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Arkansas Archeology Month
- March 2006 -

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Theme: Traders & Merchants -
Special Commemoration: Centennial of Antiquities Act of 1906

Victorian merchantsPeople have always been excited about new materials and objects they can use to beautify their homes, ease their labor, or amuse themselves during their leisure. Traders and merchants have served as the conduit for moving goods and materials across distances and between peoples. Trade was the catalyst for venturing into new areas and opening lands in America.

Native Americans traveled and traded great distances, moving by foot or on the waterways. Their efforts brought conch shells from the Gulf to make ornaments or utensils, obsidian from the western mountains for points or sharp blades, and mica from the southern Appalachians and copper from the Lake Superior region for ornaments and ritual items.

During the Contact period, Native Americans and Europeans eagerly traded for the goods and materials to which each had exclusive access. Europeans wanted the fur of North American animals — especially beaver to make hats wildly popular during that period — and Native Americans desired the iron tools and cooking equipment, guns, and glass beads that Europeans could provide.

Merchants were some of the earliest settlers in frontier areas as Euro-American settlement expanded. Bringing goods by wagon across land or by river boat, the merchants of the nineteenth century spread European and American manufactured products westward. English ceramics, American-made glass bottles, clay pipes and toy marbles are found throughout the historic sites of nineteenth-century America, thanks to the merchants who supplied an expanding nation.

2006 Schedule of Events


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