Source - Antiquities of the St. Francis, White, and Black rivers, Arkansas 1910

Mounds Near Tucker Bay, Lawrence County.

Near a part of a former course of the river, known as Tucker Bay, and about one mile in a southwesterly direction from Clover Bend, in woods on property of Messrs. F. W. Tucker & Co., of Clover Bend, is a mound 5 feet in height and 47 feet across the base. This mound, of clay, had been dug into to some extent previous to our visit. Owing to the presence of trees and the need to keep the mound intact for the use of stock in times of high water, a central portion only, having a diameter of 25 feet, was removed and subsequently replaced.

In the portion dug by us were found eighteen burials, of which no fewer than nine were of children, including infants. Thirteen burials lay closely flexed, eight on the right side and five on the left. One was partly flexed on the right side; the form of burial of three was not determined owing to their decayed condition; and one was a recent disturbance.

The burials lay from near the surface to the base, one even being in a grave extending 10 inches into the clay underlying the mound. Curiously enough, while the bones of all other burials found by us in this mound were so decayed that their preservation was out of the question, the bones of this skeleton (Burial No. 12) were in fairly good condition, though the skull, unfortunately, was crushed.

Six vessels of earthenware came from this mound.

One from near the surface apparently was not associated with human remains. Its body, hemispherical, is surmounted by a short, slightly everted neck. The ware is inferior and no decoration is present.

Another vessel, or large part of a vessel, had been decorated with deep, parallel, encircling lines; two loop-handles were on opposite sides below the rim.

With a burial were fragments of an undecorated vessel of poor ware, having loop-handles; and with another burial, which had a few shell beads at the neck, were two vessels near the skull. One of these, undecorated, was in many small, disintegrating fragments. The other, badly broken and of soft, inferior ware, had been a bottle with the head of an owl forming the neck. The modeling is rude; the horns of the bird are missing through breakage. There are traces of red paint in places on the vessel.

Another burial had fragments of an undecorated pot, lying near the skull.

Burial No. 2, closely flexed on the left side, had, back of the spine, a mass of calcite wrought in the form of a cone 4.5 inches in length.

Not in connection with burials, though possibly at one time they may have been so, were a rude arrowhead of white flint, a "celt" of medium size, and a gouge 6 inches in length. The two latter objects were presented by us to the owners of the mound.

Two small, flat mounds in the neighborhood of the one just described were dug into by us without success.

Mounds Near Clover Bend, Lawrence County.

About three-quarters of a mile in a southerly direction from Clover Bend, in woods, but immediately on the border of a cultivated field, is a mound about 7 feet in height and 60 feet in diameter, on property of Messrs. F. W. Tucker & Co., whose mounds near Tucker Bay have just been described.

This mound had been dug into extensively prior to our coming. No bones or fragments of pottery were to be seen in the material thrown out from previous excavations or in the holes.

When nine trial-holes had been sunk by us to depths between 3 and 5 feet without encountering bone or artifact, further search was deemed unnecessary.

Three other small, flat mounds in the neighborhood yielded nothing to indicate other than a domiciliary use.

Mounds Near Lauratown, Lawrence County.

In a field of the Lauratown Farm, which belongs to Mrs. John K. Gibson, of Black Rock, Ark., about 200 yards from the river, are six mounds extending about one-half mile in a straight line in a southerly direction from Lauratown Landing.

These mounds, ranging in height from 2 to 10 feet, have been greatly spread by long-continued cultivation. No fragment of human bone or of pottery was apparent on their surfaces.

All were dug into by us to a considerable extent. In one was a skull in decaying fragments, near the surface, and in another part of the mound was an undecorated bottle of shell-tempered ware (as was all the ware found by us on the Lauratow11 Farm), having a stone pitted on each side over the opening where a neck formerly had been.

In another of these mounds were fragments of a skull associated with a pot and a bottle, both undecorated, each having parts missing.

About one-quarter mile in a southerly direction from this series of mounds is another, 3 feet in height and 50 feet in diameter, also greatly extended by cultivation. On its surface were numerous bits of pottery, and we were informed that vessels had been taken from this mound. If such is the case, the mound presumably had baen a domiciliary one with superficial burials, all of which were removed by former diggers or else by cultivation, for all that rewarded our search, which was a thorough one, were fragments of an undecorated vessel with loop-handles.

The southernmost field of the farm, which adjoins the field in which is the mound last described, is thickly strewn with midden debris, including great quantities of pottery in small fragments, none of which, however, bears decoration of any interest, with the exception of several bits colored bright red.

From the surface of this field was gathered a considerable collection of arrowheads and small chisels, some neatly made. There was also picked up an ear-plug of pottery of a well-known form, namely, that of a pin with thick body and large head.

In the southern part of the field, where debris lay thickest, nine trial-holes were put down without result in a slight rise of the ground which it was hoped might prove to be a cemetery.

Forty trial-holes, some of which were considerably enlarged, were sunk in the extreme southwestern corner of this field, and came upon four burials which were, with one exception, so widely apart, and were accompanied by artifacts of so little interest, that the digging was discontinued.

In a pit, about 2 feet down, lay a skeleton at full length on the back, whose lower extremities had displaced the upper part of a skeleton also originally extended. With this latter burial was a rude, asymmetrical, wide-mouthed waterbottle without decoration, and 2 feet from it a bottle which had been turned on its side at the time of the disarrangement of the burial to which it belonged. This bottle, undecorated, with a long and slightly flaring neck, was carelessly made, being irregular in form as to both body and neck. On the right shoulder and chest of the disturbing burial was a rude bowl whose sole decoration was a series of notches placed obliquely around the rim.

Another burial, an adult at full length on the back, was without artifact.

The skeleton of a child, somewhat disarranged by a blow from a spade in the hands of one of our diggers, had at the skull a pot and a bowl, both small. The bowl bears traces of red pigment inside and out. The pot has two loop-handles at opposite sides, and vertical, notched fillets opposed to each other, above one of which are two slight projections of the rim, while the other has but a single one.

All vessels from this place seemingly were the work of potters without artistic ambition and lacking in care or skill.

MOUND NEAR CORNPEN LANDING, LAWRENCE COUNTY.

This mound, about one mile in an ESE. direction from Cornpen Landing, the property of Mr. Clay Sloan, of Black Rock, Ark., shows no traces of the plow. Its height is 5 feet 3 inches; its diameter, 45 feet. The sides are comparatively steep, giving the mound the appearance of a cone truncated near the base. In the summit-plateau are two comparatively recent graves.

Nine trial-holes, extending to the base of the mound, were without result, save in one instance. Eighteen inches from the surface, below the central part of the summit-plateau, was an ornament of sheet-copper, 4.3 inches by 3.8 inches, having a central concavo-convex boss surrounded by a circle of depressions, which had been placed upon a human skull lying face upward, and had preserved parts of the upper and lower jaws with their teeth, which were stained bright green. No trace of the remainder of the skull was evident, and presumably all other parts of the burial, which probably had been that of a child, judging from the teeth, had disappeared through decay.

The trial-holes in this mound covered it fairly well, and presumably no other burials were in it, though it is impossible to say if originally there had been but a single central burial, or if a number of other burials had been in the mound, all of which had gone without leaving a trace of bone behind, though in this latter event one might have expected to find some artifact.

In three places in the field in which the mound was, where the soil seemed dark and debris of aboriginal occupancy lay upon the surface to a limited extent, unsuccessful digging was done by us.