At a time when Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages, a Native American culture, known today as the Mississippian Moundbuilders, thrived in what is now the Angel Mounds State Historic Site in Evansville.
The innovative Mississippian culture originated in the southeastern United States, and was the first to extensively exploit agriculture and build permanent communities with thousands of residents. The population at Angel Mounds may have reached 3,000 and was the largest settlement in Indiana. It was the center of trade, government and religion for the smaller surrounding communities.
By 1450 Angel Mounds was abandoned. There is no evidence to show why the inhabitants left, and it remains a mystery to this day.
Most of the population shifted 30 miles to the west of Angel Mounds and they continued to live on small farms and in villages along the Ohio River until the early 1600s. However, these Mississippians were also gone before Europeans arrived in Indiana.