Archeologist participates in study with national park service

Volunteers Jamal Harvey, Gabrielle Clemons, and Rusty Eisenhower excavating at Arkansas Post National Memorial Osotouy Unit

Volunteers Jamal Harvey, Gabrielle Clemons, and Rusty Eisenhower excavating at Arkansas Post National Memorial Osotouy Unit

In March, Dr. John House, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Station Archeologist for the Arkansas Archeological Survey helped direct investigations at the Osotouy Unit of Arkansas Post National Memorial in Arkansas County.  These investigations are part of an ongoing partnership between the Arkansas Archeological Survey and the US National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Osotouy Unit of Arkansas Post, created by an act of the US Congress in 1997, is located about 6 miles from the main portion of Arkansas Post near Gillette.  The location is associated with the Quapaw village of Osotouy occupied in the late 1600s. The French Arkansas Post from 1686 to 1749 was also in the immediate vicinity.  A number of prehistoric mounds plus deposits of village debris from Native American occupations are present within the Osotouy Unit.

The recently concluded fieldwork was guided by results of geophysical mapping carried out in February 2014.   Jami J. Lockhart of Fayetteville, the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s specialist in geophysical mapping, directed that work. Its purpose work was to identify unusual electrical or magnetic patterns on the surface that might indicate locations of cultural features below the surface.  This strategy of archeological investigation has come to exemplify twenty-first century archeology.

The current work focused on excavating on the locations identified during the 2014 geophysical mapping.  Midwest Archeological Center and Arkansas Archeological Survey staff carried out the March excavations with help from 10 local volunteers and a representative of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. Over the course of the work they identified a number of below-ground cultural features containing broken Native American pottery plus bones of deer and other animals that were part of prehistoric Native American diet.  These results provide a more comprehensive picture of the archeological deposits at Osotouy than was available before.

In the coming months House will be participating in the analysis cultural specimens from these excavations.  Further field work at Osotouy is scheduled for the coming October.

John House has been the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Station Archeologist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff since 1989.  He also teaches classes in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UAPB.  The Arkansas Archeological Survey is a Unit of the University of Arkansas System.

For further information, contact John H. House, Arkansas Archeological Survey at 870-535-4509 or jhhouse@uark.edu.

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