This month is both the one year anniversary of my permanent arrival in Magnolia and the one year anniversary of the discovery of the theft of the Cedar Grove ceramic vessels from the AAS-SAU Research Station facility in the Bruce Center.
Tag Archives: caddo
I have one interesting story to pass along from the conference, however…on Sunday a bunch of archaeologists, members of the Caddo Nation and avocational folks took a couple field trips to two legendary Caddo sites–the emergent Caddo site known as Crenshaw Mounds and the massive Battle Mound. Both are located nearby our home base over in the Red River Valley. John Miller, who was a AAS-SAU station assistant back in 1980s and who had worked some salvage at Battle Mound did us a big favor and lead the tour (Lord knows I don’t know enough about these sites to yet speak with any authority and David felt comfortable with Crenshaw, but not Battle).
At any rate…we were greeted at Battle Mound (in some accounts the place of Caddo origin) by a very tame turkey who accompanied us from the farm road out to the large, multi tiered mound and back….When I ran into the land owner he said “Did you bring a friend with you?” (pointing at the turkey)…I figured that the turkey belonged on the farm and he was pulling my leg…but he finally convinced me that he had never seen the turkey before.
As the turkey escorted us on our trek away from the mound and back to our cars…I had to wonder if it was symbolic–if not an outright supernatural–manifestation of the ancient Caddo…here to make sure that their descendants and archaeologists treat the place with some respect.
The 49th Caddo Conference will be held in the new Reynolds Center on the SAU campus here in Magnolia this March (incidentally, March is Arkansas Archeology Month). The Caddo Conference, however, is not just another archeological conference…it has a unique history and form that makes it stand out amongst the hundreds of other archeological conferences held in North America (and, believe me, sometimes I feel like attend them all).
First the history–The Caddo conference is OLD SCHOOL. Like the granddaddy of them all–the Pecos Conference–sometimes the origins of the Caddo Conference seem like they stretch into the dim reaches of prehistory itself….but, of course, they don’t.
The first Caddo Conference was organized in 1942 by Louisiana pediatric doctor and legendary archaeologist, Dr. Clarence H. Webb–for comparison A. V. Kidder convened the first Pecos Conference in 1927 and the first Southeastern Archeological Conference (SEAC) was held in 1938 (In Michigan, of course!). Following some discontinuity during Word War II, Dr. Webb revived the conference and it has been running ever since…The 50th Caddo Conference will be held next year…expect much hoopla.
Second, the form–The Caddo Conference is pretty unique in that it is regularly attended by professional archeologists, avocational archeologists and members of the Caddo Nation…these folks don’t just attend either…they all participate…Caddo members and avocational archeologists also give papers on their perspectives about Caddoan history, culture and archeology and Caddo Culture Clubs are usually invited hold a dance on one of the conference evenings.
Descendant communities, interested members of the public and professionals all in the same room discussing stuff….sounds like a great idea to me.
We’re still hard at work getting the word out about the theft of a collection of Caddo pottery from the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Research Station at Southern Arkansas University. To date, we’ve given interviews to 5 TV stations, two radio networks and I forget how many newspapers–including the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Magnolia News Banner, The Oklahoman, The Bray (the student newspaper of SAU) and The Native Voice.
At any rate, the inventory of missing ceramics I provided immediately following the discovery of the robbery was made in a matter of hours, and I didn’t have a lot of time to revisit the inventory in the weeks following. I have just finished a thorough inventory and I have a few updates to make to the inventory. It seems that a total of 27–not 26–pots were stolen from our collections. You can download a printer-friendly PDF of the new inventory here, or you can look at some color and black and white pics of the vessels in HTML form here.
I’ve posted pictures of the 26 missing Caddo vessels on my Flickr account…feel free to save them, post them, whatever…
For Immediate Release by the Arkansas Archeological Survey:
The Arkansas Archeological Survey and Southern Arkansas University report the theft of 26 prehistoric Caddo Indian pottery vessels from the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Research Station collections at Southern Arkansas University. The pottery vessels are all from the Cedar Grove site located on the Red River in Lafayette County, Arkansas. The vessels belong to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and are federal property. Photographs and complete documentation of each pottery vessel exist so they will be very difficult to sell on the open market.
The vessels are from Indian graves subject to the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a federal law. If the vessels were transported across state lines they will be subject to the federal Archeological Resource Protection Act. Hence, the thieves can be prosecuted under two separate federal laws as well as state law. For these reasons, the SAU Police Department is working with the El Dorado office of the FBI in the investigation.
For a list and photographs of the stolen pottery vessels see: http://www.projectpast.org/sau/SAUCedarGroveMissingList_v3.pdf
For more information call:
Dr. Thomas J. Green
Arkansas Archeological Survey
2475 N. Hatch Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72704
479-575-3556 or 479-442-0261
Dr. Jamie C. Brandon
Research Station Archeologist
Arkansas Archeological Survey
Southern Arkansas University
PO Box 9381
Magnolia, AR 71754