For over a thousand years, Southwestern Indiana was home to many Native Americans. Today, Angel Mounds State Historic Site is nationally recognized as one of the best preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the United States. From 1100 to 1450 A. D., a town on this site was home to people of the Middle Mississippian culture, who engaged in hunting and farming on the rich bottom lands of the Ohio River. Several thousand people lived in this town protected by a stockade made of wattle and daub. Because Angel Mounds was a chiefdom (the home of the chief) it was the regional center of a large community that grew outward from it for many miles.
This settlement was the largest known town of its time in Indiana, but the Mississippian people eventually deserted it. No one today knows why. Fortunately, preservation and archaeological efforts at Angel Mounds State Historic Site offer a glimpse into this highly developed culture of the distant past. For 60 years, this living museum has told the story of one pre-contact Native American culture on the Ohio River.
Characteristic of their culture, the Mississippian people at Angel built mounds in their town. In chiefdoms like Angel, the high-status families lived and were sometimes buried on top of some of the mounds. Priests and chiefs carried out ceremonies and rituals on the large temple mounds that dominated the town. Some of the mounds at Angel have been excavated by archaeologists, and they contain evidence of being many things: site of the chief's residence, religious and burial locations, garbage dumps, even natural elevations.
The term "Mississippian" refers to an American Indian culture that began around 800 A. D. It eventually covered the Southeastern United States from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic. People of this culture occupied the site at Angel from as early as 1100 A. D.
Angel Mounds State Historic Site is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media