Last year’s Training Program, like many before it, did great work in terms of fleshing out what we know about a major archeological site. Though we’re going in a totally different direction this year, the impact that you can have on Arkansas archeology will be no less great. I admit that what I’m about to describe for you looks a little different than usual, but what I’m inviting you out to help with is going to be a major contribution to Arkansas archeology and will also, I hope, be something that you really enjoy. So, our recent Training Programs have looked at sites where we haven’t worked before, or at least did not have research ongoing. This time around, we’re reviving a project started by the Arkansas Archeological Society way back in the 1980s (I made myself feel old typing that). That’s right! We are going back to Holman Springs! But wait, there’s more! We are also going to be doing some of the first systematic work on a site, known as Lockesburg Mounds, that hasn’t been researched, but immediately looks like one of the most important sites in the region.
The Sites First, Holman Springs (3SV29) is a large Caddo saltworks in far western Sevier County. It is one of a few such sites ever excavated, and one of two (along with Bayou Sel) that have yet to be adequately written up. The Society did initial tests there in 1984, then held the Training Program there in 1985 and 1986. This was the “more sherds than dirt” project. The site used to have two mounds on it, composed almost entirely of pottery, if that gives you an idea of how artifact-laden it was. For a host of reasons, the
results of that work were brought back to Magnolia, then never fully analyzed. We need to wrest Holman Springs from this limbo.
Lockesburg Mounds (3SV48) is a bit of an enigma. Situated near the town of Lockesburg, it is one of the largest Caddo sites in the Little River Region, and one of the largest complex of Caddo mounds ever recorded. It consists of 13 mounds and one large midden
area (that we know of). The catch with Lockesburg Mounds is that we know actually very little about it. The only archeological overview of the Little River Region does not mention it, and it rarely gets attention in wider discussion of Caddo archeology. We know about the mounds, but we don’t know much else about it.
What we do know about it is as follows. First, it’s a big site at 13 mounds, whereas most of the mound sites in the area are 1–2 mounds. Second, it has been very roughly treated in recent years by artifact hunters. In the 1980s, some people took a backhoe to it, cutting deep trenches into it and mining it for pots to be sold. Witnesses likened it to the destruction of the Craig Mound at Spiro in the 1930s. There are no known field notes from this destruction, but it is quite clear that a large number of graves were disturbed in the process.