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SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park

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SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park
In 1893, the Dayton Public Library and Museum became home to the first exhibits of what would later become the Dayton Museum of Natural History. Throughout its history, the museum has received several donations consisting of collections amassed by eminent Dayton residents on their travels all over the globe. Additionally, given were natural history collections from the local area. The Dayton Society of Natural History was established in 1952 by residents. The Dayton Society of Natural History then assumed control of the collections and established the Dayton Museum of Natural History to house them. The Museum of Natural History's main facility on Ridge Avenue in Dayton was opened.

Amateur archaeologists John Allman and Charles Smith were the ones who first explored and reported on what was later known as the SunWatch site but was previously known as the Incinerator Site. Browse around this site.

The Curator at the Dayton Museum of Natural History hopes to recover as much valuable information from the site as possible. The news that the City of Dayton planned to expand a nearby sewage treatment plant onto the property and impact the area came to light in the early 1970s. The expansion would have affected the site. The Dayton Museum of Natural History, now known as the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, initiated "salvage excavations" at the site in 1971 with the specific intention of achieving this purpose.

This first operation was meant to retrieve as much data from the hamlet as possible before the anticipated demolition of the property to make space for the sewage treatment plant expansion. As excavations progressed, a planned, stockaded settlement that was thought to have been populated for roughly 20 years and contained apparent astronomical alignments was uncovered. The settlement site, which covered around 3 acres, was found to have several artifacts in excellent condition. These relics included delicate things like crayfish pincers, fish scales, turkey egg shell pieces, and even uncharred wood remnants. Archaeology was something that many kids and adult volunteers had never experienced before.

SunWatch was first made available to the public on July 29, 1988, after the Dayton Society of Natural History had spent the previous 17 years excavating and conducting research there. The excavations proceeded on a seasonal basis until the year 1989. Currently, SunWatch combines experimental archaeological research with an interpretive center that displays many of the artifacts that have been found at the location with the reconstruction of the Fort Ancient structures in their original areas from the 13th century. This project is part of the Fort Ancient project. The reconstructed hamlet has five buildings made of lath and daub and topped with grass thatch, as well as sections of a fence, a natural garden, and a prairie filled with species that were common during that period. Inferred astronomical alignments may be traced back to a cluster of posts in the middle of the settlement. These posts have since been removed and replaced. In addition, there is a picnic shelter with picnic tables that face out over the town and are available for guests to use when they want to rest.

Following an intensive makeover that increased the size of the building by more than 6,000 square feet, the Heilman-Kettering Interpretive Center at SunWatch reopened to the public in June of 2006. Refurbishment featured the addition of a new lecture room that can be split in half and used for various purposes, including hosting receptions, seminars, touring exhibitions, and other events. Their visitors have access to a conference room that looks out over the rebuilt town, a disability lift that allows them to reach the new second floor, more toilets, and a variety of other facilities, all of which contribute to their comfort and pleasure during their stay.


Mission

The mission of the SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park is to act as a tourist and education facility for the site's archaeology, Native American culture, and cultural stewardship, as well as to protect, preserve, and conduct research on the cultural remains of the SunWatch National Historic Landmark archaeological site. In addition, the park's mission is to protect the cultural remains of the SunWatch National Historic Landmark archaeological site.
Through the efforts of the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, to educate and enlighten all individuals living in the surrounding area about the wondrous things that may be found around the globe.

The mission of the SunWatch National Historic Landmark Archaeological Site is twofold: to act as a tourist and education facility for the site's archaeology, Native American culture, and heritage care; and to protect, preserve, and conduct research on the cultural remains that were discovered at the site.

The American Indian Advisory Committee

The Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH) American Indian Advisory Committee came into being due to the interest of many devoted people of Native American origin. Solomon Brokeshoulder and other members of the Four Points Intertribal Association approached the Dayton Museum of Natural History in 1972 to express their concerns about the ongoing archaeological excavations at what is now known as SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park. They requested a meeting with the museum to discuss their concerns. Initially, members of the Four Points Intertribal Association were against the excavation at that location. Still, later, dialogue between the two organizations found that they had a mutual purpose to preserve and disseminate Native American culture.

It wasn't until 1989 that the Indian Advisory Committee to the DSNH had its official start. Solomon, John Temple, Irene Temple, and Tsali Ticonderoga were the first people to join what would become known as the Indian Advisory Committee. This is a self-governing and independent group of committed people to foster improved communication and mutual between the Native American community and the DSNH's Anthropology Department population in southwestern Ohio. At the beginning of their work, the bulk of the issues they addressed related to SunWatch; However, as time passed, the range of their contributions grew to encompass a variety of new subjects. Today, the American Indian Advisory Committee provides the DSNH with advice on a wide variety of topics, including the selection of ethnographic specimens for exhibition at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, excavation plans at the DSNH's current archaeological site, the preservation of sensitive cultural material; the reconstruction of the village at SunWatch, and more.

It wasn't until 1989 that the Indian Advisory Committee to the DSNH had its official start. Solomon, John Temple, Irene Temple, Tsali Ticonderoga, and Cynthia Kassee were the first people to join what would become known as the Indian Advisory Committee. This is a self-governing and independent group of committed people to foster improved communication and mutual population in southwestern Ohio. At the beginning of their work, the bulk of the issues they addressed related to SunWatch's contributions grew to encompass a variety of new subjects. Today, the American Indian Advisory Committee provides the DSNH with advice on a wide variety of topics, including the selection of ethnographic specimens for exhibition at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, excavation plans at the DSNH's current archaeological site, the preservation of sensitive cultural material; the reconstruction of the village at SunWatch, and more.

Visit their website or contact them at (937) 268-8199 for additional details.
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