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Caddo Mounds State Historic Site -- Alto TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 31° 35.781 W 095° 08.919
15R E 296142 N 3497698
Quick Description: Unique and FINALLY interpreted Caddo Mounds State Historic Site teaches about the prehistoric Caddo Indians who built tall mounds here. The site is is located along SH 21 west of Alto TX
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 1/22/2018 4:44:37 PM
Waymark Code: WMXK5Y
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fisnjack
Views: 0

Long Description:
For many decades, all that was here at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site near Alto TX was a single state historic marker on the highway and a few skimpy exhibits. Fortunately the state has now decided to make this a full-fledged State Historic Site, and has invested in nice exhibits, paved trails, a new museum building, and well-done interpretive signs at this fascinating place. They have also expanded this site located along the El Camino Real de los Tejas, to fit and with the El Camino Real National Historic Trail supported by the National Park Service, to include preserving original segments of the trail that runs through this prehistoric Indian site.

From the Texas Historical Commission: (visit link)

"Support Exciting Caddo Mounds SHS Projects!
Since the opening of Caddo Mounds as a state park until around 1995, a large Caddo grass house stood on site. But after approximately 15 years, the structure became unstable and had to be removed. The Friends of the THC and the Friends of Caddo Mounds helped fund the construction of a new Caddo grass house and are currently raising funds to furnish and maintain the structure. These groups are also helping raise funds for exciting new land management projects at Caddo Mounds SHS. Caddo Mounds staff are working with the USDA and Texas Parks and Wildlife to restore native prairie, create pollinator habitats, form a turkey co-op for the reintroduction of wild turkeys, and develop an interpretive garden.

The Caddo selected this site for a permanent settlement about A.D. 800. The alluvial prairie possessed ideal qualities for the establishment of a village and ceremonial center: good sandy loam soil for agriculture, abundant natural food resources in the surrounding forest and a permanent water source of springs that flowed into the nearby Neches River.

From here, the Caddo dominated life in the region for approximately 500 years. They drew local native groups into economic and social dependence through trade and a sophisticated ceremonial/political system. They traded with other native groups in Central Texas and as far away as present-day Illinois and Florida. Caddo Mounds’ sphere of influence was only a small portion of the broader Caddo cultural domain encompassing northeast Texas, northwest Louisiana, western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The Caddo culture, in turn, had trade connections, and perhaps religious and political ties, with similar cultures farther east in the Mississippi Valley and beyond.

The settlement at Caddo Mounds flourished until the 13th century, when the site was abandoned. Most archeologists agree that the elite ruling class left Caddo Mounds after the loss of their regional influence, as outlying hamlets and trade groups became self-sufficient and grew less dependent on the cultural center in religious and political matters. There is no evidence that war played a major role at Caddo Mounds, either in the maintenance of local influence or as a cause of abandonment. The Caddo culture that remained in the area was similar to the earlier culture in many ways, but lacked much of its sophisticated ceremonialism and material wealth.

The Hasinai Caddo groups continued to live through the 1830s in their traditional East Texas homeland in the Neches and Angelina River valleys, but by the early 1840s, all Caddo groups had moved to the Brazos River area to remove themselves from Anglo-American repressive measures and colonization efforts. They remained there until the U.S. government placed them on the Brazos Indian Reservation in 1855, and then in 1859 the Caddo (about 1,050 people) were removed to the Washita River in Indian Territory, now western Oklahoma.

The Caddo continue to live in western Oklahoma, primarily near the Caddo Nation Headquarters outside Binger, Oklahoma.

Did You Know?
At their peak, ca. A.D. 1100, the Caddo were the most highly developed prehistoric culture known within the present state of Texas.
Many of the exquisite artifacts unearthed by archeologists at Caddo Mounds bear a striking resemblance to artifacts discovered as far away as Illinois and Florida. The raw materials for some of these artifacts originated in distant places, such as shell from the eastern Gulf Coast and copper from the Great Lakes region, all acquired through the broad trade network of the Mound Builders.
Texas takes its name from the Caddo word tejas, which means friend.
Type: Burial Mounds

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Trailhead: Not Listed

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Caddo Mounds State Historic Site -- Alto TX 12/30/2017 Benchmark Blasterz visited it