Located in central Ohio, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park encompasses six different sites of earthworks and burial mounds that represent the so-called Hopewell people who inhabited the area in the 3rd century BC through approximately 500 AD. Typical Hopewell constructions consist of large enclosures that can have walls up to 12 feet high and contain packed earth in geometric shapes, while mounds can rise to more than 30 feet in height and have been found to contain cremated human remains and skillfully fashioned objects—including effigy pipes, mirrors, tools, and jewelry—of ceramic, shell, flint, mica, and copper: a testament to the sophistication of far-flung trade routes and artistic craftsmanship among indigenous groups in this period.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Early documentation of the Hopewell sites and excavation was undertaken by a local Ohio doctor named Edwin Hamilton Davis and his partner, Ephraim George Squier. The two published the seminal Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley in 1848 but had a falling out at around that time that ended their working partnership.
Park website: www.nps.gov/hocu/
Established in 1686, Arkansas Post was the first French settlement west of the Mississippi and served as an important center of trade and government for hundreds of years. The Spanish and British sparred there during the Revolutionary War, the Post became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and a Confederate fort fell to Union forces there in 1863. Native Americans lived in the area long before the arrival of Europeans and played major roles in trade and military conflicts during the various European occupations.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Archaeologists began searching for the original Arkansas Post during the 1880s. In 1998, Arkansas Archaeological Survey staff and Arkansas Archaeological Society volunteers discovered an area where European and Native American artifacts intermingled. This site is believed to be the original Post, built at the earlier Quapaw Indian village of Osotouy.
Park website: www.nps.gov/arpo/