The Parkin research station was established in 1990 at Parkin Archeological State Park in Cross County. The station’s primary mission is to study the Parkin site and related sites in the region and to aid State Parks staff in interpreting and presenting this research to the general public. The Parkin site is a 17-acre Mississippian period American Indian village located on the banks of the St. Francis River, and lies entirely within park boundaries. It has a large flat-topped earthen mound surrounded by hundreds of buried house remnants, and was enclosed by a log palisade and moat. Excavations in the 1990s showed that the site was settled as early as a.d. 1000 and was occupied at least until 1541, when the expedition of Hernando de Soto passed through the area. Parkin is believed to be the Indian village of Casqui that was visited by the Spaniards and described in the four written accounts left by survivors and chroniclers of the expedition.
Jeffrey M. Mitchem (Ph.D., University of Florida, 1989) is the Survey’s Research Station Archeologist for Parkin Archeological State Park, and Research Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Arkansas–Fayetteville. He joined the Survey in 1990 to establish the Parkin research station, following appointments at Florida State University and Louisiana State University. His specializations include late prehistoric and early historic archeology of the Southeast and the Mississippi Valley, early Spanish contact sites in the New World, ceramic technology, glass bead studies, beads of Jordan and the Levant, Florida archeology, and the history of archeology in the Southeast. He is past President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Society of Bead Researchers.