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Relic hunting, the goal of which is to find valuable or rare artifacts, is a far cry from archaeology, where the goal is to learn something new about the past by careful excavation, mapping, and thorough documentation of all recovered materials. Since 1999, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Research Station of the Arkansas Archeological Survey has been conducting an archaeological resources survey of Cross Hollow, an area in Northwest Arkansas extending for two miles from the intersection of Old Wire Road and Cross Hollows Road east to Monte Ne on Beaver Lake in Benton County.
A Confederate Encampment at Cross Hollow, Benton County JERRY HILLIARD, MIKE EVANS, JARED PEBWORTH, AND CARL CARLSON- DREXLER THE SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION OF AMERICAN BATTLEFIELDS and military camps is a relatively recent endeavor for professional archaeologists, at least compared to the study of other types of historical sites. Such studies have yielded a phenomenal amount of detailed information not contained in the archival record. Given how thoroughly the documentary record has been mined by historians, the archaeology of Civil War sites may be the primary source of further information about well-known battlefields and encampments. It also offers an opportunity to learn about past conflicts without relying exclusively on the accounts or reminiscences of the partic- ipants, which can be shaded by the stress of war. For example, in Arkansas, troop movements and battlefield lines at Prairie Grove and Pea Ridge have been more precisely located by analyzing the distribution of artillery ord- nance.1 Unfortunately, for countless encampments, skirmish sites, and minor battlefields, time may be running out for archaeologists. Every year many sites are damaged or destroyed by development, relic hunters’ unsystem- atic and ill-informed excavations, or, in some cases, both. What is lost— although relic hunters often claim that they are “saving the past” by dig- 1 Douglas D. Scott, Richard A. Fox, Jr., Melissa A. Conner, and Dick Harmon, Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989); Malcolm D. Williamson, “Predictive Modeling of Civil War Artillery Artifact Dispersion Using Geographic Information Systems” (honors thesis, Uni- versity of Arkansas, 1993). Jerry Hilliard is survey research associate, and Mike Evans and Jared Pebworth are archeological as- sistants at the Arkansas Archeological Survey in Fayetteville. Carl Carlson-Drexler is an intern at the College of William and Mary Center for Archeological Research. THE ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY VOL. LXVII, NO. 4, WINTER 2008 360 ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY ging these threatened sites
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