Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 4, 2003 - The Annual Thomas Beckwith Memorial Lecture will be held April 24 at Southeast Missouri State University.

The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the University Museum galleries. Admission is free and open to the public.

Dr. Leslie Stewart-Abernathy will be the featured speaker for this year's Beckwith Lecture. The topic of this year's lecture is "Ghost Boats on the Mississippi: Discovering Our Working Past."

Stewart-Abernathy is an archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey. He earned his doctoral degree from Brown University, completing a dissertation entitled "Landscape, Community and 'The Community at Palmers River:' Settling a River System, 1665-1737." He contributed as an author and an editor to multiple chapters of the upcoming book Ghost Boats on the Mississippi: Discovering Our Working Past. Stewart-Abernathy also has been published in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Historical Archaeology and Mississippi Archaeology.

Stewart-Abernathy will discuss the watercraft remains found on the bottom of the Mississippi River at West Memphis, Ark., in 1988. Record-low water levels exposed remains of several vessels dating to the late 1800s and early 1900s, including two model barges, a coal flat, a stern wheel steamboat and a tiny johnboat. The State of Arkansas and the Arkansas Archeological Survey sponsored a two-month data recovery effort, thus allowing professionals and volunteers to document the construction and heritage of some of the last expressions of the "Wooden Age" on the Mississippi River.

The Annual Thomas Beckwith Memorial Lecture series began in 1913 as part of the agreement under which Thomas Beckwith donated his collection of Mississippian artifacts to the University, then Normal School. The series highlights research in archeology.

This lecture is supported by a congressionally directed grant administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


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