The Parkin Archaeological State Park (sometimes called the Parkin Indian Mound) is a state park and archaeological site in Cross County, Arkansas. The Parkin Site was made a National Historical Landmark in 1964, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 for its historic significance to early Mississippi history. Today, the park works together with the Arkansas Archaeological Survey to study the site, as well as give tours and educational experiences to visitors.
The site of the Parkin Archaeological State Park rests
on a Native American village that is thought to have stood from around 1000 AD
to 1550 AD. Much of what was found in the remains of the village has lead many
archaeologists to believe that the tribe that inhabited the village encountered
Hernando de Soto in 1541, specifically trade items that de Soto would have had
with him during his voyages. Because of cultivation of the land in past
centuries, much of the village has been lost, but despite that, it is thought
to be the largest, most intact Native American village from its time period
still existing in the state of Arkansas. Much of what contributes to this
includes individual artifacts, as well as evidence of a wooden palisade
surrounding the village, as well as a large, earthen mound.
When the town of Parkin was established in 1887, the
cotton farmers of the town were unable to cultivate much on the site, due to
the natural ditch that the inhabitants dug around the village’s perimeter. As a
result, less cultivation of land was done there than otherwise could have
occurred. Partially due to this unexpected preservation, the site was surveyed
in 1965 and 1966 by nearby archaeological foundations, such as part of the
University of Arkansas, as well as the Arkansas Archaeological Society, and
both found the site to be sufficient for making the site into a state park. The
land was acquired in 1975, but development of the park was not put into action
until 1991. By 1994, the park had a visitor’s center, and since then, the Park
has worked closely with the Arkansas Archaeological Survey in order to both
preserve the site, as well as interpret the findings that lie therein.