Hello all! I’m terribly sorry, but both Google Earth and WordPress didn’t want to cooperate. So, to compensate, I’ll be writing a description/tour of the site with pictures for visual aides.
Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park is located in Scott, Arkansas. It has nothing to do with the Toltec Indians in Mexico. When Euro-Americans named the site, they believed that the native peoples in the area were not sophisticated enough to build things as imposing as the mounds and so the mounds must have been created by someone else. They were wrong. Toltec Mounds was created by a North American culture known as Plumb Bayou. It was a sacred site occupied during the Late Woodland to Early Mississippian periods. (Woodland took place about 1200 B.C. – A.D.1000 and Mississippian was A.D. 1000-1700) Some of the mounds are no longer visible to the naked eye; part of the site used to be a rice field and those mounds were plowed up. Toltec was not occupied year-round according to current research; it was purely ceremonial and people came from miles around to come here and celebrate and feast. It is currently a Quapaw sacred site, but they are not the only tribe associated with the site.
Recently the park got funding to plant and maintain a garden typical of the area during the Woodland period. This picture is from when they had just set it up. Now the gateway is covered in Maypop vines and the fence supports some gourds. The garden also plays host to sumpweed, goosefoot, and rattlesnake master as well as other plants.
Mound C is one of the smaller mounds still standing. It is a round-top mound, which are mainly used for burials. There are most likely bodies in this mound, but the park has no intention of excavating it. Instead they use ground penetrating radar and other tools like it in order to study the mounds without disturbing the individuals inside.
Mound A is also a round-top mound, and also most likely has multiple burials inside. However this mound is significantly bigger. Mound A is roughly 50 ft tall and extremely steep. It stretches out into the lake so that there is no shore between them–lake goes straight to mound. During the fall equinox the sun sets on Mound A in an awe-inspiring sight.
This is Mound B. Mound B is a platform mound. This means that the mound was deliberately created to be flat on the top so that a building could be built and/or ceremonies could performed on top. This mound is significantly easier to climb than Mound A. You can probably notice a tuft of tall grass at one of the upper corners. This is because that corner was excavated in the 1980s, and archaeologists cannot fill in the divot in the corner as efficiently as its original builders. More dirt has to be added about every five years because the soil used to fill it keeps slipping down. Shows how difficult mound building really is.
Mound H is one of the mounds that is no longer visible. It was built in alignment with other mounds so that you can see specific celestial occurrences such as solstices and equinoxes. We are unsure just how big Mound H was and what the exact shape was.
Toltec Mounds is a huge site with lots to offer. So if you are ever near Scott, Arkansas come on by!