean-up for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), and State 4H State O’Rama Workshop at the Survey coordinating office. About 135 youth and accompanying adults learned about archeology in Arkansas at these events.

Public Service and Outreach 2017–2018

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:

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department; Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism/Arkansas State Parks; Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program; National Park Service; USDA Forest Service; U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

NAGPRA Documentation. We continued our NAGPRA compliance program in cooperation with several American Indian Tribes. The federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) requires institutions such as museums and universities to inventory their archeological and ethnographic collections of human remains, funerary objects, sacred artifacts, and items of cultural patrimony. These remains and objects must be repatriated to modern representatives of the appropriate culturally affiliated American Indian Tribe. The Survey’s activities are essential for compliance with this federal law. We also curate, under contract, collections owned by various government entities that are subject to NAGPRA.

What is NAGPRA documentation? Under the federal NAGPRA law, institutions are obligated to provide an inventory of all items in their collections that are subject to repatriation. 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.

ARAS Reaches Near Up-to-Date Compliance on Notices of Inventory Completion. As of 2017–2018 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). As our research stations inventory their own collections, some additional materials have come to light that need to be inventoried, and new donations have been received, but most of the material covered by NAGPRA has now been documented. Once the Notices are published, the affiliated Tribe determines further disposition of the remains and objects.

Public Programs & Presentations. Survey staff gave 59 public lectures, workshops, tours, and other presentations reaching audiences of over 1765 Arkansans. An additional 30 public talks to chapters of the Arkansas Archeological Society reached combined audiences of 575. Staff participation in 12 archeology fairs and community events or festivals, reached audiences of 2870. These outreach activities together had combined audiences of  5210 individuals.

Training Program & Field School. 108 members of the Arkansas Archeological Society attended our jointly sponsored annual training program for amateur archeologists in June. The 2018 “Society Dig” took place at Pea Ridge National Military Park and was part of an ongoing cooperative research project supported by a cost-share agreement between the Survey and the National Park Service. Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) directed fieldwork, while Jami Lockhart (ARAS-CSP) organized archaeogeophysical survey prior to the excavations. Twenty ARAS staff members contributed to the program. The Northeast Benton County (NEBCO) Community Center provided assistance and facilities for teaching space, lab, and headquarters. Visitors had an opportunity to observe excavations in progress during a scheduled open house. A group from the Thaden School in Bentonville participated in a special youth version of the Basic Excavation class. This year’s Dig also took place in conjunction with the University of Arkansas archeological field school, attended by 10 enrolled students. (See pp. 34–35, 101–102, and 120 for more information about the training program and field school.)

Historic Cemeteries. Survey archeologists provided consultation and advice to groups and individuals working on projects to document and protect historic cemeteries, especially African-American cemeteries.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas. As of 2018, Survey staff have contributed 58 articles and reviewed many others for the Butler Center’s Encyclopedia of Arkansas ­History & Culture.

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.

Tunican Chapter members, Cheri and Russ Miller, looking at the flintknapping display, reorganized with help from Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), at the Drew County Historical Museum. ARAS-UAM photo DSC_0096.
Tunican Chapter members, Cheri and Russ Miller, looking at the flintknapping display, reorganized with help from Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), at the Drew County Historical Museum. ARAS-UAM photo DSC_0096.

Exhibits & Museums. Survey staff have created or assisted with a number of exhibits around the state:

Jeffrey Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin) consulted with staff at the Museum of the Mississippi Delta (Greenwood, Mississippi) on development of new exhibits.

Faye Futch (ARAS-Parkin) served on a committee that brought an exhibit called “Home Town Teams” from the Smithsonian to the Cross County Museum.

ARAS-WRI staff Emily Beahm and Larry Porter participated in the WRI sponsored art installation “Art in the Natural State” with an open house and art-themed archeology activities.

Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) worked with students and ARAS staff to identify items in the collection of the Drew County Historical Museum for a redeveloped and updated exhibit in the museum’s Archeology Room. The new exhibit, “Our Past: Arkansas Indians in Drew County,” opened in September 2017. Barnes also installed a small exhibit on Hollywood Plantation in the Memorial classroom building at UAM.

Chelsea Cinotto (ARAS-HSU) installed rotating monthly exhibits at Huie Library on the HSU campus. These “Pieces of the Past” exhibits feature different items, prehistoric and historic, from Arkansas and from around the world, in the ARAS-HSU curated collections. Cinotto maintained other exhibits at Ouachita Baptist University’s Hickingbotham Library and the Clark County Historical Association Museum in Arkadelphia that display objects from the Joint Educational Consortium’s Hodges collection.

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 or programs at museums was provided to Delta Gateway Museum and ASU Museum (Julie Morrow); Parkin (Jeffrey Mitchem) and Toltec Mounds (Elizabeth Horton) State Parks Visitors Centers; Davidsonville Historic State Park (Kathleen Cande); Turner Neal Museum at UAM (Jodi Barnes); Old Statehouse Museum (Carl Drexler); Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Historical Museum (John House); The Gilcrease Museum (Ann Early); Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (Jamie Brandon, Lydia Rees); and University of Arkansas Museum Collections (Jamie Brandon, George Sabo, and others).

Website and Social Media. Our new website was launched in July 2015. Designed and implemented by our own computer services program staff (Deborah Weddle and John Samuelsen), the new website offers a modernized, graphic home page that is easy to navigate, rotating content that emphasizes interesting information about archeological research and discoveries in Arkansas, and educational materials for public and schoolroom use. We also maintain additional focus-topic websites for the general public and fellow scholars. Traffic to our websites has increased steadily. Graphic by John Samuelsen.

Total Website Pageviews by Year

With 115,089 page views, traffic to our main website at, increased again this year.

A “50 Moments” web series of weekly articles during 2017, our 50th anniversary year, outlined our accomplishments and some of the things we have learned in half a century of research, education, and service to the people and heritage of Arkansas.

Indians of Arkansas provides content and lesson plans about the Native Americans who have resided in Arkansas. It remains our most popular focus-topic website, with over 85,000 page views in 2017–18.

Rock Art in Arkansas is a companion website to our Popular Series book and provides articles, lessons, and a picture gallery covering one of Arkansas’s most important archeological landscape resources. It receives steady traffic with 23,000 page views in 2017–18. An update to this website is planned.

Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection, authored by ARAS-HSU research station archeologist Mary Beth Trubitt and her associates, provides resources for the study of Arkansas Novaculite as a raw material that was exploited for toolmaking and trade since ancient times. It had over 11,000 page views in 2017–18.

Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks was written by Lydia Rees (anthropology graduate student at UAF) and Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF) as part of an ANCRC-funded project to update and preserve excavation records from the 1930s and to provide information to the public. It sees steady traffic and won an award from Preserve Arkansas in 2017.

Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture presents all the content, in free downloadable PDFs and PowerPoints, for our 5th grade social studies curriculum. This website was written by Jodi Barnes, Emily Beahm, and Elizabeth Horton, with technical assistance from Deborah Weddle and John Samuelsen. Teacher workshops are offered to help educators who wish to use the curriculum. Visitor traffic totaled 1,375 page views from 573 users.

The new Sloan Photo Gallery was developed as an accompaniment to the University of Arkansas Press reprint of Sloan: A Paleoindian Dalton Cemetery in Northeast Arkansas, by Dan F. Morse. First published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1997, the new reprint is the first available paperback edition. Sloan is the oldest open air cemetery site in North America. The ARAS web gallery offers all new photographs of these important artifacts, taken by Survey photographer Jane Kellett. High resolution versions of the images may be obtained for re-use by submitting a permission form (also available on the website). Launched in fall 2017, the website had 5,628 page views from 862 users this year.

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. More information is in this Annual Report in the registrar’s office section and the computer services section. AMASDA Online had 87,772 page views in 2017–18.

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 took over the social media administrative functions for the main accounts. Each research station also has its own Facebook page.

Visiting a landowner to look at a wooden object he recovered from the Ouachita River. Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU), Historical Society members, and local residents studying the object. ARASHSUD_K13155, photo by Chelsea Cinotto).
Visiting a landowner to look at a wooden object he recovered from the Ouachita River. Mary Beth Trubitt (ARAS-HSU), Historical Society members, and local residents studying the object. ARASHSUD_K13155, photo by Chelsea Cinotto).

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 serve on a number of Boards and Commissions in Arkansas and beyond:

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.

Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF): Chair, State Review Board for Historic Preservation; board member, Arkansas Humanities Council; Secretary (2017), Preserve Arkansas; Vice-Chair, City of Fayetteville Woolsey Farmstead Steering Committee.

Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM): President (2017), Secretary and Chair of Governance Committee (2018), Preserve Arkansas; board member, Arkansas Preservation Foundation; board member Drew County Historical Society and Museum Commission.

Kathleen Cande (ARAS-SRP): Board of Directors, elected Corresponding Secretary (2018), Washington County Historical Society.

Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU): Board of Trustees, Arkansas Historical Association; board member, Friends of the Arkansas State Archives.

Faye Futch (ARAS-Parkin): Board member, Cross County Historical Society.

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.

Marilyn Knapp, Deborah Sabo, and Melissa Zabecki (ARAS-CO): Executive Committee members of the Arkansas Archeological Society.

Professional Service 2017–2018

Jeffrey Mitchem (ARAS-Parkin) was elected to the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Conservancy, beginning in the fall of 2017. 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 purchase, and helping to negotiate this process. The Parkin site, now preserved within Parkin Archeological State Park, was purchased 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. Read more on p. 27.

Survey staff provided consultation, advice, or other assistance to over 130 agencies, firms, museums, schools, parks, civic groups, and other bodies, in addition to service rendered to research station host institutions.

Several Survey archeologists serve as editors or members of editorial boards for professional journals.

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.

Jodi Barnes serves as Associate Editor of the journal Historical Archaeology. She also is on the editorial board for the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Anthropology, and was Assistant Editor for the Drew County Historical Journal in 2017.

Jeffrey Mitchem is on the editorial board for the journal The Florida Anthropologist.

Kathleen Cande serves as Gulf States current research editor for the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Survey staff served as officers, members of various committees, or in other service capacities for 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 Archeologists – National Association for Interpretation – Cross County Historical Society – 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 2017–2018

$600 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund, awarded to Timothy Mulvihill (ARAS-UAFS), Mary Brennan (USFS), and Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-TMRS) for a radiocarbon date from 3FR46.

$900 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Archeological Research Fund, awarded to Ann Early (State Archeologist) for three AMS radiocarbon dates, “Dating the Cremation Cemetery at the Johnny Ford Site, 3LA5.”

$720 grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Bill Jordan Public Outreach fund, awarded to Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM) for “Hunting in the Past,” a public education activities program.

$800 donation from Jamie Kitchens of Little Rock and Jeff Nalley of Benton to the Arkansas Archeological Survey to support John House’s research in Arkansas.

$400 mini-grant from the Cahokia Archaeological Society to Mary Beth Trubitt for “Sharing Results from the West Cahokia Project,” to produce a portable display banner interpreting results of 1997 Cahokia investigations, and also to allow Trubitt to travel to Illinois to deliver the completed banner and present a public talk.

$1,875 from the Joint Educational Consortium to support NAGPRA documentation of human remains and funerary objects in their collection (Sarah Shepard, ARAS Registrar’s office, coordinator).

$30,324 from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for Archeological Survey of the Battlefield at Prairie D’Ane (Carl Drexler, principal investigator).

$47,000 from National Park Service for Year 3 archeological inventory at Pea Ridge National Military Park: geophysical survey, GIS, and excavation at Leetown Civil War era hamlet (Jamie Brandon, Carl Drexler, and Jami Lockhart, principal investigators).

$12,371 from the Department of Arkansas Heritage for geophysics, GIS, and excavation at the historic Wolf House (Jami Lockhart and Jamie Brandon, principal investigators).

$14,750 Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation for John Samuelsen’s dissertation project, “An Isotopic Assessment of Late Prehistoric Interregional Warfare in the Southcentral U.S.” (Dissertation Chair/George Sabo III, principal investigator).

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);

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.” Smithsonian Institution Grant Program, awarded to Logan Kistler (NMNH) and Natalie Mueller (Cornell University) for 2017.

Honors & Awards 2017-2018

2017 Certificate of Achievement in recognition of service as President of Preserve Arkansas to Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM).

2018 Diamond Award for 50 years of contributions to understanding Arkansas history, presented to the Arkansas Archeological Survey by the Arkansas Historical Association.Carl Drexler (ARAS-SAU) received two awards for his article “The Little Rock Picric Acid Plant in World War I,” published in the Pulaski County Historical Review:

the Walter L. Brown Award for Best Business History from the Arkansas Historical Association

the Peggy Smith-Mary Worthen Award from the Pulaski County Historical Society

2018 Diamond Award for 50 years of contributions to understanding Arkansas history, presented to the Arkansas Archeological Survey by the Arkansas Historical Association.

2017 Excellence in Heritage Preservation Award from Preserve Arkansas to Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: Plant-Based Foodways in the Southeastern United States, a 5th grade social studies curriculum developed by Jodi Barnes (ARAS-UAM), Emily Beahm (ARAS-WRI), Elizabeth Horton (ARAS-Toltec), and George Sabo (ARAS Director).

2017 Outstanding Achievment in Preservation Education Award from Preserve Arkansas to Bluff-Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks, a new public-oriented website developed by ARAS, written by Lydia Rees (UAF Anthropology graduate student) with contributions from Jamie Brandon (ARAS-UAF).

2017 Forest Supervisor’s Award for Partners and Community Engagement presented to the Arkansas Archeological Survey and Arkansas Archeological Society by the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.


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