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Station Research Associate
UAF Research Station
Arkansas Archeological Survey
2475 N. Hatch Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72704
Telephone: (479) 575-3556
The UAF Station territory covers 12 counties and lies almost entirely within the Ozark Mountain region of northwest Arkansas; only the extreme southwestern portion of the territory dips down into the Arkansas River Valley.
For many years archeological work in the Ozarks was restricted to bluff shelter investigations. These dry cave sites are justly regarded for their excellently preserved organic materials such as basketry, textiles, woven sandals, and plant food remains. Rock art (such as petroglyphs) is also found in some shelters. However, the scarcity of ceramics in them led to a stereotypical assessment of the Ozark inhabitants as 'stuck' in an Archaic tradition, without participation in the more complex, mound-building, agricultural societies of late prehistory.
UAF Station research has sought to broaden this picture with research at ceremonial mound sites that link the Ozarks to the Mississippian and Caddoan cultures. Seeds preserved in the dry shelters have now been shown to be (very early) native domesticates, proving that the "Archaic bluff-dwellers" were actually part-time agriculturists. The hardiness and adaptability of the native groups is also reflected in the archeological remains of pioneers and American settlers in the region. Ideas of pre-industrial land use in this upland region are undergoing a profound reorganization in light of this new research.
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