Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Degree Level





Leslie C. Stewart-Abernathy

Committee Member

George Sabo, III

Second Committee Member

Jerome C. Rose

Third Committee Member

Jeannie Whayne


Social sciences, Arkansas, Ceramics, Trade, Transportation


In this dissertation I present a method to study transportation using ceramic diversity and access to transportation infrastructure. Ceramic tableware richness, or the number of types present, is analyzed over time as a proxy for access to local transportation infrastructure at seven sites in Arkansas, dating from approximately 1800 to 1930. Previous efforts to look at trade in historical archaeology including Adams (1976), Riordan and Adams (1985), and Adams, Bowers, and Mills (2001) have not thoroughly assessed transportation as a means of trade. This dissertation looks at the many ways of assessing diversity in archaeology, biology, business, and economics, as well as gravity models for assessing trade and landscapes in geography and archaeology. Ceramic diversity was assessed at the following seven historic archaeological sites in Arkansas: Bright and Montgomery (3AR47), at Arkansas Post, Ashley Mansion (3PU256) in Little Rock, Lot 9 at Davidsonville Historic State Park (3RA40), the Block House (3HE236-19) and the Sanders House (3HE236-32) both in Historic Washington State Park, the Ridge House (3WA209) in Fayetteville, and the Moser Farmstead (3BE311), in Benton County. The ceramic diversity was compared to Borchert's (1967:307) transportation improvement epochs using histograms of the number of patterns by the epoch that the patterns date range falls within. Finally these histograms were discussed in comparison to the historic modes of transport that were available to the residents who lived at the site in question, and general trends in ceramic diversity and transportation access for the state of Arkansas are discussed. The histograms show that river transportation modes including keelboats and steamboats may have a larger impact on ceramic diversity on these historic Arkansas archaeological sites than does railroad transport.