Artifact of the Week — March 2, 2023

Posted by on March 2, 2023

Native American pottery from N. E. Johnston’s collection

Mr. Johnston was born on August 22, 1920, in Pleasant Plains, and passed on October 11, 2014. Within that span he packed in as much as possible.

As a graduate from Batesville High School in 1938, Mr. Johnston’s roots run deep in Batesville’s soil. He attended Arkansas (Lyon) College before serving in World War II in the 153rd infantry stationed in Alaska. Upon his return, he co-owned Goodwin’s Drug Store for a number of years before expanding into a wholesale dry goods business.

N. E. was a deacon at West Baptist Church, a Mason, a member of the Mount Zion Lodge #10 Scottish Rite, the Batesville Civil War Round Table, and White River Medical Center volunteer. For his years of community service, Governor Faubus bestowed upon him the Arkansas Traveler certificate, a prestigious award given to individuals whose actions prove them to be good ambassadors for the State of Arkansas.

Mr. Johnston had a penchant toward archeology, and loved finding Native American pottery in Greenbriar Bottoms in the 1950s and ‘60s and displaying it in his living room. Greenbriar Bottoms is renowned for being one of the likely areas Hernando De Soto visited (see the Encyclopedia of Arkansas article). Greenbriar was a sizeable Native American village where hundreds of pottery pieces have been unearthed over the years. Mr. Johnston’s elaborate collection was recognized for its unique specimens, and fortunately for Old Independence Regional Museum, he donated his artifact collection to us.

Large Decorative Bowl with Swirl Motif
Large Decorative Bowl with Swirl Motif

A stunning example of that pottery is this large, decorative bowl with a swirled motif. The red coloration is likely from local vegetation. While many other vessels match this style or coloration, this example is unique because of its size and stunning condition considering it is several centuries (1200 to 1500 CE) old.

We are proudly displaying a portion of that collection for Arkansas Archeology Month this March along with an abundance of other local items in our floating exhibit, “Arkansas Finds”. Come by and see what’s new at the museum!

Arkansas Archeology Month 2023
Arkansas Archeology Month 2023

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