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WATCH: SunWatch, seen from the air, shows how Native Americans here lived


It’s hard to imagine what this area would have looked like before the City of Dayton and surrounding suburbs existed, but SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park offers a good idea of how Native Americans were living more than 800 years ago.

Nestled in mature trees along the Great Miami River, the village is believed to have been occupied for only 20 years or so by Fort Ancient culture people who occupied much of the Ohio River valley between 1000-1650.

During archaeological excavation, remnants of posts in the center of the village were found that aligned with astronomical events. The posts were later replaced and stand today with alignments marking solstice and equinox dates.

» RELATED: Aerial views of the Miamisburg Mound

Other excavations revealed stockades and structures that have been recreated to reflect how the village looked. Five lath and mud daub structures with grass thatched roofs stand in their original 13th century places.

» RELATED: The intrigue of the mysterious Serpent Mound

A more modern structure added to the park is the Pow Wow Arbor used for The Miami Valley Council for Native Americans annual “Keeping the Tradition Pow Wow” in June.

» RELATED: The mound builders of Fort Ancient

SunWatch was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1990. SunWatch is operated by The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and is open year-round, Tuesday through Saturday.

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