Archeology in the Arkansas Basin
The Arkansas Basin was culturally distinct from the main Caddo Homeland to the south, yet the people living in the two areas long interacted and may have shared a common early ancestry. Various phases have been defined for the area hat are contemporary with Early-Middle-Late Caddo periods. The early part is best known from the Harlan site. Spiro is the region's most famous site and was a primate Mississippian center between about AD. 1100-1450. DeSoto's army apparently invaded the Arkansas Valley in 1542 and fought a pitched battle at a place they called Tula, which has been identified as Fort-Coffee-phase Spiro. In the 18th century French traders moved through the area and continued upstream on the Arkansas River where they had extensive contact with Wichita and Kichai groups. The ethnic identify of the people of Spiro and of the Arkansas Basin remains debated.