SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park

Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy
  • Race & Ethnicity


2301 West River RdDayton, OH 45417 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

SunWatch Indian Village, brings to life the 900 year old Fort Ancient culture. Here visitors of all ages can experience the daily lives of these members of Dayton's first neighborhood.

Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Miami Valley was home to native peoples. Archaeological excavations at a site near the Great Miami River uncovered evidence of an 800-year-old village built by the Fort Ancient Indians. SunWatch Indian Village, a National Historic Landmark, is a reconstruction of that settlement of long ago.

If you're searching for a very special gift, visit the Gift Shop at SunWatch. Our selection includes Native American made rugs, pottery, jewelry, flutes, dreamcatchers, and more.

SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park is now a drop-off site for The Miami Valley Council for Native Americans Annual Clothing and School Supplies Drive. Donations support the people at Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Reservations in South Dakota.


SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park is a partially reconstructed Fort Ancient period Native American village along the Great Miami River in Dayton, Ohio. Originally named the Incinerator Site, it was first excavated and reported on in the 1960's. When news came in the early 1970's that the City of Dayton planned to expand a nearby sewage treatment plant onto the property and impact the site the Dayton Museum of Natural History became involved in hopes of recovering as much valuable information from the site as possible. In 1971 salvage excavations at the site began with this goal in mind.

With the cooperation of the City of Dayton the plans for the expansion of the sewage treatment plant were modified, and with the assistance of the city, numerous volunteers, scholars, and supporters the site was saved from destruction. Soon after planning began to interpret and open the site to the public.

SunWatch currently combines experimental archaeological research, including the reconstruction of the Fort Ancient structures in their original 13th century locations, with an interpretive center that exhibits many of the artifacts that have been recovered from the site. The village reconstruction includes five lath and daub structures with grass thatch roofs, portions of a stockade, and a native garden and prairie with plants typical of the period. Inferred astronomical alignments originate from a complex of posts at the center of the village that have also been replaced.


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