Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park

Toltec Mounds State Park
••• Toltec Mounds State Park. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

What:

The mounds are the remains of a large ceremonial and governmental complex inhabited from A.D. 600 to 1050.  The mounds are one of the largest archaeological sites in Arkansas and in the lower Mississippi River Valley.  America's tallest American Indian mounds are found here.

There were 18 mounds arranged around two rectangular ceremonial spaces.  The mounds were positioned to line up with the sun at certain times of day and year.

  Today three mounds remain that range from 13 feet high to forty-nine feet high, though it is believed their original heights were larger.  The original purposes of the mounds ranged from residences, a burial mound and ceremonial platforms.

Where:

The Mounds are located in Scott, AR. How do you get to Scott? From Little Rock, take Exit #7 off I-440 and go 10 miles southeast on U.S. 165, then 1/4-mile south on Ark. 386.

How Much?:

If you want to take a walking tour of the mounds, the fee is $3 for each adult and $2 for each child (6-12). A family pass is only $10.

If you want a tram tour, the fee is $4 for each adult and $4 for each child. A family pass is $14. Please call for details and reservations.

Group discounts are available.

What Hours?:

Tuesday through Saturday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 noon - 5 p.m.

Fun and Educational:

Information provided by Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Almost every Arkansas kid I know has taken a field trip to the Toltec Mounds.

It teaches students about archaeology and history.

The Mounds have been a National Historic Landmark since 1978 but they attracted attention well before that. Toltec Mounds is one of the largest and most complex sites in the Lower Mississippi Valley. It once had an 8 to 10 foot-high earthen embankment on three sides, and was protected on the fourth by an oxbow lake.

A century ago, 16 mounds were known inside the embankment, two of them 38 feet wide and 50 feet high. Today, several mounds and a remnant of the embankment are visible, and the locations of pre-existing mounds are known.

The mounds were built by the Plum Bayou culture from A.D. 700 to 1050. They were not built by American Indians, but by a people who were believed to be the ancestors Native American Indians. Mound groups like Toltec were religious and social centers. The Toltec center itself had a very small population, consisting primarily of the political and religious leaders of the community and their families. The mound locations were apparently planned using principles based on alignment with important solar positions and standardized units of measurement. This alignment can still be witnessed at the site on the spring and fall equinoxes.

The park has a great visitor's center with many educational exhibits and special lectures and events throughout the year. They also have a staff of researchers who study the mounds to understand the culture of the people who once lived in the region.

The park is a place you wouldn't want to take your family to every weekend, but it's something you should see once.

To see these huge mounds and understand the history and what went into designing them is amazing. Its sort of like an Egyptian pyramid, Arkansas style.

Information provided by Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism