Along the banks of the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana, you can explore a thousand-year-old archaeological treasure. Southwest Indiana was once a bustling community of Native Americans, and one of the best-preserved, pre-contact sites in all North America can be found right here in the heartland at Angel Mounds State Historic Site.
Angel Mounds State Historic Site is what remains of an ancient metropolis that was built between the years 1050 and 1400 A.D.. Over 1,000 native Mississippians lived here among 11 earthen mounds that were once platforms elevating important structures. The community once too up over 100 acres. It was a hub for politics, trade and spiritual ceremonies. People would converge on this from every direction within a 75-mile radius, archaeologists say.
No one knows exactly why, but this center of commerce and community was abandoned long before European explorers made their way through North America. Scientists speculate that climate changes, political issues or a depletion of natural resources might have been responsible for the abandonment of this area. The area remained consistently occupied for more than 300 years before it was abandoned by its inhabitants.
In all, the Angel Mounds State Historic Site encompasses more than 600 acres. One-sixth of this site is considered an archaeological portion, but the other 500 acres are considered non-archaeological grounds and feature hiking and biking trails and a nature preserve.
In the middle of last century, the State of Indiana was deeded the property and Indiana University continues the archaeological work, excavation, and research.
Nearby residents often take advantage of the summer day camps offered at the site and other interesting events. Trails are also open to the public and provide a beautiful scenic path for walking, jogging or biking.