Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Among the indigenous peoples who lived in what is now Arkansas at the time of European contact were the Osage, Cherokee, and Quapaw – indeed, the name “Arkansas” was originally that used by French explorers to describe the latter group. The 16th and 17th centuries saw French and Spanish exploration of the area, with it becoming part of French Louisiana until being obtained by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Arkansas became a distinct territory in 1819 and then a state in 1836. Its agricultural economy reliant heavily on slave labour, Arkansas was among the states that joined the Confederacy in the Civil War, while it later became a key battleground in the civil rights movement.

Archaeology & History Sites in Arkansas

Arkansas Post

Marking the location of the first European settlement in the Lower Mississippi River Valley, the Arkansas Post, once known as the Poste de Arkansea, was established by French colonists in 1686. At that time, the area was inhabited by the Quapaw people, with whom the French settlers interacted and traded. During the Civil War, Confederate forces built an earthwork fortification at the Post, subsequently destroyed by invading Union forces in 1863.

Museums & Art Galleries in Arkansas

Hampson Archaeological Museum State Park

At this state park in Mississippi County, visitors can explore the Hampson Archeological Museum, which houses a range of artefacts recovered from the excavation of the Nodena Site. The Nodena Site represented a palisaded settlement inhabited between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries by an indigenous agricultural community. The museum also houses the skeleton of a prehistoric mastodon, a species related to modern elephants, that was recovered from the area. Entry is free.