Agricultural scientist and educator George Washington Carver was born into slavery on this nineteenth century farm in Missouri, but was ultimately raised by his former owners after the loss of his mother and the abolition of slavery. Carver attributes his later success as a scientist in part to extensive time spent in the surrounding woods as a young boy. Established in 1943, the George Washington Carver National Monument achieved many firsts: first national monument dedicated to an African American; first dedicated to a non-president; and first dedicated to a scientist. Visitors can view the Carver house, rebuilt in 1881, participate in hands-on activities that recreate daily life, and learn about the local ecosystem and wildlife.
Archaeological Fun Fact: During the 1970s, geophysical and geochemical studies, including magnetometry and phosphate analysis, were carried out at the site in order to define dwellings, barns, and other structures. When the results were compared to artifact distributions, it was clear that these noninvasive methods could indeed be useful to historical archaeologists.
Park website: www.nps.gov/gwca/
Along a tributary of the Missouri River, the Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara settled in permanent villages and began to practice agriculture, while still hunting and gathering, around AD 1600. These unique villages became trade hubs for many mobile Plains Indian tribes and eventually hosted the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804. Sacagawea lived in one of the villages and famously joined the expedition. Today, visitors to this North Dakota park can explore a reconstructed earthlodge structure and the remains of three large villages.
Archaeological Fun Fact: At the Awatixa Village, erosion by the Knife River allows archaeologists and visitors to view cultural features and artifacts in cross-section.
Park website: www.nps.gov/knri/
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