Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Keller Site
Keller Site

KELLER SITE, RESTRICTED, CALHOUN COUNTY

ELABORATION

The Keller site is a ceremonial center that was in use for approximately 600 years, first by people of the Coles Creek culture (500-600 A.D.) and later by early Caddoan people (1200 A.D.).  There may have been a terminal occupation by people of the Koroa tribe (ca.1700).  No sites have been identified for this latter group, but they are listed by John R. Swanton (Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 43, 1911) as living on the lower Ouachita River.

Clarence B. Moore of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, who was primarily interested in burials and their associated grave goods, excavated at the site in 1909.  He found no evidence of graves in Mound A; and a clay pipe was the only artifact found in Mound D.  His test of Mound C exposed five burials but only one arrow point and one vessel.  In his extensive excavation of Mound B, Moore uncovered 58 burials identified principally by fragments of teeth and skulls because preservation of bone was very poor.  From these burials he recovered 52 vessels (only eight of which are described in his report), 2 chert bifaces, three chert ‚Äúchisels", a pipe, a pottery disc, and a copper-covered wooden pendant.

The artifacts found by Moore, material seen in collections of local individuals, and surface collections made by the staff of the Arkansan Archeological Survey on periodic visits to the site indicate that the site offers a wide variety of research opportunities.  For example, the artifacts suggest the participation of the site in trade with peoples other than those in the lower Mississippi Valley, and presents the possibility of studying inter-regional influences.  Since most of the midden areas and several of the mounds are essentially undisturbed, it should be possible to study the developmental relationship between the various occupations, and the buried midden offers a chance to examine, define, and possibly date the earliest use of the site.

In addition, although not a part of this nomination, the name of the site comes from its location on the Keller plantation, and its proximity in Moore's time to the Keller Place Landing on the Ouachita River.  Although the remnants of the plantation buildings have not been located, it should be possible to do so.  This would add to our knowledge of the local ramifications of the plantation economy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Moore, C. B.  1909 Antiquities of the Ouachita Valley.  Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.  Second Series, Volume 14, Philadelphia.  pp. 91-96.