Submitted photo ARCHAEOLOGY LECTURE: Mary Beth Trubitt, station archaeologist at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey Henderson State University research station in Arkadelphia, discussed recent archaeological projects at two local sites during her presentation National Park College Math and Sciences Division's First Friday Lunch and Lecture Series on Oct. 6.

Submitted photo ARCHAEOLOGY LECTURE: Mary Beth Trubitt, station archaeologist at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey Henderson State University research station in Arkadelphia, discussed recent archaeological projects at two local sites during her presentation National Park College Math and Sciences Division's First Friday Lunch and Lecture Series on Oct. 6.

Archaeologist leads lecture

By Staff Reports
This article was published October 21, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

Mary Beth Trubitt presented "Archaeology of the Ouachita Mountains" for the National Park College Math and Sciences Division's First Friday Lunch and Lecture Series on Oct. 6.

Trubitt discussed recent archaeological projects at two local sites near Jones Mill and Mount Ida that are providing new details on American Indian lifeways in the Ouachita Mountains. Both sites are near the Ouachita River and were occupied by Caddo tribes during the Archaic period. She explained pottery began showing up during the Woodland period around 1000 B.C.

The pottery evolved as changes in food use and preparation evolved. The earliest pottery was made of clay and tempered with additives to help strengthen the material.

Some tribes used crushed rock, animal bone, crushed pottery or mussel shell. The Jones Mill site inhabitants used magnetite, a locally sourced iron ore. The site near Mount Ida did not have access to magnetite and used shale pebbles instead.

Pottery from the excavations shows changing technologies and styles through time, but there are also local variations that make each area distinctive.

"Pottery can tell us more than just when people were here," Trubitt said. "It tells us who was here and what they were doing."

Trubitt noted family, social status and community identity can all be found through examination of pottery. Residue on the interior can be analyzed to determine how the vessel was used.

Caddo pottery is well known for being highly decorated. Tribes often followed rules for decorations that help identify their use. Cooking containers, for example, typically have rough surfaces, while bowls and containers were often engraved.

"A lot of archaeology is training the eye to recognize what you are looking at," said Trubitt.

Trubitt is the station archaeologist at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey Henderson State University research station in Arkadelphia, where she teaches anthropology courses, conducts research on American Indian archaeology and history, and works with agencies, tribes and local residents interested in historic preservation. She is co-author of "Caddo Connections: Cultural Interactions within and beyond the Caddo World" and editor of "Research, Preservation, and Communication: Honoring Thomas J. Green on his Retirement from the Arkansas Archaeological Survey."

Trubitt developed the Arkansas Archaeological Survey's "Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection" website, supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1996.

School on 10/21/2017
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