Over the weekend Chris and I were in Nacogdoches to attend a short bat seminar. Before we arrived there on Friday we detoured to the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site about 30 miles west of Nacogdoches. I’d seen the park on Google Earth and thought it would be interesting to check out. We arrived right as they were getting ready to close but were allowed in anyway. Unfortunately they’d already closed their register for the day, ($2 per person), so we dropped back by on our way out of town later in the weekend to pay. The man in charge was friendly and let us use their golf cart to make a quick go ’round of the park.
Before we arrived at a one of the signs I was wondering what kind of mounds they were, and if there had been any others in the area. We later found out that the mounds were a mixture of burial and ceremonial mounds. After our quick tour outside we spent 10 or 15 minutes inside the park office talking to the man who was left for the day. These particular mounds from this period of Caddo tribe development are the furthest south and west from this time period. It is suspected that the mound building itself began in the midwest with another tribe and through communication and maybe ‘trends’, other tribes picked up the idea to build mounds. At least that’s what we were told. If you go inside the visitors center there are several dioramas and interesting diagrams showing the history of the tribe in the area as well as a really cool magnetometer map showing the footprints of buildings that were on the site 1,000+ years ago.
If you’re ever driving out in that part of the state, it is well worth the couple of bucks to take a tour of the site. They are working on a new museum that will hopefully be open soon.
More information on the site.