Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Sam Dellinger: Raiders of the Lost Arkansas

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Sam Dellinger: Raiders of the Lost Arkansas

Article excerpt

Sam Dellinger: Raiders of the Lost Arkansas. By Robert C. Mainfort, Jr. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2008. Pp. xvii, 144. Preface, acknowledgments, catalog list, illustrations, map, bibliography of Samuel Dellinger, index. $39.95.)

In September 2006, members of the Arkansas Archeological Society, in Little Rock for their annual meeting, attended a reception at the Old State House Museum. The occasion was a new exhibit, and it produced wide-eyed awe on most faces in the small display room.

The attraction was 248 artifacts from Arkansas prehistory. Although the viewers had spent a great deal of their time serving the state of Arkansas by doing professional-level archaeological digging and preservation, few had ever seen the examples of pottery, stone, and shell drawn together in that room. Many were from the Arkansas collection of the University of Arkansas Museum, which has been curated at a research facility since the university closed the public space in 2003. A significant number of the artifacts, though, were on loan from major museums throughout the country and from private collectors. The exhibit was thus the first time all of this rare material had been brought together in one place.

The visitors were looking at a unique gathering of Arkansas treasures, and they knew it. On leaving the gallery, being aware that within months this spectacular collection would again be dispersed, most viewers wanted a permanent set of photographs of the artifacts. This book represents the fulfillment of that desire.

The exhibit was conceived by Bill Gatewood, director of the Old State House, who is trained in history and anthropology. He enlisted Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., anthropology professor at the University of Arkansas and archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey, as guest curator for the exhibit, which ran in 2006-2007. The major focus was not the artifacts themselves, but the person primarily responsible for the creation of the University of Arkansas Museum, Samuel C. …

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