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
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
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
A few pictures of the stolen Cedar Grove pottery