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Archaeology Experts to Report of Ongoing Studies of NW Arkansas Bluff Shelters

05 Mar 2017 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

After shallow oceans receded from lands that included what is now Arkansas, exposed limestone began to erode, creating unique rock formations, including the many “bluff shelters” we see all over northwest Arkansas.   One of the most interesting aspects of archeology in the Arkansas Ozarks is the many dry bluff shelters and caves that have been intermittently occupied for 10,000 years.  The dry conditions created in these caves and shelters provide a rare glimpse of the kinds of artifacts that usually rot in the wet climate of the Southeastern United States.  In addition to rare perishable artifacts, some bluff shelters contain deep stratified deposits which can help archeologists understand regional chronology.

The Arkansas Archeological Survey has begun a new multi-year research project related to this class of sites.  The first phase of this project digitized important records from early bluff shelter excavations and created a popular-oriented web site about these unparalleled and endangered sites—entitled Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks.  The talk at Hobbs State Park will outline the history of archeology in the region, examine the “bluff dweller” concept and its implications, and summarize current research on bluff shelters in Arkansas.   Dr. Jamie Brandon will “tag team” with Lydia Rees to present this fascinating program. 

  • Dr. Jamie Brandon is the Research Station Archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  He has more than 25 years of experience in the field of archeology and has worked with the Survey in various capacities since 1997.  Brandon is currently leading the multi-year research project to investigate bluff shelter sites across the Ozarks.
  • Lydia Rees is a Research Assistant with the Arkansas Archeological Survey and the primary author of the new publicly-oriented website on bluff shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks.  She has been working in archeology for 14 years and was previously a Quality Control Crew Chief for Flat Earth Archeology.
  • As a special addition to the program, Jared Pebworth will bring a display of stone tools, and other objects found at northwest Arkansas bluff shelters.  Pebworth is a staff archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  He has been with the Survey since 1991.  Pebworth is a veteran of many bluff shelter excavations including Brown Bluff, Breckenridge, Spradley Hollow, and shelters along the Hwy. 412 corridor.  He was a team member for both the three-year, NEH-funded Arkansas Rock Art project, and several other survey projects to identify bluff shelter sites in the region.

When:  2:00 p.m. Saturday March 11, 2017
Where:  Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area’s visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
Cost:  Free

This program is part of the Friends of Hobbs Speaker Series, and is an official 2017 program for Arkansas Archaeological Month.  For more information call:  479-789-5000

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