Archeological Survey, Anthropology Faculty Featured in 'Archaeology of the Caddo'Monday, May 07, 2012
A new book from University of Nebraska Press contains several contributions from the professional staff of the University of Arkansas System’s Arkansas Archeological Survey who have faculty titles in the university's department of anthropology. One chapter is also co-authored by a doctoral candidate in the anthropology department.
The Archaeology of the Caddo, edited by Timothy K. Perttula and Chester P. Walker, is a landmark volume providing the most comprehensive overview to date of the prehistory and archaeology of the Caddo peoples. The Caddos lived in the Southeastern Woodlands for more than 900 years beginning around AD 800–900, before being forced to relocate to Oklahoma in 1859. They left behind a spectacular archaeological record, including the famous Spiro Mound site in Oklahoma and many other mound centers, plazas, farmsteads, villages, and cemeteries—including some of the most important archaeological sites in Arkansas. Most of western Arkansas fell within the Northern and Southern Caddo homeland areas.
The Archaeology of the Caddo reintroduces the Caddos’ heritage, creativity, and political and religious complexity. The volume presents new advances in studying the history of the Caddo peoples, including ceramic analysis, reconstructions of settlement and regional histories of different Caddo communities, geographic information systems and geophysical landscape studies at several spatial scales, the cosmological significance of mound and structure placements, and better ways to understand mortuary practices.
In “Form and Structure in Prehistoric Caddo Pottery Design” (Chapter 2), Ann M. Early (state archeologist for Arkansas and Research associate professor of anthropology) uses a sample of pottery vessels to test whether a grammar-like system of design rules was used to express cultural concepts that were shared among regional societies, linking them into a Caddo whole.
“Exploring Prehistoric Caddo Communities through Archaeogeophysics” (Chapter 7) is by Chester P. Walker and Duncan P. McKinnon (McKinnon is a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology and currently teaches at the university). The authors present archaeogeophysical findings from three major sites, including Battle Mound (3LA1) in southwest Arkansas, to highlight the various architectural attributes of Caddo communities that can be defined using landscape archaeogeophysical methodology.
Mary Beth Trubitt (AAS archeologist at the Henderson State University campus in Arkadelphia and research associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas) contributed “Caddo in the Saline River Valley of Arkansas: The Borderlands Project and the Hughes Site” (Chapter 10). Trubitt addresses the issue of regional variation using material culture and archaeological remains from Hughes, a Late Caddo period mound site in the Saline River Valley borderlands, with comparisons to sites in the middle Ouachita Valley and the central Arkansas River valley.
“Spatial Patterns of Caddo Mound Sites in the West Gulf Coastal Plain of Arkansas” (Chapter 11) by Jami J. Lockhart (AAS director of archaeogeophysical and GIS research) uses a quantitative approach to develop a set of simple indices of relatedness between specific cultural and natural features as a means of identifying and locating shared elements of Caddo cultural landscapes in prehistory.
Finally, George Sabo III (AAS archeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas), in “The Terán Map and Caddo Cosmology” (Chapter 15), offers an additional interpretation to the archetypal 1691-92 depiction of Caddo settlement patterning. He argues that the Map is also a cosmogram, with key elements of Caddo beliefs about relations with the spirit world embedded into the community diagram.
Other contributors provide coverage of new research and important Caddo sites in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, ensuring that this volume will become a required resource.
Ann Early, State Archeologist
Arkansas Archeological Survey
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