The Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) research station at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) serves a seven-county area in the southeastern corner of the state. These counties are Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, and Lincoln. Here the UAM station archeologist and station assistant maintain a research laboratory and artifact collections from hundreds of sites across the region. Among these are dozens of mound sites, including Lake Enterprise, the oldest mound site documented in Arkansas, built by Poverty Point people more than 3,000 years ago. These also include many Dalton stone point sites identified in the 1960s, showing that people lived along the western banks of the Mississippi River up to 10,000 years ago. The station area is also home to dozens of plantation sites, places where enslaved people were forced to labor prior to the American Civil War and where the descendants of enslaved African Americans migrated to work as share croppers and tenant farmers until the 1950s.
The archeological research laboratory is located within UAM’s visual and performing arts building. The station archeologist serves as the sole anthropology faculty member in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and teaches anthropology courses every spring semester. The station archeologist and station assistant collaborate closely with the Tunican chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society (AAS), developing opportunities for society members to volunteer in both field and lab projects. They also maintain relationships with county historical societies in the station area as well as educational programs like 4-H.
Matthew P. Rooney (PhD, University of Florida, 2021) is the Station Archeologist and Professor of Anthropology at UAM. He has conducted fieldwork in Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas. His research interests include the development of capitalism, materiality of colonialism, archeology of plantations, and collaborating with descendant populations.
Dr. Rooney is currently the Vice President of Education for Preserve Arkansas, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Arkansas Historical Association, and the Newsletter Editor for the Southeastern Archaeological Conference.
Kourtney Lee (BA, Hendrix College, 2023) joined the Survey in 2023 as the Station Assistant at UAM. She earned her BA in Anthropology at Hendrix College where she developed interests in cultural landscapes and public outreach. Her undergraduate thesis focused on cultural landscapes and their relationship with the idea of place in San Luis, Costa Rica. Kourtney wants to continue to learn and explore the relationship she studied in her thesis here in her home state of Arkansas.
Dr. Matthew P. Rooney, Station Archeologist