Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park preserves the site of the largest the largest Middle Woodland Moundbuilder site in the country and the second largest prehistoric mound in North America. The ceremonial site includes a mound complex of more than 400 acres with unique earthworks dating to about 1-500 A.D. The Moundbuilders lived long before Native American tribes. The largest mounds were for ceremonies, while smaller mounds, as well as the Twin Mounds were for burials. A number of cremation and activity areas are nearby.
The site was once called Sauls Mound, after the family that owned most of the land. Surveyors working on Chickasaw Treaty land claims rediscovered the site and it was renamed for surveyor Joel Pinson. In the 1880s, J. G. Cisco, a Jackson newspaper editor, developed an interest in the site and began writing about it. William E. Myer, a Nashville archaeologist working with the Smithsonian Institution, worked from 1916 to 1922 surveying and mapping Pinson Mounds. A copy of his map is in the museum.
In the 1950s, local citizens began campaigning to have the State to purchase the land to preserve it as a park and have the area named a National Historic Landmark. Work is ongoing to have the park classified as a World Heritage Site.
The area hosts a museum/interpretive center that helps visitors to learn more about the Woodland Mound Builders through exhibits and a variety of programs designed by the programming staff to help visitors have a better understanding of Tennessee’s prehistoric peoples, their cultures and lifeways. Activities and programs cover the sites rich cultural, archaeological, historical, and natural resources.
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.
Paved Nature Trail
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.
Contact the park for more information.
The Junior Ranger Adventure Guide is divided into Four Steps. Each step covers different topics and offers a selection of fun, hands-on activites. As you complete each activity, you will be one step closer to becoming a Junior Ranger. Topics in Steps 1 & 2 include: Safety, History, Plants, Wildlife, Astronomy and Water. In Step 3 you will create your own stewardship project. In Step 4 you will take your Adventure Guide to the park ranger or park office to take your pledge, receive your badge and become an official Tennessee State Park Junior Ranger.
Call (731) 988-5614 for more information.
Visit us in the Gift Shop.
Tour buses are welcome. 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.
Playgrounds are available.
Beginning October 29, 2011, the park museum will operate on its Winter Schedule through March 31, 2012. Winter schedule means the park museum will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 - 4:30 p.m. and will be closed on weekends. Museum and office are closed on the following State Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Good Friday, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Friday, and Christmas thru New Year's Day.
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 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.
Check back soon for more events, or visit our event page for events in other parks.
Many visitors come to camp, picnic and hike more than six miles of trails. The park offers a large-scale annual event called “Archaeofest,” which focuses on both archaeology and Native American culture. This year, the park not only celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks but also the 30th annual Archaeofest, September 15-16, and will offer many special events and performances across the weekend.
The park museum replicates a Native American mound and includes 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, an archaeological library, 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.
460 Ozier Road
Pinson, TN 38366
Phone: (731) 988-5614
Fax: (731) 424-3909
From Jackson, TN follow Hwy. 45 South to the small town of Pinson, TN. Turn left at the park sign, St. Rt. 197 and then follow the signs 2.5 miles to the park entrance.