On November 2, 2022, the name of Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park was officially changed to Plum Bayou Mounds Archeological State Park and the ARAS research station was renamed the Plum Bayou Research Station. Learn more...
The Plum Bayou Mounds research station is located at Plum Bayou Mounds Archeological State Park in Scott. The Plum Bayou Mounds site is a National Historic Landmark. Survey staff carry out ongoing research at the site, providing the primary resources for development of interpretive programs at the park. The Plum Bayou Mounds site was the religious, social, and political center for people of the Plum Bayou culture of central Arkansas. Built and occupied between a.d. 650 and 1050, it is one of the largest and most complex American Indian sites in the Mississippi Valley. Archeologists who visited the site more than 100 years ago found 16 mounds inside a 5298-foot-long ditch and earthen embankment. Though many of the mounds have been plowed down or mined for fill dirt, several remain visible today, along with remnants of the embankment. Most of the mounds were square, flat-topped earthen structures built by carrying basket-loads of dirt. Several of the mounds were arranged around an open plaza and aligned according to astronomical observations. The two largest were built in stages, and stand today at 39 and 49 feet high. The site had a small permanent population of religious and political leaders and their families, but most Plum Bayou people lived in scattered villages and hamlets in the surrounding countryside, only gathering at the site for religious and community activities. The Plum Bayou people grew a variety of native domesticated crops, harvested nuts, hunted, and fished.
Paige A. Ford (PhD, University of Oklahoma, 2021) began as the new Station Archeologist for the Plum Bayou Mounds research station on August 2, 2021. She succeeds the work done by Dr. Liz Horton and plans to utilize her experiences in public outreach and research to continue fostering a community of folks interested in learning about and doing archeology. Working alongside colleagues at the Arkansas Archeological Survey as well as state park officials, interpreters, and avocational archeologists, she will build a program balanced between research, education, and outreach that will further our understandings of the archeology of this station’s area as well as teach the public how we learn about the past. Learn more about Dr. Ford.
Katy Gregory (MA, Florida Atlantic University) joined the Survey as station assistant at UAM in October 2014 and served as Interim Station Archeologist the first half of 2021. She earned her BA in Anthropology from Marquette University and her MA in Anthropology from Florida Atlantic University. She previously worked for the Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Historic Preservation Office.
Elizabeth Horton (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2011) is a Research Affiliate for our Plum Bayou Mounds Research Station. Until July 2020, she was the Station Archeologist for Plum Bayou Mounds Archeological State Park, and Research Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She came to the Survey in 2010 as a postdoctoral researcher at the coordinating office, and began the position at the Plum Bayou Mounds research station in July 2011. Horton’s doctoral research focused on Pre-Columbian fabric technology and plant fiber use in the Southeast, and Arkansas in particular, using assemblages from the University of Arkansas Museum Collections. Her specialization in paleoethnobotany brings much-needed skills to the Plum Bayou station and to the entire Survey organization. Best wishes to Dr. Horton on her new endeavors.
Featured Research & Activities
Quartz Crystal Plummet from Toltec Mounds
Ancient Innovations: Rivercane Basketry from Cobb Cave
Edens Bluff Seed Bag
“Walk a mile in their shoes” – A woven shoe from the Ozark Plateau
The Toltec Mounds Owl Effigy
Plum Bayou Garden & Arkansas's First Farmers
The Annual Arkansas ArchaeOlympics: Three Years On and Growing!
Dr. Paige Ford, Station Archeologist
Katherine Gregory, Station Assistant
Dr. Elizabeth Horton, Research Affiliate
Direct Station Phone: (501) 961-2420
State Park Phone: (501) 961-9442
Arkansas Archeological Survey
Plum Bayou Mounds
490 Toltec Mounds Road
Scott, AR 72142-9212