Barker hired as new director of Arkansas Archeological Survey, pending board approval

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Alex Barker, past president of the American Anthropological Association, has been named the new director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.

University of Arkansas system president Donald Bobbitt will recommend Barker to the University of Arkansas board of trustees for approval when the system’s governing body meets Nov. 17-18 at the University of Arkansas on the Pine Bluff campus.

Barker would replace George Sabo, III, who retired on June 30 after about eight years as director and about 42 years with the Arkansas Archeological Survey. Melissa Zabecki, state archaeologist at the Arkansas Archeological Survey, has served as an interim director since Sabo’s retirement.

The job of the Arkansas Archeological Survey, an entity of the University of Arkansas system, is to study and protect archaeological sites in the state; to preserve and manage the information and the collections of these sites; and communicate what its staff are learning.

It has 10 research stations – seven on state college campuses, two in state parks, and one at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute of the UA System. The stations are located at the State University of Arkansas, Jonesboro; Henderson State University, Arkadelphia; Parkin Archaeological State Park in Cross County; State Archaeological Park Toltec Mounds County Lonoke; UA-Fayetteville; the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith; the University of Arkansas at Monticello; the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; and University of South Arkansas, Magnolia.

Barker holds a BA in Anthropology from Marquette University, an MA in Anthropology from Wichita State University and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.

He worked as Director of the Museum of Art & Archeology at the University of Missouri and as Vice President of Collections and Research and Curator of North American Archeology at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Barker also worked as Acting Executive Director, Director of Science Programs, Director of Research and Collections, and Curator of Archeology at the Dallas Museum of Natural History.

His employee contract would run from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026, with an annual starting salary of $ 125,000, according to the agreement between Barker and UA System.


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