Marksville State Historic Site By Andre Dobison Designated by the Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark in 1964, the Marksville State Historic Site in Marksville, Louisiana, displays artifacts important to the heritage of the Avoyel-Taensa Tribe/Nation. This 42-acre park sits on a bluff overlooking the Old River. The area was long recognized as containing remnants of a Native American civilization, but it was not until 1926 that the Smithsonian Institute began scientific investigation of the site. Smithsonian Institute archaeologists uncovered artifacts dating back 2,000 years. The main ceremonial site covers a 3,300-foot-long semicircular area, which varies in height from three to seven feet. Archaeologists hypothesize that the enclosed area served as a meeting place, probably for funeral rituals. The six mounds within this space, and others outside, suggest a burial area. The findings of excavations reveal a relationship with tribes of the Hopewell cultures in Ohio and Illinois. Furthermore, evidence indicates that this complex culture built extensive trade networks and created decorative pottery. These tribes may have also have initiated the agricultural production of maize. For more information, visit www.crt.state.la.us/parks/imarksvle.aspx About the Author: A member of the Avoyel-Taensa Tribe/Nation based in Marksville, Louisiana, Andre Dobison works in the field of financial services.