Central States Archaeological Societies
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Theft of the Cedar Grove collections from the AAS

by Jamie C. Brandon, Research Station Archeologist

 

Southern Arkansas University

On the afternoon of Thursday, August 3, 2006, personnel of the Arkansas Archaeological Survey, Southern Arkansas University Research Station, discovered that 27 whole and reconstructed late period Caddo ceramic vessels had been stolen from the Cedar Grove collection. The loss of these vessels is a terrible blow to the AAS-SAU Research Station staff, volunteers and the greater archeological community. The loss is all the more acute as these were pots held in trust for the Federal Government and were eventually to be repatriated to the Caddo Nation.

The items were stolen from the new station facility in the Bruce Center (formerly the student union) on the SAU campus in Magnolia, Arkansas. The Cedar Grove collection was stored in a locked room off the main laboratory and was separated from the rest of the AAS-SAU collections in preparation for shipping to Fayetteville. The theft occurred sometime between May and July of 2006.

Archaeologically, the stolen items are part of one of the best documented Caddoan whole-vessel ceramic assemblages in Arkansas. Excavations were initiated at the Cedar Grove site (3LA97) in 1980 when both historic burials and a late period prehistoric Caddo site (ca.1650-1750AD) were discovered along the Red River in Lafayette County, Arkansas, during the construction of the Field Revetment by the New Orleans District of the Corps of Engineers.

Excavations were undertaken during the fall and winter of 1980 with an Arkansas Archeological Survey Contract Program crew under the direction of Neal Trubowitz and a crew of volunteers led by Frank Schambach. The entire ceramic vessel assemblage consisted of 67 whole or partially reconstructible vessels recovered from 12 grave lots. These vessels have been photographed, illustrated, measured, extensively analyzed, reported on and published (e.g.Schambach and Miller 1984).

These vessels are from graves subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. If transported across state lines, they are subject to the Federal Archaeological Resource Protection Act. The thieves can be prosecuted under two separate federal laws as well as state law. The SAU Police Department is working with the FBI.

If you have any information about the missing Cedar Grove vessels contact:

Thomas J. Green, Director
Arkansas Archaeological Survey
2475 N. Hatch Avenue, Fayetteville AR
72704 479.575.3556 or 479.442.0261

Jamie C. Brandon, Research Station Archaeologist
Arkansas Archeological Survey
Southern Arkansas University
870.235.4229

A few pictures of the stolen Cedar Grove pottery

 

 

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