Angel Mounds Collections

Angel Mounds

What is Angel Mounds?

Located near the Ohio River in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, Angel Mounds (12Vg0001) was a well-populated center of a network of communities stretching along a segment about 120-river-miles long. The site was the residence of a Mississippian community between A.D. 1050 and 1450. The primary Mississippian occupation of the region is therefore referred to as the "Angel Phase" (Hilgeman 2000). 

Angel Mounds as regional center included numerous mounds, palisades that surrounded portions of the site, and hundreds of individual structures. The site was eventually abandoned by most of its population after about 300 years of occupation for reasons that are not necessarily understood although it is commonly believed to be due to exhaustion of local resources, climate change, and/or internal social stress.

Today, the Angel Mounds State Historic Site still occupies an impressive 600 acres that includes reconstructed buildings and features, a laboratory, and an interpretive center. Angel Mounds State Historic Site is open and accessible to the public. 

Angel Mounds State Historic Site

Explore the history of the site!

Indiana State Museum website

Angel on exhibit

We're planning an exhibit on Angel Mounds in collaboration with Native partners. Check it out!

Upcoming exhibits

W11B.522.0
V9A.10.0
X11B.5935.0

Angel Mounds at IUMAA

Artifact Collections

The Angel Mounds collections represent the IUMAA's largest archaeology collection, amounting to over 2.5 million artifacts. Excavations at Angel Mounds began in 1939 with Glenn Black supervising WPA works at the site. The excavation tradition continued from the 1940s to the present with Indiana University field schools resulting in a rich collection of artifacts and associated records that have long guided archaeological research on Mississippian culture. Research at the site and with the Angel collections is ongoing and the significance of the Angel Mounds site continues to be defined as more analyses are conducted.

Excavation diary and images (S1542, S1543) of F2/X7D.  

Image Collections

A significant portion of the Archaeology Historic Image Collection chronicles the history of excavations at Angel Mounds Site. From the early days of excavation during the Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the collection documents over 75 years of work at Angel Mounds.  

Resources

Angel Mounds State Historic Site. Indiana State Museum: Evansville, IN.

Black, G. Angel Site: An archaeological, historical, and ethnological study. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1967.

Friberg, C., Pope, M., Sievert, A., St. Germain, J., Grimm, K., & Herrmann, E.W. (2020). Creation of Knowledge and Curation of Legacy: Preserving Angel Mounds Collections and Data. The SAA Archeological Record The Magazine of the Society for American Archaeology, 20(3), 20. Digital Edition.

Hilgeman, S. L. Pottery and Chronology at Angel. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2000.