Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Moundville to host archaeological event

A few miles outside of Tuscaloosa sits the Moundville Archaeological Park, an ancient Native American site and a part of The University of Alabama Museums.

For several years, the park has hosted events aimed at teaching the public about Southeastern Native American culture. One such event is called Saturday in the Park, where local experts come together to educate the community about Southeastern Native American arts and traditions.

Tyler Fox, an Americorps VISTA at Moundville, has been participating in Saturday in Park since March. He helped create the schedule of artists for this year’s events and will be giving a gardening class on Sept. 22.

“At its height, Moundville was the largest city north of Mexico City,” Fox said. “Many people don’t realize the rich cultural significance that is right in our backyard.”

Fox said programs like Saturday in the Park showcase what life was like for the Native Americans who once lived in the area. He said that on a typical Saturday, there are many activities for participants to choose from such as pottery, textiles, flute making and interpretations of native languages.

Betsy Irwin, the education outreach coordinator for Moundville, oversees the educational programs for Saturday in the Park and often contributes her artistic skills to the events.

Irwin said she has been making pots and ceramics for over 30 years, focusing on the techniques used by the Southeastern Native Americans. She has been involved with Saturday in the Park since 1991.

“When people think of Indian art, they normally envision the type of art produced by the Southwestern tribes,” Irwin said. “Many people don’t realize how incredibly complex and beautiful Southeastern Indian art is.”

As part of University Museums, the Moundville Archaeological Park is dedicated to preserving and researching the Moundville site, while providing a place for locals to enjoy.

Fox and Irwin have both enjoyed their time working with Saturday in the Park.

Irwin said her favorite part is learning the different processes for making art and seeing the children’s reactions to the lessons.

For Fox, the most important part is what people take away from the event.

“My hope is that the Saturday in the Park program will resonate a little deeper in someone than just being able to recite facts,” Fox said. “It’s great if someone learns a new skill or fact, but hopefully the takeaway is much deeper than surface level.”

Moundville’s Saturday in the Park runs almost every weekend from August to December and is free with park admission. For more information, go to


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