Prehistoric American Indian Program at Old Independence Regional Museum

Published By:Cathy Drew Date:

Prehistoric American Indian Program

 

Old Independence Regional Museum will host a presentation by Batesville attorney Scott Davidson at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. His topic will be “Prehistoric Art of Independence County and northern Arkansas.”

Davidson is well-respected for his knowledge on this subject. “I have been a collector of prehistoric native American artifacts for over 40 years,” Davidson said. “I have enjoyed speaking on this subject in many schools and at civic clubs in the past.” He has also served as an officer in national amateur archaeological and artifact collecting societies.

“I invite attendees to bring any artifacts they have for discussion and identification,” Davidson said.

 

The Museum has an exhibit in its entry area that shows the life of Indians that lived near Batesville. A panel of facts and a display of pottery, many pieces donated by Davidson, tell about these early people. Their villages lay scattered along the White River, between 500 to 800 years ago.

 

The nearest one to Batesville is called the Greenbrier Site. They were part of what archeologists call “Mississippian” culture that flourished across most of eastern North America. When building a new house, they set upright posts in the ground and wove split cane or branches between them. Clay was pressed (daubed) onto the cane to make a solid wall. Roofs were thatched.

 

Using stone, wood, and bone, they created the tools they needed: hoes, arrow points, and axes. Knives and scrapers were chipped from stone and used to prepare hides for clothing or bags or for night covers. Women ground corn or nuts on grinding stones, and they used local clay to create bowls and pots and jars for their daily use.

 

Corn was their principal crop, and they hunted deer, bear, and small animals. They also gathered nuts and berries when they were in season. When members died, they were buried in cemeteries with rituals and often with symbols of their lives and rank on earth, such as pots, tools, and regalia.

 

The museum cautions, however, that people who dig for pots disturb these graves, and they destroy important clues about who these Mississippian people were and how they lived.

 

The program will be free and open to the public. Normal museum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors and $1.00 for children. The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.

 

Old Independence is a regional museum serving a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff. Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820’s Arkansas territory.