View of Upper Nodena Village In this section of the Virtual Hampson Museum you will find a series of images that have been created using the latest computer visualization techniques. The goal of the images is to give you a better sense of what the site might have looked like some 500 years ago. We can never be certain how the village appeared but we have pulled together information from archaeological investigation, traditional sources and historical records. Please be sure and explore the 3D Visualization FAQ section for more information on how the details of the visualizations were determined.

We hope that these images increase your interest and curiosity about this location and the people of Nodena – who may have been the ancestors of the modern Quapaw. Our ideal goal would be to create an image, that if given to a Nodena Villager would have them say “yes -- that is what it looked like.” Of course this goal is impossible but it is an ideal that we keep in mind. Nodena was the home for many people and we hope that these images can begin to provide a sense of the richness and complexity of their lives and engage your interest to learn more about the creators of the amazing objects in the Virtual Hampson Museum.

The Upper Nodena Village Visualization
The Upper Nodena Site was a well-demarcated town or village occupying an area of approximately 15.5 acres. It is located on a relict channel of the Mississippi river in northeastern Arkansas and is considered to be a late period Mississippi Valley site suggesting a period of occupation between A.D. 1400-1600. There is some evidence that the town was enclosed by a ditch.It consisted of a ceremonial or 'corporate' complex of two pyramidal mounds, a burial mound, and (possibly) a plaza connecting the mounds and a chunkey field. Dr. Hampson reported a chunkey field that is located south of Mound A and a large plaza, or public square, is located to the west. Houses and cemeteries surrounded the ceremonial area; larger structures situated nearer the complex. Based on the known number of human burials at the site, archaeologists estimate that the town’s population was between 1000 and 1500 at any given time during its 100 years of occupation.

The village also included nearby agricultural fields and groves. Birds-eye view of Upper Nodena Village and agricultural fields The residents of the town practiced maize and bean agriculture, and consumed many local wild plants, such as hickory nuts, black walnuts, hazelnuts, persimmon, wild cherry and paw paw in their diets. They hunted deer, bear, raccoon, rabbit, and turkey, waterfowl and fish.

Representative of the ‘material wealth’ of the inhabitants of the town is the extensive collection of artifacts that have been recovered from the site. The beautiful Nodena effigy and decorated pottery are among the most outstanding examples of Native American art anywhere in the world. We encourage you to Browse the Virtual Collection of Nodena pots.

Read more on the rules and decisions made in the creating the Nodena Village Visualizations in the Village Visualization FAQ!

The Ceremonial Structures
The locations of the ceremonial structures at Nodena are taken from a village plan developed by Dr Hampson. The largest structure, Mound A, was a pyramidal mound measuring approximately 120 x 111 feet, 15 feet tall and oriented east and west. It was described as having two levels; perhaps containing buildings. Other mounds surround Mound A and vary in size from 1.5 to 4 feet tall measuring up to 75 to 100 feet and may have been primarily residential in nature. Mound B, a partially excavated platform mound, was originally described as supporting a structure 60 feet in diameter, although we lack convincing archaeological evidence for this description. Mound C, southwest of Mound A, is the only known burial mound at the site and is recorded as being approximately three feet high and 75 feet square. A chunkey field is located south of Mound A and a large plaza, or public square, is located to the west. Read more about the details of the ceremonial structures and other areas in the FAQ section for Ceremonial Structures.

Image1View of Mound A and Mound C in the background   Image2View of Mound B 

The Houses and other Structures
Houses at the Nodena site were rectangular; ranging in length from 10 to greater than 25 feet on their long axis, or square; ranging in size from 10 to 13 square feet. Historical sources were used in generating the appearance of the houses, the characterization of the wall surfaces and construction details. Small stilted structures that dot the neighborhoods in the (re)creation are corn cribs and the shorter pole structures are drying or smoking racks and hide stretchers. Summer kitchens that provide shade in the summer heat are represented by roofed pole structures. Read more about the construction details of individual Nodena Structures in the FAQ Section.

Image1A 'typical' house in Upper Nodena Village   Image2A corn crib used to store corn and other produce 

Image1View of a possible outdoor cooking area  Image2A house under construction in Upper Nodena 


Agricultural Fields and Surrounding Vegetation
The nature of the trees and forest in the area of the Nodena Village was the result of the area’s  natural conditions as well as 1,000s of years of “forest management” by the inhabitants of the area.  It has become clear in the last decades that the Native Americans actively managed the forest throughout the continent. The Nodena people cleared areas for farming often times leaving nut and fruit-bearing trees for foraging. Read more about how vegetation and fields were "placed" in the Nodena Virtual world in the FAQ pages on Fields and Vegetation.

Image1View of the village and corn fields   Image2Top down view of the village and fields