More Than 80,000 Historic Artifacts Found During Rupple Road Archaeological Dig

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A team of archaeologists revealed findings from a five month dig for historic artifacts during a public presentation, hosted by the Ko-ko-ci Chapter of the Arkansas Archaeological Society, Tuesday (May 8).

The dig was prompted by a routine archaeological survey, required when using federal funds for projects. In October 2017, a full scale dig was underway, near what will eventually become the new extension of Rupple Road near W. Mount Comfort Road.

Through the next five months, a team of 21 from Flat Earth Archeology dug and sifted through a section of land near Hamestring Creek.

"It was a lot of fun, but also very hard," said Lyndsay Ballew, who was one of three archaeologists to monitor the dig. "Winter is not the ideal time for excavation, but you know we don't always have tight control over when it's going to happen."

The excavation was implemented through three stages, with the third and final revealing historic and prehistoric artifacts, ranging from the Late Paleo-Indian period through the early 20th century.

"We had everything from historic artifacts which might be, say 100 to 150 years old, all the way back to prehistoric artifacts," said Pritam Chowdhury of Flat Earth Archeology.

In all, more than 80,000 cultural artifacts were unearthed, with much of them related to stone tools, commonly known today as arrow heads or spear points.

"Most of those artifacts are the result of lithic reduction or tool manufacturing," said Eric Mills, VP of operations at Flat Earth Archeology. "So, they're be small flakes that are the result of flint knapping."

The dig halted the extension project of Rupple Road, through what is now a field, to the east to meet up with another section of Rupple Road. Work is expected to ramp up on the project over the next few weeks, with an estimated completion date in 2019.

After the artifacts are cataloged, they will be returned to the University of Arkansas for curation, which Ballew said will help with future research and education.

"There are a lot of prehistoric culture groups we really don't know very much about, because there is no written record," Ballew said. "This is the only way to kind of add those chapters back to the history book."