St. Ignace Mission, Michigan

Preserved within Marquette Mission Park is the site of the St. Ignace Mission, established by Fr. Marquette in the 17th century. A monument marks the burial site of the Jesuit missionary/explorer, and the Museum of Ojibwe Culture is housed in an adjacent building. Its exhibits highlight 17th century St. Ignace and the Contact Period when the Ojibwe, Huron, and French cultures mixed. The featured culture is the Ojibwa, the region’s original occupants. Included among the exhibits are a Huron long house and a garden with typical Native American plantings. Continue to explore the heritage of The Straits of Mackinac at sites throughout the St. Ignace region, including those linked by The Mackinac State Parks on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

The park and museum are located at 500-566 N. State Street in downtown St. Ignace at the intersection of Marquette and State Streets. St. Ignace is located at the northern terminus of the Mackinac Bridge, on the Upper Peninsula, at the junction of US-2 and I-75.

            

Mount Independence State Historic Site, Vermont

American Revolutionary troops built a fort complex to guard against a British attack from Canada at this site along the Vermont shore of Lake Champlain. The troops named it Mount Independence in honor of the Declaration of Independence. The fort faced north and stood across the lake from the fort at Ticonderoga. The site was evacuated when British General John Burgoyne forced the surrender of Ticonderoga. Today the state of Vermont preserves the site with several miles of hiking trails that lead to the batteries, blockhouses, hospital, barracks, and other archaeological remains of the fort. The visitor center museum contains exhibits featuring many of the artifacts recovered during recent archaeological investigations.

The site is located approximately 50 miles south of Burlington, just west of State Route 22A and the village of Orwell.

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, South Dakota

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is on the site of several villages established by Native Americans around 1000 AD near what is now Mitchell, South Dakota. About a thousand people lived in the village in 70 huts constructed of timber frames and mud plaster. The site has been amazingly well preserved because the land has not been plowed in modern times, leaving the ground relatively untouched and full of artifacts. The museum consists of two facilities, the Boehnen Museum and the Archeodome. The Boehnen Museum houses the Patton Gallery, which exhibits an artifact display (including arrowheads and tools) and a replica of a prehistoric Indian Village lodge. The Archeodome is built over two earth lodges and serves as a year round archeological laboratory, allowing archaeologists unlimited access to the excavation site.

Aztalan State Park, Wisconsin

Aztalan is a prehistoric Native American archaeological site that is incorporated into Aztalan State Park located in southeastern Wisconsin. Archaeological evidence indicates that this was a stockaded village site, occupied between 1100-1300 AD. It is the largest site of its kind in Wisconsin, and is considered to be the northernmost extension of the Middle Mississippian culture group. In other words, attributes of this site were influenced by or similar to a group of prehistoric Native American sites located south of here in an area that covers the central Mississippi River Valley, the lower Ohio River Valley, and most of the Mid-South area, including western and central Kentucky, western Tennessee, and northern Alabama and Mississippi. These sites share many culture attributes including large ceremonial mounds, residential complexes that are sometimes enclosed by stockades or ramparts, extensive trade networks and advanced agricultural practices. The two major Middle Mississippian sites are Cahokia in Illinois and Moundville in Alabama.

Since Azatlan’s discovery in 1836, there has been intermittent archaeological activity, with the most important excavation in 1919. After the site became a state park in 1948, efforts were made to reconstruct parts of the ancient village. Today, visitors may tour this National Historic Landmark site and explore its partially restored stockade enclosure and famous mounds. Aztalan is open daily, April through October.

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep protects a collection of unique prehistoric archeological sites of the ancestral Puebloan people, also called the Anasazi. Human habitation at Hovenweep dates back over 10,000 years ago when nomadic Paleoindians visited the Cajon Mesa to gather food and hunt game. By about 900 A.D., people started to settle here year-round, planting and harvesting crops on the mesa’s top. At its prime in the late 1200’s, the Hovenweep area was home to over 2,500 people. The inhabitants of Hovenweep were part of the large farming culture which occupied the Four Corners region of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona from about 500 B.C. until nearly A.D. 1300. These people excelled in architectural and craft skills as well as farming. The surviving buildings at Hovenweep are the remnants of the settlements built during the high point of their occupation of region. The structures are numerous and varied. Some are square, some D-shaped, some round, some measuring nearly four stories tall. There are towers, kivas, pueblos, room blocks, granaries, check dams, and farming terraces. By the end of the thirteenth century the people of Hovenweep and the surrounding region (such as Mesa Verde and Kayenta) packed up and left the area, presumably moving southward and joining with the people of the Hopi and Zuni. Several theories have developed as to the reasons for the ancestral Puebloans’ departure. Some say they were forced out by hostile neighbors. Others say a combination of overpopulation, overuse of the land, and a 20 year drought beginning in the year 1276 made the area uninhabitable. The first historic reports of the abandoned structures at Hovenweep were made by W.D. Huntington, the leader of a Mormon expedition into southeast Utah in 1854. In 1917-18, J.W. Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution surveyed the area. Fewkes recommended the structures be protected.

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Links: Hovenweep National Monument

Mesa Verde National Park, CO

Mesa Verde National Park was the first site in the National Park Service specifically established to preserve cultural artifacts. From about A.D. 600 through 1300 the ancestors of today’s Pueblo people lived in “cliff dwellings,” stone villages constructed in the sheltered alcoves of canyon walls. After 700 years of habitation, these dwellings were abandoned within the span of one or two generations. Their descendants still live in the southwest today. The Mesa Verde cliff dwellings are among the best preserved in the United States. Mesa Verde National Park had a difficult fire season in the summer of 2000, but the park has reopened with no damage to the cliff dwellings or the park’s collection of artifacts.

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Links: Mesa Verde National Park