Before Europeans arrived in the New World, the land was inhabited by tribes of Native Americans. These people may not have left a written record behind, but they did leave a record on the land. Visit parks with pueblos in rocky overhangs and mounds built by hand over hundred of years:
1. Cahokia Mounds – Collinsville, Illinois – Cahokia, a World Heritage Site, was the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. At its peak, the city covered about six square miles and around one hundred twenty mounds. Cahokia was settled around 600 AD and abandoned around 1300 AD. You can find more information here.
2. Montezuma Castle National Monument, Yavapai County, Arizona – This National Monument protects a set of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. These dwellings were built by the Sinagua people between 1100 and 1425 AD. These buildings were along the lines of ancient high rise apartments and offer a glimpse into southwestern Native American life. For more information, click here.
3. Mesa Verde National Park, Montezuma County, Colorado – This National Park is also a World Heritage site. It protects some of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites in the United States. From early times, groups of nomadic Paleo-Indians occupied the site seasonally. The first pueblos were built sometime after 650 AD, and the cliff dwellings were built around the end of the twelfth century. You can find more information about the park here, and about the greater Mesa Verde area here.
4. Petroglyph National Monument, Outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico – This National Monument protects on of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. When visiting the park, you can see designs and symbols carved onto the volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers in the area from 1300-1600 AD. Find more information about the park here. Visitors have suggested stopping in the Visitor’s Center first, as the park is large and the employees will be able to point you in the direction of the best parts to visit.
5. Etowah Indian Mounds – Cartersville, GA – This site on the north shore of the Etowah River in North West Georgia is the most intact Mississippian culture site in the Southeast US. It was occupied in three phases from around 1000 – 1500 AD by the ancestors of the Muscogee(Creek) people, considered to be their most important ancestral town. Today, you can visit three main platform mounds, three lesser mounds, the borrow pits, and watch a movie on the history of the site. Find more info here.
(Visit this link for a list of Native American Heritage Sites by the National Park Service if you are looking for more Native American sites in the US)
In the early 1500s, Europeans arrived on the shores of Florida, and the period of exploration and colonization began. Travel from the banks of the Manatee River with De Soto to the shores of Plymouth with the Pilgrims:
To return to the main 100 United States Historic Sites to See While Homeschooling, click here.
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This post is a part of the iHomeschool Network 100 Things post.
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