News & History

Archeologist to present on community of freed slaves who settled in Hot Springs

Submitted information | For The Arkadelphian

Victoria Reichard, park archeologist for Hot Springs National Park, will present “Forty Acres and … Some Bees? The Search for a Community of Formerly Enslaved People in Hot Springs National Park” at the next meeting of the Ouachita Chapter of the Arkansas Archeological Society.

This talk will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the board room at Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, 200 Whittington Ave., Hot Springs. The event is free and open to the public.

Documentary evidence points to the existence of a community of freedmen and freedwomen settling within current Hot Springs National Park boundaries in the late 1800s. The park recently conducted an archeological survey of this area in an attempt to locate sites that may be associated with that community.

In this presentation, Reichard will discuss the documentary evidence, the survey and its results. She will also talk about work that could be done in the future to help us understand what daily life would have been like for rural African American people living in the Ouachita Mountains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Reichard is the Park Archeologist for Hot Springs National Park. She is responsible for identifying, recording, and protecting the park’s numerous archeological sites. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Archeology from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from Wheaton College. She has worked on a variety of archeological projects in fifteen states domestically, and abroad in Israel, Ecuador, Belize, and Kiribati (Gilbert Islands). When she is not working, she enjoys hiking, antiquing, and spending time with her husband Joe and their two dogs.

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