Late Prehistoric/Fort Ancient

A.D. 1000-1650?

Fort Ancient (southern Ohio), Sandusky (northwestern Ohio), Whittlesey (northeastern Ohio), Monongahela (eastern Ohio)

Late Prehistoric peoples lived in villages located in areas of fertile soil that could support cultivation of corn, beans, and squash. Although their crops supplied a major portion of their food supply, they also hunted game (with bows and arrows), fished, and collected wild plant foods and nuts. Periodically, perhaps every 10-15 years, declining fertility of the crop land, decreasing supplies of wood and game, and increasing sanitation problems forced the villagers to move their community to a new location. Each group-Fort Ancient, Sandusky, Whittlesey, and Monongahela-had its own distinctive ways of making and decorating ceramic jars and bowls.

Although the picture is far from clear, by the early 17th century, these Late Prehistoric people were either eradicated by other Indian groups, were decimated by the diseases spreading from the European colonies on the East Coast, or moved out of the Ohio area to avoid these problems. Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, and Miami Indians (among others) then moved into the Ohio area shortly before the advent of early European explorers and missionaries.

The Fort Ancient people occupied most of the river valleys of southern Ohio, northern Kentucky, and western West Virginia. Their villages consisted of a number of rectangular houses often grouped around an open plaza area. In some instances, they protected their community by erecting a wooden fence or stockade around it.