Archeology This Month celebrates the diverse heritage of the United States and its connections around the world. For Hispanic Heritage Month, join us in exploring the rich archeological heritage of peoples of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino origin.
Archeological sites reveal chapters of this heritage, from early exploration and commerce on the high seas, to the building of mission churches and disruption of Native peoples, to everyday life in families and communities. Look below to find places to go, things to do, and suggestions on ways to expand your understanding.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Follow the archeological footsteps:
- Read about the archeology of American Latinos across the US.
- During a rest stop at El Morro National Monument, Spanish travelers and explorers carved graffiti into the rock.
- Hernando De Soto looked for riches in the New World. He found shell objects, mica, and copper (now found archeologically); ravaged Native peoples' communities; then died of fever.
- Wagon ruts from the Santa Fe Trail, a 19th-century trade route that spread cultural change in addition to commerce, are still visible at Fort Larned.
- Spanish missionaries established missions to Christianize the Native American populations and make them Spanish citizens, as at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, Tumacácori National Historical Park, and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
- Sunken Spanish ships remain in the waters at Dry Tortugas National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and throughout Florida. The visitor center at Assateague Island National Seashore displays artifacts from Spanish Royal Naval ships that wrecked off the coast.
- For more ideas, check out Visit Latino Archeology (Visitar Arqueología Latina) and search the National Register or National Historic Landmarks database for historic properties.
- Visit Telling All Americans' Stories: American Latino Heritage to learn about more people and places.
Explore online activities from home:
- Educational activities and lesson plans in English and Spanish
- Latino Archeology for Kids
- Junior Archeologist (translated into Spanish)
Dig deeper to learn about Hispanic and Latino heritage:
- Do you know why people call themselves Hispanic, Latino or Latina or Latinx, Tejano or Tejana, or Cubano? Each describes an identity, history, and heritage that is important to the person using it.
- Learn a few archeology words in Spanish: arqueología, arqueóloga or arqueólogo, artefacto.
- Get involved and volunteer, intern, and more at national park and partner sites representative of Hispanic heritage.