Illustrated overview of the site
|Location|| Scott, Arkansas, Lonoke County, Arkansas, |
|Region||Lonoke County, Arkansas|
|Cultures||Plum Bayou culture|
|Architectural styles||platform mounds, burial mounds, plazas|
|Architectural details||Number of monuments:|
Toltec Mounds Site
|NRHP reference #||73000382|
|Added to NRHP||January 12, 1973|
|Designated NHL||June 2, 1978|
|Responsible body: State|
Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park (3 LN 42), also known as Knapp Mounds, Toltec Mounds Site or Toltec Mounds, is an archaeological site from the Late Woodland period in Arkansas that protects an 18-mound complex with the tallest surviving prehistoric mounds in Arkansas. The site is on the banks of Mound Lake, an oxbow lake of the Arkansas River. It was occupied by its original inhabitants from 600 to 1050 CE.The site is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Smithsonian trinomials are unique identifiers assigned to archaeological sites in many states in the United States. They are composed of one or two digits coding for the state, typically two letters coding for the county or county-equivalent within the state, and one or more sequential digits representing the order in which the site was listed in that county. The Smithsonian Institution developed the site number system in the 1930s and 1940s. The 48 states then in the union were assigned numbers in alphabetical order. Alaska was assigned number 49 and Hawaii was assigned number 50 after those states were admitted to the union. There are no Smithsonian trinomial numbers assigned for the District of Columbia or any United States territories.
In the classification of Archaeological cultures of North America, the Woodland period of North American pre-Columbian cultures spanned a period from roughly 1000 BCE to European contact in the eastern part of North America, with some archaeologists distinguishing the Mississippian period, from 1000 CE to European contact as a separate period. The term "Woodland Period" was introduced in the 1930s as a generic term for prehistoric sites falling between the Archaic hunter-gatherers and the agriculturalist Mississippian cultures. The Eastern Woodlands cultural region covers what is now eastern Canada south of the Subarctic region, the Eastern United States, along to the Gulf of Mexico.
Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
The identification of the site with the Toltec of Mexico was a 19th-century mistake. Mrs. Gilbert Knapp, owner of the land from 1857 to 1900, thought the Toltecs had built the mounds.
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The later Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tōllān[ˈtoːlːaːn] as the epitome of civilization; in the Nahuatl language the word Tōltēcatl[toːlˈteːkat͡ɬ] (singular) or Tōltēcah[toːlˈteːkaʔ] (plural) came to take on the meaning "artisan". The Aztec oral and pictographic tradition also described the history of the Toltec Empire, giving lists of rulers and their exploits.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Investigations at the site by archaeologist Edward Palmer from the Smithsonian Institutions Bureau of American Ethnology in 1883 and by others since have proved that the indigenous ancestors of regional Native Americans had built these mounds and all other mounds within the present-day United States. They were part of mound building cultures that flourished from the Late Archaic period into the Protohistoric period.They built earthwork mounds for religious, political and ceremonial purposes, connecting them to their cosmology.
Edward Palmer (1829–1911) was a self-taught British botanist and early American archaeologist.
The Smithsonian Institution, founded on August 10, 1846 "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge," is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. Originally organized as the "United States National Museum," that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.
The Bureau of American Ethnology was established in 1879 by an act of Congress for the purpose of transferring archives, records and materials relating to the Indians of North America from the Interior Department to the Smithsonian Institution. But from the start, the bureau's visionary founding director, John Wesley Powell, promoted a broader mission: "to organize anthropologic research in America." Under Powell, the bureau organized research-intensive multi-year projects; sponsored ethnographic, archaeological and linguistic field research; initiated publications series ; and promoted the fledgling discipline of anthropology. It prepared exhibits for expositions and collected anthropological artifacts for the Smithsonian United States National Museum. In addition, the BAE was the official repository of documents concerning American Indians collected by the various US geological surveys, especially the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region and the Geological Survey of the Territories. It developed a manuscript repository, library and illustrations section that included photographic work and the collection of photographs.
The people who built the mounds at the Toltec site had a culture distinct from other contemporary Native American groups in the Mississippi Valley. Archaeologists named theirs the Plum Bayou culture, after a local waterway. Plum Bayou sites are found throughout the White River and Arkansas River floodplains of central and eastern Arkansas, but are also found as far west as the eastern Ozark Mountains. Toltec is the largest site of the Plum Bayou culture. Their relationships with neighboring cultures such as the Coles Creek culture to the south and Fourche Maline culture to the southwest are still under investigation.The people lived in permanent villages and hamlets throughout the countryside. They built sturdy houses, farmed, gathered wild plants, fished, and hunted.
Plum Bayou culture is a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that lived in what is now east-central Arkansas from 650—1050 CE, a time known as the Late Woodland Period. Archaeologists defined the culture based on the Toltec Mounds site and named it for a local waterway.
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Coles Creek culture is a Late Woodland archaeological culture in the Lower Mississippi valley in the southern United States. It followed the Troyville culture. The period marks a significant change in the cultural history of the area. Population increased dramatically and there is strong evidence of a growing cultural and political complexity, especially by the end of the Coles Creek sequence. Although many of the classic traits of chiefdom societies are not yet manifested, by 1000 CE the formation of simple elite polities had begun. Coles Creek sites are found in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. It is considered ancestral to the Plaquemine culture.
Mound groups, such as this one, were religious and social centers for people living in the surrounding countryside. The Toltec Mounds site had a small population, made up primarily of political and religious leaders of the community and their families. This center was occupied from about 600 to 1050 CE.
Located on the banks of an oxbow lake, the archaeological site once had an 8–10-foot-high (2.4–3.0 m) and 5,298-foot-long (1,615 m) earthen embankment and ditch on three sides. The other side was the lake, now called Mound Pond. Eighteen mounds were built inside the high curving 1 mile embankment, and two were originally 38 and 49 feet (12 and 15 m) high. Mounds were placed along the edges of two open areas (plazas) which were used for political, religious, and social activities attended by people from the vicinity. At least two mounds were used for feasting, as indicated by discarded food remains. Deer were a favorite food. Mound locations seem to have been planned using principles based on the alignment with important solar positions and standardized units of measurement. Most of the mounds were flat-topped platform mounds with buildings on them. Other Native Americans lived on the site in the 15th century, but they did not build the mounds.
A platform mound is any earthwork or mound intended to support a structure or activity.
A plaza, pedestrian plaza, or place is an open urban public space, such as a city square.
The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978.,
A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
|Period||Lower Yazoo Phase||Dates||Tensas/Natchez Phase||Toltec Phase||Dates|
|Historic||Russell||1650 - 1750 CE||Tensas/Natchez||Quapaw ?||1673|
| Plaquemine/Mississippian culture |
|Wasp Lake||1400 - 1650 CE||Transylvania/Emerald||Quapaw ?||1650|
|Lake George||1300 - 1400 CE||Fitzhugh/Foster||-||-|
|Winterville||1200 - 1300 CE||Routh/Anna||-||-|
|Transitional Coles Creek||Crippen Point||1050 - 1200 CE||Preston/Gordon||-||-|
| Coles Creek culture |
Late Coles Creek
Middle Coles Creek
Early Coles Creek
|Kings Crossing||950 - 1050 CE||Balmoral||-||-|
|Aden||800 - 950 CE||Ballina||Steele Bend||750 - 900 CE|
|Bayland||600 - 800 CE||Sundown||Dortch Bend||600 - 750 CE|
| Baytown culture |
|Deasonville||500 - 600 CE||Marsden||Dooley Bend||400 - 600 CE|
|Little Sunflower||400 - 500 CE||Indian Bayou||-||-|
| Marksville culture |
|Issaquena||200 - 400 CE||Issaquena||-||-|
|Anderson Landing||0 - 200 CE||Point Lake/Grand Gulf||-||-|
|Tchefuncte culture||Tuscola||400 BCE - 0 CE||Panther Lake||-||-|
Table taken from "Emerging Patterns of Plum Bayou Culture:Preliminary Investigations of the Toltec Mounds Research Project", by Martha Ann Rolingson, 1982.
Wickliffe Mounds is a prehistoric, Mississippian culture archaeological site located in Ballard County, Kentucky, just outside the town of Wickliffe, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Archaeological investigations have linked the site with others along the Ohio River in Illinois and Kentucky as part of the Angel Phase of Mississippian culture. Wickliffe Mounds is controlled by the State Parks Service, which operates a museum at the site for interpretation of the ancient community. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also a Kentucky Archeological Landmark and State Historic Site.
Letchworth Mounds Archaeological State Park is a 188.2 acre Florida State Park that preserves the state's tallest prehistoric, Native American ceremonial earthwork mound, which is 46 feet (14 m) high. It is estimated to have been built 1100 to 1800 years ago. This is one of three major surviving mound complexes in the Florida Panhandle. It is believed to have been built by the Weedon Island Culture, Native Americans who lived in North Florida. The hierarchical society planned and constructed massive earthwork mounds as expression of its religious and political system.
Moundville Archaeological Site, also known as the Moundville Archaeological Park, is a Mississippian culture site on the Black Warrior River in Hale County, near the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Extensive archaeological investigation has shown that the site was the political and ceremonial center of a regionally organized Mississippian culture chiefdom polity between the 11th and 16th centuries. The archaeological park portion of the site is administered by the University of Alabama Museums and encompasses 185 acres (75 ha), consisting of 29 platform mounds around a rectangular plaza.
This is a list of properties and historic districts in Missouri on the National Register of Historic Places. There are NRHP listings in all of Missouri's 114 counties and the one independent city of St. Louis.
The Nodena Site is an archeological site east of Wilson, Arkansas and northeast of Reverie, Tennessee in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. Around 1400–1650 CE an aboriginal palisaded village existed in the Nodena area on a meander bend of the Mississippi River. The Nodena site was discovered and first documented by Dr. James K. Hampson, archaeologist and owner of the plantation on which the Nodena site is located. Artifacts from this site are on display in the Hampson Museum State Park in Wilson, Arkansas. The Nodena Site is the type site for the Nodena Phase, believed by many archaeologists to be the province of Pacaha visited by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1542.
The Eaker Site (3MS105) is an archaeological site on Eaker Air Force Base near Blytheville, Arkansas that was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996. The site is the largest and most intact Late Mississippian Nodena Phase village site within the Central Mississippi Valley, with archaeological evidence indicating a palisaded village some 50 acres (20 ha) in size, with hundreds of structures. The site's major period of occupation was 1350–1450 CE, although evidence of occupation dates back to 600 CE. The site is also hypothesized to have been occupied by the Quapaw prior to a migration further south, after which they made contact with Europeans in the late 17th century.
The Menard-Hodges Site (3AR4), is an archaeological site in Arkansas County, Arkansas. It includes two large platform mounds as well as several house mounds. It is the type site for the Menard phase, a protohistoric Mississippian culture group.
Parkin Archeological State Park, also known as Parkin Indian Mound, is an archeological site and state park in Parkin, Cross County, Arkansas. Around 1350–1650 CE an aboriginal palisaded village existed at the site, at the confluence of the St. Francis and Tyronza rivers. Artifacts from this site are on display at the site museum. The Parkin Site is the type site for the Parkin phase, an expression of the Mississippian culture from the Late Mississippian period. Many archeologists believe it to be part of the province of Casqui, documented as visited by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1542. Archeological artifacts from the village of the Parkin people are dated to 1400–1650 CE.
Hampson Archeological Museum State Park is a 5-acre (2.0 ha) Arkansas state park in Mississippi County, Arkansas in the United States. The museum contains a collection of archeological artifacts from the Nodena Site, which is a former Native American village on the Mississippi River between 1400 and 1650. James K. Hampson began excavating the site in the 1920s, a museum was built in 1946 and the Arkansas General Assembly officially accepted the collection of artifacts from the Hampson family on March 30, 1957. The park first opened in 1961 as Hampson Museum State Park and has since been renamed.
Jaketown Site is an archaeological site with two prehistoric earthwork mounds in Humphreys County, Mississippi, United States. While the mounds have not been excavated, distinctive pottery sherds found in the area lead scholars to date the mounds' construction and use to the Mississippian culture period, roughly 1100 CE to 1500 CE.
The Baytown culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 300 to 700 CE in the lower Mississippi River Valley, consisting of sites in eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, Louisiana, and western Mississippi. The Baytown Site on the White River in Monroe County, Arkansas is the type site for culture. It was a Baytown Period culture during the Late Woodland period. It was contemporaneous with the Coastal Troyville and Troyville cultures of Louisiana and Mississippi and the Fourche Maline culture and was succeeded by the Plum Bayou culture. Where the Baytown peoples built dispersed settlements, the Troyville people instead continued building major earthwork centers.
Marlsgate Plantation, also known as the William P. Dortch House or the Dortch Plantation, is located on Bearskin Lake near Scott, Arkansas. The main plantation residence was built in 1904; it, along with a historically significant portion of the plantation, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The NRHP listing was increased in 1979 to cover additional building(s) dating from 1888.
The Nodena Phase is an archaeological phase in eastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri of the Late Mississippian culture which dates from about 1400–1650 CE. The Nodena Phase is known from a collection of villages along the Mississippi River between the Missouri Bootheel and Wapanocca Lake. They practiced extensive maize agriculture and artificial cranial deformation and were members of a continent wide trade and religious network known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, which brought chert, whelk shells, and other exotic goods to the area.
The Baytown Site is a Pre-Columbian Native American archaeological site located on the White River at Indian Bay, in Monroe County, Arkansas. It was first inhabited by peoples of the Baytown culture and later briefly by peoples of the Plum Bayou culture, in a time known as the Late Woodland period. It is considered the type site of the Baytown culture.
The Hayes site is an archaeological site located next to Bayou Meto in Arkansas County, Arkansas. It was inhabited by peoples of the Plum Bayou culture, in a time known as the Late Woodland period.
The Coy Site is an archaeological site located next to Indian-Bakers Bayou in Lonoke County, Arkansas. It was inhabited by peoples of the Plum Bayou culture, in a time known as the Late Woodland period. The site was occupied between 700 and 1000 CE. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
The Roland Site is an archaeological site located on Dry Lake, an extinct channel of the White River in Arkansas County, Arkansas. It was inhabited intermittently from the beginning of the common era to late prehistoric times, but its most intensive inhabitation was by peoples of the Plum Bayou culture, in a time known as the Late Woodland period.
The Gordon–Schaust Site is a prehistoric Native American archaeological site in Crosslake, Minnesota, United States. It comprises two separate but nearly parallel groups of linear mounds, undated but well preserved. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 for having state-level significance in the theme of archaeology.