Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Toltec Mounds State Park, Arkansas

This week for Travel Tuesday I am going to introduce you to something different, something that many of you have probably never heard of or considered visiting.
Today's post will likely appeal more to those who enjoy American Ancient History as well as Native American Archaeological digs and sights.




Most people when they think of Native American Indian sites, think of Teepee's and Petroglyphs. Not a lot of people think about Indian Mounds, which is why I am showcasing this little visit I took and enjoyed while I was visiting Arkansas.



Unless your a historian, you probably wouldn't consider this place a vacation destination.  I personally don't either.  However, if your going to be in the area.  This is an interesting place to stretch your legs and visit and learn about.  It could take all of 30 minutes to an hour, it just depends on your walking speed really.  As the Plum Bayou trail around the area is about 1.6 miles long, but can be shortened if wanted.



Toltec Mounds State Park is actually one of the largest archaeological sites in the lower Mississippi Valley.  Originally their were 18 mounds but now because of erosion and farming only 3 remain.



What is an Indian Mound?
It's basically a mound of dirt, the highest right now at 49 feet.  Very possibly higher back in 650 to 1050 A.D. when they were built.

How were they built?  Back then they didn't have the tools we had, so they were built up from flat ground by hand, possibly pots or other ways to carry the dirt in, but all by hand nonetheless.



Why were they built?
Now depending on who you ask, they may have a different ideas of who the Indian's were who once occupied this land, and build the mounds.
After all, other than ancient texts which don't cover a whole lot, it's all really up for speculation.
Some will tell you for religious ceremonies, battle purposes, living residences, dances, games ect...



Well because this is my blog, I will just tell you my theory (so don't take it for anything other than that.)  I think it was likely all of the above.
They are in a lower valley, and low valley's flood.  So why not build up taller mounds to protect their homes and food from flood waters.  Or to create quick safe haven's to run to when possible flooding occurs.



People througout time do things for a purpose or just to do them.  Look at the crazy things we build now days ourselves.  So who knows really, but one thing for sure is.  If you are going to break your back to carry that much dirt and create tall mounds like that.  Your probably doing it for a purpose, and to me flooding would be an excellent purpose!

My guess is, these mounds at one time held their structure's, or homes!



Where did these people go so long ago?
This is another thing that depending on who you ask, you'll get different guesses.

The theory I hold my belief in is warfare.  If your a scripture reader, and not that I am a scriptorian by any means.  But based on the information about the different battles back in those days, I would say they were destroyed during the massive wars during that time.
If you believe in that theory, then at one time the river and water ways pictured here were rumored to have been littered with thousands of warrior bodies.

However, if you don't go with that route, it's also possible they died off from disease or just plain moved on to other areas.



But that is half the fun about these area's, it's all open for speculation and you can really let your imagination go, if you like that kind of thing.  Which I do!
However, if you really like to dig into things.  The Smithsonian has tons of stuff on this that hasn't even been cataloged or even begun to dive into.  This includes the mounds in several states and area's in America.  So if that is your thing, then that is something to consider.



You'll also pass Mound Lake, which in my pictures looks a little eery, but that is because I visited in the spring just before everything became green and alive.




There is a visitor center, which I recommend stopping by.  That is where you'll learn pretty much the majority.  You can pay your entrance fee, and they'll give you a little booklet to help you have a more educational walk when you go out to walk around the mounds.




IF YOU GO:
* They do charge (at the time I went $4) to go through the museum.
*  This is a great stop to do if your traveling the area, it could take as short or as long as you'd like it to be.
*  Not too far from Little Rock, Arkansas
*  There are also a few other local attractions and museums nearby in the same area.




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