Published on December 10, 2012 by Amy
Chucalissa Indian Village (40 SY 1) is Mississippian culture archaeological site dating back to the 15th century. The site is located in the city of Memphis in West Tennessee. Chucalissa is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
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Chucalissa is a Walls Phase mound and plaza complex that was occupied, abandoned and reoccupied several times throughout its history, spanning from 1000 to 1550 CE. It is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Other contemporaneous groups in the area include the Parkin Phase, Menard Phase, and the Nodena Phase. It is known for the well preserved architectural, floral, faunal, and human osteological remains excavated there. During the early 1540s the Hernando de Soto Expedition passed through the area, stopping at many villages along the way. It is thought that the Walls phase may be the Province of Quizquiz encountered by de Soto on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is unlikely that Chucalissa itself was visited by the expedition, as it is thought to have been abandoned at the time.
Civilian Conservation Corps workers discovered Native American artifacts on the site in 1938 and archaeological excavations of this Mississippian mound complex were initiated. The facility has been operated by the University of Memphis since 1962.
In 1973 Chucalissa Indian Village was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Later, in 1994, it was declared a National Historic Landmark. The museum, named after its founding director, curates an extensive collection of artifacts recovered during a 40-year period of systematic excavations. The site features a Mississippian mound complex, nature trail and arboretum, hands-on archaeology lab, and exhibits that explore the history and life-ways of Native Americans of the historic and prehistoric southeastern United States.
Chucalissa is the site of the Southeast Indian Heritage Festival held annually in October.