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Dugout canoes in Arkansas subject of CMVAS lecture Dec. 1

Nov. 20, 2009 -- The Central Mississippi Valley Archeological Society will host a special lecture Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., in the ASU Museum, Room 182. Dr. Jeffrey M. Mitchem of the Arkansas Archeological Survey's Parkin Research Station will present "Dugout Canoes from Arkansas." This lecture is free and open to the public.

The rivers of Arkansas were the highways of the past, essential for covering large distances in reasonable amounts of time. It has long been assumed that the original Arkansans made and used wooden dugout canoes for river transportation. In the late 1900s, three probable Caddo dugout canoes were found in or near rivers south of Little Rock.

In 2008, a canoe was discovered in the St. Francis River in Cross County. This is the only known dugout from northeast Arkansas. After first proposing to date the canoe to the 1800s or even early 1900s, a radiocarbon dating revealed that the canoe was Mississippian, approximately 600 years old.

After some uncertainty about its ultimate fate, the canoe has traveled to Illinois, where it is undergoing treatment for permanent preservation. It will be incorporated into an exhibit at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Collinsville, Ill., where it will be seen by thousands of people for years to come.

For more information contact Dr. Julie Morrow at (870) 972-2071, or e-mail her at


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