Interested in Touching the Past?
In Arkansas, you can! By joining the Arkansas Archeological Society, you can hold a 3,000-year-old stone tool that the first Arkansans used to hunt game. You can turn up the grass and find the foundations of a prehistoric farmhouse or the remains of a French colonial fort. You can visit a mound center built 1,000 years ago by people who did not leave writings but could read the stars. You can help preserve, protect, and appreciate the historic places that hold unwritten stories of people who made Arkansas their home over the last 10,000 years.
Today, thousands of sites face destruction through development and vandalism, and the stories they could tell may never be heard. Through protection and proper study we can preserve the most important of these places to commemorate and learn about the lives of people who may never be mentioned in history books, but who are part of Arkansas’s heritage. The Arkansas Archeological Society is an organization for people who want to help in this task.
Purpose of the Arkansas Archeological Society
The Arkansas Archeological Society was formed in 1960 for the purpose of uniting all persons interested in the archeology of Arkansas, for the recognition and preservation of our cultural heritage and prehistory, and for fostering and encouraging the public’s interest in the preservation of the past. The Society encourages the scientific investigation, study, and interpretation of our cultural heritage, and publishes and distributes the result of those investigations, particularly those relating to Arkansas.
The Society numbers among its members people from all walks of life—teachers, lawyers, nurses, students, secretaries, professional archeologists, and others—who share a love of history and the camaraderie of archeological research.
Partnered with the Survey
The Society works closely with the Arkansas Archeological Survey, a unit of the University of Arkansas System, to provide programs, participate in research, and promote protection of Arkansas’s archeological sites. Because we also share information, some of the links on this web site will take you to Survey web site pages.
Chapters of the Society are located in various parts of the state, and monthly meetings at the Chapters offer speakers, news of current events, outreach activities, and opportunities to help with research and preservation projects—as well as friendship and shared interests.
An Annual Meeting brings together members from across the country for presentations on the results of archeological research, exhibits, field trips, and fellowship. A keynote speaker—an archeologist conducting research outside Arkansas—is a special feature of the Meeting’s banquet.
An annual Training Program in archeology is held for two weeks each June, in partnership with the Arkansas Archeological Survey. The Training Program provides the opportunity for members to learn the proper methods to discover and record archeological sites, and to participate in excavation and laboratory activities. Evening programs and seminars are also part of the Training Program.
Besides being able to participate in Society activities, members also receive regular publications. Field Notes, the Society newsletter, is published 6 times a year and contains articles on archeology and news of upcoming events. An annual bulletin, The Arkansas Archeologist, is also provided to members and contains a number of articles on current research.
The Society also supports a Lending Library with over 600 volumes covering both general archeology, and regional and state studies. Books are loaned for a month exclusively to Society members.
Perhaps the single most important thing members learn through the activities of the Arkansas Archeological Society is that archeology is not treasure hunting. Its purpose is not to recover isolated objects, such as pots or tools or arrow points, for their singular worth or interest, but to study these objects within the context in which they are found. It is the only way we can learn about the life of men, women, and children who were here before us. Arkansas’s amateur archeologists are helping piece together the past.
If you want to learn more about Arkansas’s past and take part in protecting it for the future, join the Arkansas Archeological Society. Click here for membership information.