Archeological Survey and Caddo Nation rename site in Sevier County

(Photo contributed)
(Photo contributed)

The Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) and the Caddo Nation jointly announce the re-naming of a major archeological site in Sevier County. Known historically as "Holman Springs," the site is now named "Nakuukuwidish," which means "Place of the Water-Salt" in Caddo. "Holman Springs" remains as an alternate site name.

Placed next to a salt marsh, this village and work site was a major Caddo salt production area from the 1300s until the 1500s. It has been called "Holman Springs" since it was documented in the 1960s because the landowner was Jean Holman, and a landowner name was an easy way of identifying sites at the time. Nakuukuwidish, developed with the assistance of Edmond Johnson, a fluent speaker of the Caddo language, better connects the name to the people who left the archeological record at the site.

The name of an archeological site affects how we understand its connections to the present. Nakuukuwidish emphasizes the connection between the Caddo people today, who are caring custodians of their people's legacy and heritage, and their ancestors who lived and worked near what is now DeQueen, AR. The site is the focus of a major ongoing research project by the ARAS, so having this new Caddo name allows us to emphasize that connection in print and presentations. It is also a small way in which archeologists, tribal representatives, and local communities can collaborate in joint efforts to improve our understanding of the deep history of the Caddo Nation and the State of Arkansas.

The Arkansas Archeological Survey (ARAS) was established by statute in 1967 to study Arkansas' past, to preserve and manage information about archeological sites, and to share this knowledge with the public. ARAS maintains 10 research stations staffed by PhD-level archeologists distributed across Arkansas, as well as a Coordinating Office in Fayetteville also managing more than 7 million artifacts in the ARAS holdings. The Arkansas Archeological Survey is part of the University of Arkansas System.

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