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The Arkansas Archeological Survey has produced a variety of materials to aid teachers in their instruction on Arkansas history and Native Americans. These materials include a teacher's packet, videos, slide sets, books, and exhibits. Please see below for information. Any suggestions on resources needed or any questions may be directed to the Survey at

Teacher Packets

Teacher PacketsDo you need information on the Indians or archeology of Arkansas? If so, then you need one of our Teacher Packets, which are chock full of useful information on the Indian tribes of Arkansas and the prehistory of the state. All of the contents are now available in downloadable Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, on the Flyers & Handouts page.

Here's a sampling of the topics available in the teacher packets:

  • Preserving the Past, an overview of Arkansas prehistory
  • Indian Mounds
  • Clothing and Body Decoration of Prehistoric Indians of Arkansa
  • Rock Art in Arkansas
  • Expedition of Hernando de Soto in 16th Century Arkansas
  • The Parkin Site: De Soto in Cross County, Arkansas
  • Historical Archeology
  • Native American Tribes in Arkansas: Caddo, Cherokee, Osage, Quapaw, Tunica and Koroa

Additional handouts can be found on our Education Links page or in the Arkansas Archeology Month Archives.

Indians of Arkansas Website

Our latest website features learning exercises covering Indian history from the earliest times to the present. The site takes an active learning approach, giving students an opportunity to learn historical and anthropological methods through direct study of original historical sources, including texts, maps, artworks, and archeological finds. This website evolved from our earlier First Encounters educational CD-ROM (which is no longer available).

"Arkansas: Crossroads of the Past" Series

Preview the "Crossroads" exhibitThe Arkansas Archeological Survey has developed several kinds of media under the "Crossroads of the Past" title that chronicle 12,000 years of Native American life in Arkansas. The series explores Native American cultures, beginning with the Ice Age, through hunting-and-gathering groups, to agriculturalists and modern survival. Native American lifeways and achievements are examined, including the invention of pottery and the bow-and-arrow, and the building and use of mounds. Included in the series are:

  • Exhibit: This free-standing exhibit consists of 16 panels standing 7 feet tall and spanning a 12-foot length. The exhibit illustrates 12,000 years of prehistoric and early historic life in Arkansas through striking photographs of Native American artifacts, line drawings, maps, and historic images. Panels cover the following topics: Paleo, Dalton, Archaic, Poverty Point, Woodland, Plum Bayou, Mississippian, Caddoan, European Impact, Historic Indians, Immigrants, and Arkansas Indians Today. You can preview the exhibit here.
  • Book: An overview of Native American Arkansas from the end of the Ice Age through early historic periods is covered in this easy-to-read, 59-page handbook. Readers are introduced to patterns of migration and settlement, elements of daily life, and the devastating impact of European explorations and settlement on indigenous populations. Chapters cover the four main prehistoric cultural periods and the early historic era, as follows: the Paleo Indian Era (9,500 - 8,000 B.C.), the Archaic Era (8,000 - 500 B.C.), the Woodland Era (500 B.C. - A.D. 900), the Mississippian Era (A.D. 900 - 1541), and the Historic Era (A.D. 1541 - 1850). Each chapter provides details on the lifeways of each period, from the hunting of large animals like the mammoth, to the invention of agriculture and pottery, to the development of the bow-and-arrow, to various mound-building activities.

  • DVD: The 38-minute DVD on Arkansas prehistory is suitable for junior high and older students. It is the perfect accompaniment to the exhibit, or it can be used separately as enrichment when studying Arkansas history or Indian cultures. It has natural breaks at the end of each 10-minute discussion of the four cultural periods.

  • Slide Sets: For a more flexible presentation, teachers can use the Crossroads slide sets. The basic set includes 167 slides that cover 12,000 years of Arkansas prehistory. Three shorter sets feature the Earliest Peoples, the Woodland Peoples, and the Mississippian Peoples. All come with detailed scripts.

All parts of the "Crossroads" series can be borrowed from the Arkansas Humanities Council (501-320-5761).

Slide Sets, Videos, and Exhibits

Slide from "History Under Ground""History Under Ground: Historical Archeology in Arkansas" is a 32-slide set with accompanying narrative that examines the role of historical archeology in interpreting the recent past. Photos of excavations, historic artifacts, and associated archival documents illustrate the relevance and context that historical archeology brings to the understanding of Arkansas history. The slide set may be borrowed from the Arkansas Humanities Resource Center (501-221-0093).

The Humanities Resource Center also has other videos and exhibits about archeology and Native Americans. Contact them for a full list of their resources.

Archeological Parks in Arkansas

Exhibits at ToltecArkansas has two archeological parks that you can visit with your classes. Toltec Mounds, located near Little Rock, preserves a prehistoric site of the Plum Bayou culture from about AD 650-1050. The Parkin Site, west of Memphis, preserves a late Mississippi period town that may have been visited by de Soto in 1541. Both parks have visitor centers with exhibits and offer a range of educational programs and tours. For information, call Toltec Mounds at 501-961-9442; call Parkin at 870-755-2500.

Learn more about these and other archeological parks on the Archaeological Parks in the U.S. website.

Books: Popular Series

The Arkansas Archeological Survey currently has three books in their Popular Series. They can be ordered directly from the Survey by calling 479-575-3556 or by using the order form link below.

by George Sabo III and Deborah Sabo

Rock Art in ArkansasArkansas possesses one of the richest concentrations of rock art in eastern North America, with human, animal, geometric, and abstract motifs rendered as carved and pecked petroglyphs, painted pictographs, or combination forms on the walls and ceilings of caves, rock shelters, cliff faces, and free-standing boulders. This volume is the first attempt to present an up-to-date overview of archeological knowledge about this important Arkansas cultural resource, with chapters on style and typology dating and archeological context, cultural landscape, and other topics. The book is designed to be accessible to general readers, yet useful for professional and student archeologists seeking a glimpse of the worldview of Arkansas’ former inhabitants as it was expressed through this enduring and fascinating art form.
2005, 136 pp., 70 illus., COLOR, ISBN 1-56349-99-4. $10.00
(Order PS5)

PATHS OF OUR CHILDREN: Historic Indians of Arkansas
by George Sabo III
"Paths of Our Children" bookcoverWhen French explorers entered the central Mississippi Valley late in the seventeenth century, they encountered Indians who called themselves the O-gah-pah, or Downstream People.  The native guides who led the Frenchmen, however, used the term "Arkansas"  in reference to these Indians. The contemporary descendants of seventeenth century Arkansas Indians are known as Quapaws. Other Indians living in the region that would one day become the state of Arkansas include the Caddos, Tunicas, Koroas, and Osages. In the eighteenth century these tribes were joined by Cherokees and others who were being displaced from their eastern homelands to the west side of the Mississippi River. Most of the tribes in Arkansas at the turn of the nineteenth century were soon removed to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).
2001 (Revised Edition), 132 pages, 27 color illustrations (including maps) and 10 b&w, bib., index, 6 x 9, paper
ISBN 1-56349-092-7, $6.00 (Order PS03)

CROSSROADS OF THE PAST: 12,000 Years of Indian Life in Arkansas
by Frank Schambach and Leslie Newell
"Crossroads of the Past" bookcoverCrossroads of the Past depicts the prehistory of Arkansas, from the time of the arrival of a few families of adventurous hunters near the end of the Ice Age to the portentous day of June 18, 1541, when Hernando De Soto's invading army crossed the Mississippi River near Memphis.  This is a story of how these first Arkansas residents lived, worked, played: how they gathered and planted and cooked plants,  hunted and fished, and  built shelters and homes and towns.
1990, 57 pages, 23 illus., annot. bib, 6 x 9, paper
ISBN 1-56349-068-4, $3.00 (Order PS02)


Links to More Educational Resources
Click here for links to other educational resources about archeology and Native Americans.


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