Morehouse Parish is rich in archaeological sites, but it’s not every day that a local discovery gets nationwide publicity.
Vester’s Crossing, a turn of the century ferry site in Bayou Bartholomew, is included in the January/February 2012 edition of Archaeology magazine. The current edition hit newsstands just before the holidays.
The site was discovered by Joe Rolfe of Oak Ridge while paddling the bayou with river guide John Ruskey in September. Dennis Jones with the Louisiana Division of Archaeology later visited the site and recorded the wooden ruins and debris field as the site of Vester’s Ferry, which carried citizens across the bayou prior to construction of the first Old Berlin Highway bridge in 1920.
Vester’s Crossing is one of 10 archaeological discoveries from last year to be published in Archaeology's "World Roundup" section, together with such diverse finds as the skeletal remains of a famous Australian outlaw and 1.78 million-year-old hand axes excavated in Kenya.
The magazine notes the importance of ferries for transportation in 19th-century Louisiana, and the possibility that the site could become part of the Bayou Bartholomew paddle trail project now under development by local volunteers.
Archaeology magazine has been published by the Archaeological Institute of America for 60 years and has an estimated 750,000 readers in the U.S. and Canada. Copies of the current edition can be found at many bookstores, including Books A Million in Monroe.
Vester’s Crossing is the 186th local archaeological site to be recorded with the state and only the second non-American Indian site in Morehouse Parish. The ferry ruins are planned for inclusion in an Arkansas Educational Television Network documentary on the history of Bayou Bartholomew, now in production.
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