Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Station at HSU

Mary Beth Trubitt

What was life like in southwest Arkansas hundreds of years ago? That’s the question that the Arkansas Archeological Survey's Research Station at Henderson State University is answering. The purpose of the HSU Station is to serve as a research and resource center for a nine-county region of west-central Arkansas. Archeological research by HSU Station personnel has focused on understanding ancient Caddo Indian life from sites in the Ouachita, Caddo, and Saline river valleys, and learning about how local residents used resources such as Arkansas Novaculite quarried from the Ouachita Mountains. Survey archeologists assist other state agencies, maintain archeological records and collections, teach anthropology courses, and host outreach activities in the community. 

Contact Information:

Mary Beth D. Trubitt, Ph.D.
Station Archeologist
Arkansas Archeological Survey
HSU Box 7841
Arkadelphia, AR 71999-0001
Telephone 870-230-5510
Email or

The HSU Station is located in Huneycutt House

 NEWSFLASH:  The Arkansas Archeological Survey is hiring! Position announcements are out to fill several jobs, including the research assistant here at AAS/HSU. Vanessa Hanvey, who has been a wonderful part of our station for the last three years, is leaving to attend graduate school.

 NEWSFLASH:  We have launched our new website, "Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection." This website highlights an important regional raw material used by Indians for making stone tools and still used today for whetstones. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.   

 NEWSFLASH:  The AAS/HSU Research Station will again be hosting the annual Arkansas Archeological Society training program (the "Society Dig") at a site in the Ouachita National Forest in June, 2014. Information is now up on the Society's website or contact Dr. Trubitt at . Visit our "From Domestication to DeSoto" project page to learn more about this research and our initial results.  

 NEWSFLASH:  Congratulations to the Ouachita Chapter of the Arkanas Archeological Society for receiving an Arkansas Heritage Month grant! The chapter has created a children's book about what Caddo Indians living in the Ouachita Mountains ate, based on results from the 2013 Society training program dig. Chapter members have been giving book readings and distributing copies of the book to elementary schools in the region. This program was made possible in part by a grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, funded by your 1/8 cent conservation tax, Amendment 75. 

Arkansas Archeological Survey

    The Henderson State University Archeological Research Station is part of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  Created by the state legislature in 1967, the mission of the Arkansas Archeological Survey is to conserve and research the state's heritage and communicate this information to the public. The Arkansas Archeological Survey is administered as a unit of the University of Arkansas System. The Survey has eleven research stations across the state.  The station archeologist at the HSU Station is tasked with archeological research, teaching, and public service.  Dr. Mary Beth Trubitt teaches anthropology courses in HSU's Department of Sociology and Human Services, and is also a research associate professor in University of Arkansas's Department of Anthropology.  Ms. Vanessa Hanvey is the research assistant at the Survey's HSU research station.  She also maintains the station Facebook page, which can be found at: .


What is anthropology?  What do anthropologists do?  The American Anthropological Association has launched a new website, "This is Anthropology," that highlights careers in this field.


What have we been doing?  The Arkansas Archeological Survey's 2012-2013 Annual Report can be downloaded HERE.


Current Activities

At the HSU Station of the Arkansas Archeological Survey, research, teaching, and service go hand-in-hand. Here are some highlights of our current activities.



    • Mary Beth Trubitt presented results of comparisons between Caddo and Cahokia fineware ceramics using INAA (by Trubitt, Perttula, Selden, and Ferguson) at the 2014 Mississippian Conference held at Cahokia Mounds in Illinois in July, 2014.

    •  Caddo Connections: Cultural Interactions within and beyond the Caddo World, by Jeffrey S. Girard, Timothy K. Perttula, and Mary Beth Trubitt, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in April, 2014. A copy is available in Huie Library.

    • Meeks Etchieson and Mary Beth Trubitt's article about novaculite quarrying and stone tool production by Indians in the Ouachita Mountains has been published in North American Archaeologist  (Volume 34, number 4, 2013).

    • Vanessa Hanvey has published "Predictive Modeling of a Caddo Structure in the Ouachita Mountains, Montgomery County, Arkansas," in the 2014 Caddo Archeology Journal. This paper was first presented at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Tampa in November, 2013. At the same conference, Tyler Stumpf presented the poster that he and Mary Beth Trubitt prepared, "Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection."

    • A short article by Mary Beth Trubitt on the “Arkansas Novaculite: A Virtual Comparative Collection” website appears in Southeastern Archaeological Conference’s Horizon & Tradition e-newsletter, and an article by Trubitt, Anne Dowd, and Meeks Etchieson has been published in The Quarry, the e-newslettter of the Society for American Archaeology's Prehistoric Quarries & Early Mines Interest Group.
      • Research presentations at the annual Arkansas Archeological Society meeting in Conway in September, 2013, included a discussion of the Ouachita Chapter's grant process by Vanessa Hanvey and Florence Davis, and a report on the summer training program excavations in Montgomery County by Meeks Etchieson and Mary Beth Trubitt. Trubitt and Etchieson received an Archeological Research Fund grant from the Society for new AMS dates on charred plant samples from 3MN298 to interpret chronology and foodways of this ancient community in the Ouachita Mountains. This research has now been published in the March/April 2014 Field Notes (newsletter of the Arkansas Archeological Society).
      • Vanessa Hanvey published results of radiocarbon dating from a site in Saline County in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of Field Notes (newsletter of the Arkansas Archeological Society). This date was funded by a grant from the Arkansas Archeological Society's Archeological Research Fund. Hanvey had previously presented results of this project at the 2013 Caddo Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 
      • A new article reporting results of Mary Beth Trubitt and Lucretia Kelly's grant-funded research on the Cahokia Palisade Project appears in the December 2012 issue of Illinois Antiquity.  For a closer look at the Mississippian mound center of Cahokia, click here.  For a list of Trubitt's recent publications, click here
      • We continue to research Middle Archaic period stone tool manufacture and trade.  What's the latest on the Jones Mill Archeological Project? Find results of recent grant-funded archeological research on "Reconstructing Ancient Foodways" at the Jones Mill site.
      • Join HSU students and volunteers from the Arkansas Archeological Society in on-going work in the Archeology Lab.  For current schedule, contact me

    Teaching and Mentoring 

      • Students at Henderson State University can take courses in anthropology and archeology towards a minor in Anthropology. Several of these courses fulfill HSU's nonwestern culture core requirement.
      • Prof. Trubitt teaches several Anthropology courses in the HSU Department of Sociology, Human Services, and Criminal Justice:
      • Current students: go to Angel to find up-to-date information and course materials for your Fall 2014 Anthropology courses.
      • In addition, HSU students may tailor their own independent study with Prof. Trubitt as ANT 4083, "Readings and Research in Anthropology."
      • From time to time, Prof. Trubitt teaches an intensive summer archeological field methods course as ANT 3096, "Archeology Field School."
      • Dr. Trubitt has mentored graduate students and served on thesis committees for students at the University of Arkansas and at Henderson State University.  Some recent graduates include:
        • Kristin D. Scarr (M.A. 2008 University of Arkansas, Department of Anthropology), "Trace Element Studies of the Arkansas Novaculite."
        • Linda Evans (M.L.A. 2012 Henderson State University), "Amateur Archeologists in the Ouachita River Valley during the Great Depression."
        • James R. Duke (M.L.A. 2010 Henderson State University), "Anasazi Astronomy."
        • Terri Taylor Menefee (M.L.A. 2005 Henderson State University), "Smoke Signals."
        • Donald R. Bowles (M.L.A. 2003 Henderson State University), "The Native American and White America: A Saga of the Trail of Bitter Tears."


    Service to the Community

    • The Ouachita Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society created four "portable educational murals" to celebrate Arkansas Heritage Month in May, 2013. These banners -- "Barkman House in Clark County: Life on the Home Front during the Civil War,” “The Civilian Conservation Corps and Garland County,” “Caddo Indians in Saline County: Ancient Mounds as Structures,” and“Caddo Indians in Montgomery County: Ancient Mounds and Structures” -- are now available for loan to area schools, libraries, museums, and visitor's centers. Contact Mary Beth Trubitt at 870-230-5510 or to schedule one. The banners were made possible in part by a grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, funded by your 1/8 cent conservation tax, Amendment 75.
    • Trubitt and Hanvey recently attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the DeSoto Bluff Trail in Arkadelphia. This new walking trail features interpretive signs about the area's history and culture. Trubitt advised the group creating the signs about Caddo Indian history in Clark County.
    • Trubitt and Hanvey have been invited to speak to many civic groups and schools about Indians in Arkansas and current research at the AAS/HSU station. Trubitt was a speaker at the April 2012 "Girls of Promise" conference sponsored by the Women's Foundation of Arkansas and hosted by HSU and OBU, introducing the girls to science--related careers in archeology. 
    • Trubitt has served as humanities scholar on Arkansas Humanities Council cemetery preservation grants - see Helms Cemetery project page for an example of cemetery documentation. 
    • Want to find out more about archeology and Indians in Arkansas?  Visit the Arkansas Archeological Survey's Education Program webpage for handouts and flyers, and the "Indians of Arkansas" website to learn about who lived here before us.


    Professional Service

    • Trubitt currently serves on the Patty Jo Watson Award committee for the Southeastern Archaeological Conference. The Patty Jo Watson Award annually recognizes the best article or book chapter published on Southeastern archaeology.
    • Trubitt serves on the Media Relations Committee for the Society for American Archaeology. She has served on the Gene S. Stuart Award Committee and the 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee for this professional organization.
    • Trubitt is past-president of the Caddo Conference Organization, a group established to promote interest in and knowledge of the archaeology, history, and ethnology of the Caddo area and the Caddo Indians.


    Web page last updated 22 August 2014.  Web page contact:  M. B. Trubitt,

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