Explore an ancient Indiana metropolis at Angel Mounds State Historic Site. A thousand years ago, southwest Indiana was home to a thriving community of Native Americans known as the Mississippians on the banks of the Ohio River. Archaeologists are uncovering the mysteries of these past inhabitants by combing over artifacts left behind.
Angel Mounds is the site of the largest settlement of its time in what is now known as Warrick County, Indiana It was a fortified town serving as a social, political, and religious center for a much larger area of villages, hamlets, and farmsteads that ran 70 miles along the Ohio River, from the Wabash River to 35 miles east of Evansville. The town became known as Angel Mounds because it was part of a farm owned by the Angel family for over 100 years.
This region of the Ohio Valley has been occupied by a succession of people with different cultures. Paleo-Indians, big-game hunters who lived in this region as early as 12,000 years ago, were followed by Archaic hunters and gatherers around 9,000 years ago. By 1000 B.C. the succeeding Woodland peoples had begun to experiment with horticulture and to build ceremonial centers and mounds, activities which laid the foundations for the full-scale corn agriculture and permanent towns and villages of the Mississippian farmers by A.D. 1000. After the abandonment of Angel Mounds by A.D. 1400 – 1450, the population shifted downstream to the mouth of the Wabash where they built a number of large villages before leaving the area altogether by A.D. 1650.
To preserve Angel Mounds, the Indiana Historical Society bought 412 acres of the site in 1938 with money donated by Eli Lilly. In 1946, the Historical Society gave the property to the State of Indiana and in 1965 granted the excavation rights to Indiana University along with the responsibility to house the artifacts. The original purchase was augmented by Elda Clayton Patton Herts’ donation of 20 acres containing an early Woodland mound. This mound lies across from the entrance to Angel Mounds State Historic Site on the north side of Pollack Avenue in Newburgh, Indiana.