Gettin' Dirty with an Arkansas Archaeologist

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Within the boundaries that define the state of Arkansas is a region filled with a long history of occupations, first by Native peoples and later by settlers in the early 19th century. The region is a wealth of historical and archaeological resources that document several thousand years of people utilizing, living, and thriving on the land now known as Arkansas. These people left traces of their daily lives, various uses of the landscape, a long history of exchange and trade with neighboring peoples and cultures, and tangible examples of symbolic connectedness to the region. Explore the diversity of this rich heritage by “gettin’ dirty” with Dr. Duncan McKinnon, Director of the Jamie C. Brandon Center for Archaeological Research here at UCA. During a three-week period every March, journey into the past with Dr. McKinnon to explore a time long ago – but not forgotten.


March 4th: Migration Patterns of Early Inhabitants


Have you ever wondered about the first people to live in this land that we now know as Arkansas? How long ago did people first roam the landscape of Arkansas and surrounding regions? Known to archaeologists as Paleoindians, these people were highly mobile as they roamed the land gathering wild foods and hunting “megafauna” using sophisticated stone tool technologies. Explore current evidence revealing their various paths of migration as they first occupied North America.


March 11th: The Daily Life of Early Inhabitants


What about the daily lives of the earliest inhabitants? Paleoindians were very resourceful during a time in which the climate was very different. What was necessary of them to survive? What kinds of stone tools did they create and use? What types of foods did they hunt and gather? Examine the evidence left behind that reveals the day-to-day activities that define lives of Paleoindian people in Arkansas and North America.


March 18th: Symbolic and Ceremonial Expressions of Early Inhabitants


In addition to evidence for daily activities, there are also examples left by early inhabitants that provide a glimpse into their symbolic and ceremonial expressions. Did you know that the earliest documented ceremonial burial ground in the Americas is right here in Arkansas? This site is known as the Sloan site and is located in the northeast corner of the state. Discover who these people were and how the Sloan cemetery offers a unique window into the symbolic and ceremonial expressions of hunter-gatherers who occupied Arkansas.





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