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Parkin Archaeological Park (Mound Builders)

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posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 10:14 PM
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One of the pleasures of being an "archaeological tourist" is stumbling across state parks with neat stuff. We visited Parkin today, and found knowledgeable and friendly staff and a peaceful, understated site (you might think it was just a park for picnics) with a rich and fascinating history.

Best of all (woohoo!) they had for sale the archaeological report on the site. Dated 1999, it had all sorts of intriguing tidbits and our drive towards the next site (Ka-ho-ka and Toltec Mounds (no, there weren't any Toltecs there. It was named by a farmer in the 1800's who thought it might belong to Toltecs)) was filled with "Hey... listen to this!" moments.

This is the site of a village apparently named Casqui (after the chief), who was one of the very few friendly villages that welcomed deSoto and his men. Built on the banks of the St. Francis river, it had a moat (yes, moat) around the village, palisaded walls of wood logs, a high mound for the chief's house, and extensive fields. The Mississipian peoples had no written language, but deSoto brought along scribes with him to write about his "famous adventures" and we have three accounts of what the village was like and how it functioned.

The Spaniards also brought something deadly with them -- European diseases. By the time the Europeans came back, the Mississipian culture had collapsed from disease and the survivors were scattered, leaving no tales or legends behind them.

www.arkansasstateparks.com...

The story of the site really says a lot about the impact of rivers on places where people chose to live. The Mississippi is not a static river and it's changed channels at least 4 times in the past ten thousand years. This village exists on land between "Meander 3 and Meander 4" before the Mississippi moved towards Memphis (its current location.) There's no rock in the area (it's all flood plains), so stone for spear points and arrowheads and so forth came in through the trade networks.

The people (as was the custom) buried their dead under the floors of their houses or beside their houses. Houses were fairly fragile, and there's evidence that they frequently burned down.

One thing I found interesting was that they had some sort of guide to "how to build a house" because the houses were generally 13 feet by 13 feet in dimensions.

A few miles away (at what may be a burial site), they constructed a tiny replica village with palisades and chief's mound and all...but the buildings were only seven feet long and seven feet wide... half size. You couldn't live in one (you might sleep in one if you went there for a religous ceremony.)

They apparently had a unifying religion, but I don't know anything about it yet. I'm still reading the archaeological survey!

Tomorrow we go diamond hunting and then to the Ka Ho Ka mounds and Toltec Mounds!

If YOU get a chance, look for state parks near you that have historical recreations -- or better yet, that are archaeologically based. It makes for a great trip.

We totally missed the stuff on the European settlers (but made up for it with a delightful trip to Lower White River State Park).




posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 10:38 PM
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Here in Pensacola, the Archaeological society for the University of West Florida frequent does digs since Pensacola has one of the earlier European settlements. Even get to participate on the digs on occasion. It's pretty sweet.
Most of the time, since I'm fairly heavy handed I just help out with the shakers, hauling the dirt and refuse to be shifted through, though occasionally I got to help catalog.
It's a lot of fun, and after the initial sunburn i actually ended up with a slight tan.
It was amazing what we found to. A few coins, small needles (usually found with fingers though) lots of glass, and a remarkably large number of small shells. Most of the shells were oysters, a few clams.
The biggest find was the bottom half of a barrel, the site gets re dug now and then due to the small amount of time allotted to the digs.
This would have been one of the Spanish forts overlooking the bay, it got burnt down after their surrender.



posted on Oct, 27 2008 @ 12:12 AM
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Neat finds -- and in an amusing synchronicity. the Lower White River site that we visted (state park) was a "pearl button" manufacturing facility. Mussel shells all over the place...

It was intriguing to see the machines and see how an industry worked that I "sort of" knew existed but really didn't know anything about.

Tomorrow, diamonds and more prehistoric civilization!



posted on Sep, 24 2010 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by Byrd
 


Thanks for this.


I have questions re:


The people (as was the custom) buried their dead under the floors of their houses or beside their houses. Houses were fairly fragile, and there's evidence that they frequently burned down.


Do many cultures bury their dead under or near their houses? Without burning/embalming?

...Is it possible that the houses were used as funeral pyres?

Thanks, sofi



posted on Sep, 26 2010 @ 12:30 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
I have questions re:


The people (as was the custom) buried their dead under the floors of their houses or beside their houses. Houses were fairly fragile, and there's evidence that they frequently burned down.


Do many cultures bury their dead under or near their houses? Without burning/embalming?


Yes, in fact, many cultures of the ancient world did. There wasn't anything like a "graveyard" for these places. Corpses weren't burned or embalmed but were simply buried a few feet down.



...Is it possible that the houses were used as funeral pyres?

No, though chiefs' houses were apparently burned after their deaths. The corpses weren't burned in any ways, but in places where there were burned houses (they were of grass and really more "shacks" with a room or two than a big huge house), no burned bones are associated with them. Earth seems to have been tossed over the site and the place rebuilt.

For chiefs, the burial was made, the house was burned (no burned earth or items appear in the grave (which would happen if they had been burned with the house and the remains interred). Jewelry and other items with the bodies aren't burned. Once burned, they piled up more earth (to make the mound taller) and the new house was built on that. So yes, in at least one place there are several burials at different layers of the same mound.



posted on Sep, 26 2010 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd
[reply to soficrow


Do many cultures bury their dead under or near their houses? Without burning/embalming?


Yes, in fact, many cultures of the ancient world did. There wasn't anything like a "graveyard" for these places. Corpses weren't burned or embalmed but were simply buried a few feet down.


Thanks.


...Does seem odd to me though. It would smell, and I can't imagine even "primitives" finding the stench acceptable. Must have been some powerful reason motivating them to do it...




edit on 26/9/10 by soficrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 26 2010 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


So i am not crazy then....


I thought i recalled watching a documentary once where the dead were buried beneath where the occupants slept. The entrances to the houses was via a hole in the roof with a ladder to climb down into the domicile.

Does this jog the memory of anyone knowledgable of such a culture. I am almost certain it is of the Americas .

Pueblo Indian.....?



Sorry if this is straying off topic Byrd . Love the topic ...... your passion for your work shines through.



edit on 26-9-2010 by UmbraSumus because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 26 2010 @ 07:15 PM
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reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


Sort of makes sense for South West desert plains - soil like cement, no rocks, no wood for funeral pyres. Even so, the practice had to be driven spiritually - and especially in more accommodating areas. ...?



posted on Sep, 29 2010 @ 02:27 PM
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I just came across your very interesting thread...
I was wondering about the name Parkin, and what you know about the person it is named after..
This is of great interest to me, and i would appreciate any information you can give me.




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