by Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter —
SPIRO, OK — Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center will host a series of special guided tours on the summer solstice, Sunday, June 20. There will be three walks led by archaeologist Dennis Peterson starting at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Each walk will include one mile of easy walking and last about two hours.
Peterson will talk about the history of the mound site and the American Indians who built it more than 1,000 years ago. He will also discuss the reasons for the mounds and the alignment of some of the mounds to track the movement of the sun throughout the year.
Dennis will tell the history of the excavations of the site by both archaeologists and looters.
The 7 p.m. walk will allow the observation of twilight wildlife and a view of the sunset, which is the most important part of the event.
“The twelve mounds of the Spiro Mounds complex, all of human origin, were constructed in layers from basket loads of dirt,” Peterson said. “Three types of mounds were built at the Spiro Mounds site: one burial mound, two temple mounds, and nine house mounds. While most of the mounds were for buildings to be placed upon or to cover old houses, the single burial mound attracted the most attention.”
Dennis Peterson has been working as the manager of the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center for 30 years now.
The Spiro Mounds, located in what is now Le Flore County, Oklahoma, are one of the most significant archeological discoveries in North America. The Oklahoma Historical Society opened the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center in 1978, and it is the state of Oklahoma’s only archeological park.
The Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center is the only prehistoric American Indian site open to the public in Oklahoma and is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center preserves 150 acres of the site along the Arkansas River. The center offers interpretive exhibits, an introductory slide program and a small gift shop.
There are nearly two miles of interpreted trails, including a one-half mile nature trail.
Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center features an annual Family Kite Flite Day on the third Saturday of March, Archaeology Day, and Birthday Bash in May, and periodic temporary exhibits sponsored by the Spiro Mounds Development Association.
The center is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. Daily admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children older than six and $18 for a family.
The center is located three miles east of Spiro on Highway 9/271 and four miles north of US-271on Lock and Dam Road. The site is closed for state holidays.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people.
Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma.
There is a small fee for the Spiro Mounds series of tours of $5 for adults and $3 for children in addition to the regular daily admission fee.
Oklahoma Historical Society and Spiro Mounds Development Association members do not pay the daily admission fee. No reservations are required, except for large groups.
Payment can be made by cash or check, but credit cards are not accepted.
For more information or to schedule a group or school tour, call 918-962-2062 or email [email protected]. For more information about the OHS, visit www.okhistory.org.