The secrets of the Richards Bridge site in Crittenden County will be the topic of Dr. Jeffrey Mitchem’s discussion at the December 1 meeting of the Tunican Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus.

Every year, the Arkansas Archeological Society holds a training program, or “Society Dig” where individuals interested in archeology can gain experience in all phases of archeological research by working with professional archeologists. The 2015 Society Dig was held at the Richards Bridge site in Crittenden County in northeast Arkansas. It is one of about 25 known sites of the Late Mississippian (A.D. 1350-1600) Parkin phase, and it is located along the Tyronza River at edge of the Parkin phase territory.

Dr. Liz Horton excavating at the Arkansas Archeological Society's annual training program at Richard’s Bridge

Dr. Liz Horton excavating at the Arkansas Archeological Society’s annual training program at Richard’s Bridge

Dr. Jeffrey Mitchem

Dr. Jeffrey Mitchem

Dr. Jeff Mitchem will tell how excavations at the Richards Bridge site have provided insights into some of the preconceived notions about the Parkin phase people. For one thing, the village was not surrounded by a defensive ditch or moat, which is considered a hallmark of the Parkin phase. Information from geophysical surveys and excavations demonstrates that the site was not occupied for more than a generation or two, and the well-preserved deposits are shedding light on architecture, subsistence, and other aspects of day-to-day life. The 2016 Society Dig will return to the site to continue the investigations.

Dr. Mitchem received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He is currently the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Research Station Archeologist for Parkin Archeological State Park and a Research Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville. He joined the Survey in 1990 to establish the Parkin research station, following appointments at Florida State University and Louisiana State University. His specializations include late prehistoric and early historic archeology of the Southeast and the Mississippi Valley, early Spanish contact sites in the New World, ceramic technology, glass bead studies, and the history of archeology in the Southeast.

Hear Mitchem’s talk about Mississippian house sites and the Arkansas Archeological Society’s annual training program on December 1 at 6 p.m. in UAM’s School of Forestry and Natural Resources Conference Room. The meeting is potluck. Take a dish to share. Food will be served at 6 p.m. and the presentation will start around 6:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.