“Casqui and Hernando de Soto’s Cross: Is Parkin the Place?” will be presented by Dr. Jeffrey Mitchem in the latest Lakeport Legacies monthly history talk on September 27 at the Lakeport Plantation, located at 601 Highway 142, in Lake Village.

The event gets underway at 5:30 p.m., with refreshments and conversation, and the program starts at 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, contact Dr. Blake Wintory at 870-265-6031or email him at [email protected]

Mitchem, an archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Parkin Research Station, will discuss recent excavations at the Parkin Site located in Cross County’s Parkin Archeological State Park. The Parkin Site has long been considered the most likely candidate to be the location of Casqui, an Indian village visited by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. The layout and position of the village site along the St. Francis River, along with indisputable Spanish artifacts found there by archeologists provide strong evidence for its identification as Casqui.

One of the events recorded in the Spanish narratives of the expedition was the construction and raising of a large wooden cross atop the mound where the chief’s house stood at Casqui. An archeological project in 1966 encountered possible remnants of the base of the cross, and samples were taken before it was covered over. Study of the samples in the 1990s supported the 1500s dating of the possible base and identified the wood as bald cypress.

In 2016, archeologists from the Arkansas Archeological Survey returned to the location of the earlier find and exposed the post base encountered in 1966. The aims were to collect additional radiocarbon samples and to attempt to derive a tree-ring date from the post. The 2016 investigations were supported by a grant from the Elfrieda Frank Foundation.

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held on the last Thursday at the Lakeport Plantation during the spring and summer. Each month a topic from the Delta region is featured. The Lakeport Plantation is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site. Constructed in 1859, Lakeport is one of Arkansas’s premier historic structures and still retains many of its original finishes and architectural details.

Open to the public since 2007, Lakeport researches and interprets the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi River Delta, focusing on the Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction Periods.

Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. A-State’s Heritage Sites include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Lakeport Plantation, the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, and the Arkansas State University Museum.

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