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Sam Dellinger

Raiders of the Lost Arkansas

Robert C. Mainfort Jr.

Publication Year: 2008

Samuel C. Dellinger (1892–1973) made it his life’s work to ensure that future Arkansans would remember their state’s pre-historic past. He gathered nearly eight thousand prehistoric artifacts in order to keep them from going to out-of-state museums—including Harvard’s Peabody, the Field in Chicago, and the Smithsonian Institution—and private collectors. This collection of prehistoric Native American artifacts is now recognized as one of the finest in the country.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press


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pp. ix-xi


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p. xiii

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p. xv

In September 1994 I came to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to interview for a position with the Arkansas Archeological Survey. A highlight of those two hectic days was a visit to the University of Arkansas Museum’s collections in Vol Walker Hall. I already had a research interest in the late prehistoric societies of northeast Arkansas, and I was aware that the museum had conducted excavations ...

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p. xvii

The exhibit would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of many individuals and institutions: Old State House Museum (Bill Gatewood, director; Jo Ellen Maack, curator; Gail Moore, exhibit director; Kristen Thompson, registrar); Arkansas Archeological Survey (Thomas Green, director; Hester Davis, state archeologist emeritus; Jerry Hilliard, research associate; Mary Kwas, educational specialist; ...

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Samuel Claudius Dellinger

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pp. 1-13

SAMUEL CLAUDIUS DELLINGER, the first child of Robert H. and Laura Loftin Dellinger, was born on January 14, 1892, in Iron Station (now part of Lincolnton), North Carolina.1 After graduating from high school in the town of his birth, Dellinger attended Trinity College (later Duke University), where he was a ...

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“Arkansas for Arkansans”

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pp. 15-38

His concerns were neither unfounded, nor without precedent. For example in late 1879 through the spring of 1880, Edwin Curtiss, a Tennessean hired by the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, excavated at a number of late-prehistoric sites along the St. Francis River and procured over 900 complete pottery vessels; the entire collection was displayed prominently at the museum for a number of years.2 Curtiss’s work represents the earliest reported large excavation project in Arkansas. A few years before Curtiss, in ...

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Human Burials and the Law

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pp. 39-40

ANY OF THE archaeological specimens obtained under Dellinger’s direction, including most of those in the exhibit, were found in the graves of pre-Columbian Native Americans. During the 1930s, when most of the University of Arkansas Museum excavations were conducted, professional archaeologists throughout the United States routinely excavated the graves of ...

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History of the University of Arkansas Museum

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pp. 41-49

SAMUEL DELLINGER SERVED as curator of the University of Arkansas Museum for over 30 years, and a large portion of the museum’s collections was obtained under his leadership. He was not, however, the “founder” of the museum, nor even the first curator.1 ...

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The Exhibit Collections

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pp. 51-61

THIS CHAPTER PRESENTS an illustrated catalog comprising the bulk of the objects in the exhibit; objects curated by out-of-state institutions are shown in a previous chapter. The objects selected for the exhibit highlight what are arguably the major strengths of the University of Arkansas Museum’s archaeological collection. ...

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Northeast Arkansas [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 52-73

The rich late-prehistoric and protohistoric (between about A.D. 1350 and 1600) archaeological record of northeast Arkansas has been recognized for many years.1 Ceramic vessels from archaeological sites in the region provide the core of several major museum collections, as well as numerous private collections, and many ...

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Ozark Bluff Shelters [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 74-84

Archaeologists study the material remains of past peoples, but over a period of hundreds or thousands of years, a great deal of material culture—especially items made from organic materials—will decompose under normal conditions. Thus, at the vast majority of archaeological sites objects of wood, bark, vegetable fibers, skins, furs, and feathers have long since vanished. ...

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Central Arkansas River Valley [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 85-95

As we have seen, throughout his career at the University of Arkansas, Samuel Dellinger was very outspoken about keeping archaeological material from Arkansas within the state.30 Events in the central Arkansas River valley shortly after he began working at the university probably helped to shape Dellinger’s attitude. ...

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The Spiro Mound Group [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 96-105

Located just west of Fort Smith, Arkansas, the Spiro Mound Group is one of the most famous archaeological sites in North America because an unprecedented number of truly remarkable artifacts, dating between about A.D. 1100 and 1450, have been found there.43 Unfortunately, most of these were found when the site, and the largest mound in particular, was looted in the early 1930s. ...

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Ouachita River Valley [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 106-113

In the eighteenth century, several culturally related groups known collectively as the Caddo inhabited southwest Arkansas, including the middle and upper Ouachita River valley, and adjacent portions of Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Archaeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of modern Caddo occupied this region since at least A.D. 900 Mark R. Harrington, who spent roughly 20 months excavating ...

Detailed List of Figures and Exhibit Catalog

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pp. 115-137

Bibliography of Samuel Claudius Dellinger

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pp. 139-140

Publications, Theses, and Dissertations That Have Used the Dellinger Collections

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pp. 141-142


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pp. 143-144

E-ISBN-13: 9781610753593
E-ISBN-10: 1610753593
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557288868
Print-ISBN-10: 1557288860

Page Count: 229
Illustrations: 219 photographs
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 769114783
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Sam Dellinger

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Subject Headings

  • Arkansas -- Antiquities.
  • Indians of North America -- Arkansas -- Antiquities.
  • Dellinger, Samuel C. (Samuel Claudius), b. 1892.
  • Indianists -- Arkansas -- Biography.
  • Archaeologists -- Arkansas -- Biography.
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