Pinson Mounds State Park

Pinson Mounds is one of the most significant Native American archaeological sites in Tennessee. The mounds were constructed during the Middle Woodland period (ca. A.D. 1-500). The Woodland Indians were the first farmers in West Tennessee, having introduced the cultivation of corn and squash into the region. The Pinson Mounds site illustrates the transition of the Woodlands Indians from hunting and gathering to a more settled, agricultural existence. This National Historic Landmark, which has been maintained as a state park since 1974, contains at least fifteen mounds, most of which seem to have been used for ceremonial purposes. The 72-foot tall Saul’s Mound is the largest, while the Ozier Mound is one of the oldest known ceremonial mounds of its type in the country. The museum offers exhibits on the ongoing archaeological work at Pinson Mounds.

Pinson Mounds, one of two state archaeological parks, is a special park, set aside to protect the prehistoric remains found there. Managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Division of State Parks, the Pinson Mounds grouping consists of at least 15 earthen mounds, a geometic enclosure, habitation areas and related earthworks in an area that incorporates almost 1,200 acres. Pinson Mounds is a national historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Group Camping
The park has a group camp that can accommodate 32 persons. There are four cabins that sleep eight people each. The large main building has a kitchen and meeting area, couches, chairs, color TV, ping pong table, and a pay telephone. There are restrooms with six showers as well as a washer and dryers. Campers should provide their own dish towels, dishwasher detergent, dishwashing liquid, single size sheets, pillows, pillow cases and blankets.

The kitchen is equipped with two electric ranges, two refrigerators, one upright freezer (standard size), ice machine, grill, commercial dishwasher and 30 cup coffeemaker.

Hiking Trails

The park offers six-miles of trails including a nature trail and a boardwalk with a stop overlooking the Forked Deer River which borders the park.

Historic Park

Pinson Mounds was discovered in 1820 by a crew surveying this part of the country for land claims. The site was named after one of the surveyors-Joel Pinson. The site remained relatively unknown until the 1880's when J. G. Cisco, a Jackson newspaper editor, became interested in it and began publicizing it. In the early 1900's William E. Myer, an archaeologist with the Smithsonian Institution, surveyed and mapped Pinson Mounds. A copy of his map hangs in the museum. In the 1950's and 1960's, local citizens, believing in the value of the site, convinced the State to purchase the land and preserve it as a park.


Pinson Mounds is the largest Middle Woodland period mound group in the United States, and dates to about 1-500 A.D. The Native Americans that built the mounds lived long before historically known Native American tribes, and used the site for ceremonial purposes. The largest mounds were used for various ceremonies, while a few of the smaller mounds, as well as the Twin Mounds, held burials. A number of cremation and activity areas have been found nearby.

Picnic Facilities

There are 24 individual picnic areas scattered throughout the park. Each is equipped with a table that seats 6-8 people and a grill. There are also two large picnic shelters that can accommodate up to 50 people each.


The park features a museum designed to replicate a Native American mound. It includes 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, an archaeological library, an 80-seat theater and 'Discovery Room' for historical exploration, park offices and the West Tennessee Regional Archaeology Office. A copy of Pinson's map hangs in the museum. The museum is open year-round. Contact the park for more information.


The programs at Pinson Mounds combine mystery and history together. The programs try to utilize historical data to enrich and stimulate the audience. The interaction with the group and the guide are the key to our success. Contact the park for programs available.

Archaeofest and Special Events

Archaeofest is held in September and is a celebration of Native American culture and archaeology. Enjoy a wide range of craft demonstrations to include pottery, basketry, leatherwork, flintknapping and chipping, and jewelry making. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the Native American story telling sessions.

Other Activities

Archaeology programs, films and festivals are scheduled from time to time. Fieldwork is normally conducted in the summer, and visitors are welcome to watch the archaeologists at work. Contact the park for more information.