Visitors Guide to
Parkin Archeological State Park in eastern Arkansas at
Parkin preserves and interprets the Parkin site on the St. Francis River
where a 17-acre Mississippi Period, Native American village was located from
1000 to 1550 CE. The village was surrounded by a moat and a log palisade
wall for protection. Agricultural fields for growing corn, beans, and other
crops were located outside the moat. A large platform mound, on the bank of
the river, remains. The site is important for understanding the history and
prehistory of northeast Arkansas. There were many Native American sites
similar to Parkin throughout this region, but they did not survive as
eastern Arkansas was settled. The Parkin site is the best preserved village
site of this time period in the region.
Many scholars believe the Parkin site is the American Indian village of
Casqui visited by the expedition of Hernando de Soto in 1541, and written
about in his chronicles. The de Soto expedition, which explored what is now
Arkansas for two years (1541-1543), had a profound effect on the natives.
Diseases accidentally introduced by the Spaniards resulted in numerous
deaths. Spanish demands for food, language interpreters, and equipment
bearers led to clashes between the explorers and natives. The encounter at
Casqui was one of the few friendly contacts recorded between the de Soto
expedition and Native Americans.
In the early 1900s, a saw mill was established at the Parkin site by the
Northern Ohio Cooperage and Lumber Company. Some of the mill workers built
houses and lived next to the factory. Sawdust from the mill was dumped into
the moat around the Native American village site. The area became known as
Sawdust Hill. The saw mill operated at the site until the Great Depression.
By the beginning of World War 2 there were 15 one-room and two-room
schoolhouses providing education for children in Parkin, a town of less than
2,000 citizens. Three-quarters of the sawmill workforce were
African-American and the Northern Ohio School was built for their children.
Today, the school is the only one of these early Parkin structures still
standing and provided first through eighth grade educations until 1948. The
stories it tells of what took place here in the early 20th century in and
around the Sawdust Hill community are compelling parts of the history of
Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Archeological Survey manage this
National Historic Landmark. In conjunction with the founding of the state
park, a research station was established at Parkin by the Arkansas
Archeological Survey. Station archeologists conduct research at the site
that provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see how we learn about
prehistory. Visitors can watch research in progress, and see firsthand the
results of careful excavations and laboratory analysis. The Parkin site was
designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. National Park
Service, one of only ten such sites in Arkansas. It is also listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. These designations emphasize the
The Visitor Center includes an auditorium, exhibit area, gift shop, and
archeological laboratory. The site’s interpretive staff offers audiovisual
programs, site tours, workshops, and other educational programs, and special
events, and activities. When archeological excavations are underway,
visitors on guided tours can observe them. Museum and Archeological Site
self-guided walking tours are free. The site charges a small fee for guided
tours. A picnic area, playground, and standard pavilion (enclosed) are
located nearby. The site also has an access area to the St. Francis River
that has a boat ramp.
Visiting Parkin Archeological State
Tuesday - Saturday: 8 am - 5
Sunday: 12 - 5 pm
Closed: Mondays and major holidays
There is no charge to visit the Parkin
Archeological State Park. Fee charged for archeological site guided
Parkin Archeological State
Park is on the north edge of the city of Parkin at the junction of
US-64 and AR-184. Parkin is 12 miles north of I-40 on AR-75 OR 23
miles west of I-55 on US-64.
Learn more about the
Parkin Archeological State Park
The official website of Parkin Archeological State Park.