Archeology at the Eaker Site
The Blytheville Research Station developed a multi-year archeological project at the Eaker site (3MS105) to increase our understanding of Mississippian towns, to gather data to aid in the management and interpretation of the site for the public, and to provide information about the site to the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. The Eaker site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and the Quapaw Tribe has declared it a Quapaw Sacred Site.

The Eaker site, like most Mississippian settlements, stands on the bank of a river, in this case Pemiscot Bayou, which was a major waterway in earlier times. Pemiscot Bayou is located in the St. Francis Basin of the Mississippi Valley. The Eaker site is large but consists of several components from different time periods, perhaps indicating that people kept coming back there generation after generation. There is no known mound, although unsubstantiated rumor has it that there once was one.

Volunteers with the Arkansas Archeological Society processing flotation samples

Previous work at the site has resulted in as many questions as answers about the people who lived there. Some of our questions include: Was there a fortified late Mississippian town at the site? If so, what exactly were its boundaries? Are there clusters of houses from other time periods? What is the distribution of earlier and later components at the site? How did ancient earthquakes that have occurred periodically in this region affect the inhabitants or the archeological sites themselves?

Volunteers at Eaker
Volunteers with the Arkansas Archeological Society excavating at Eaker

Our research at Eaker will flesh out our picture of Mississippian life, balancing what we know from the big mound centers, and maybe offering a few surprises along the way. Moreover, the research at Eaker will be particularly helpful in understanding Mississippian life in the St. Francis Basin, which was a heavily populated part of the Mississippian world. Surprisingly enough, considering the density of Mississippian sites in this part of the St. Francis Basin, only a few modern archeological investigations have been carried out, so we don't actually know a lot about the details of Mississippian life in this region.

 

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