In the heart of Dayton, Ohio lies SunWatch Indian Village, a Smithsonian-designated site, which once housed an Incinerator. It is a reconstructed Native American village located near the Great Miami River on West River Road. The sun-watched village resembles life on the American frontier. This site has been a popular destination for families since it opened in 2002. It is located at 2301 W River Rd, Dayton, OH 45417, visitors can explore the archaeological site and the replica of the village. The Pow Wow Arbor is still used for the annual “Keeping the Tradition” Pow Wow, which occurs every June. The museum was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1990. Today, the village is run by the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and is open Tuesday through Saturday.
In the 1960s, amateur archaeologists discovered the site. The amateurs found a wide array of prehistoric materials along the Miami River. In response, the Dayton Museum of Natural History, now the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, began excavations at the SunWatch site. During the excavations, they uncovered a planned village, stockaded buildings, and astronomical alignments. The site consisted of 3 acres, and artifacts included crawfish pincers, fish scales, and uncharred wood. You might consider this place too.
The discovery of the archaeological site was a major win for local history and archaeologists. The site was nearly set aside for a water treatment plant, but enough evidence was found to stop this project. After excavations, the site was transformed into an interactive museum. Visitors can view artifacts, pottery, pipes, and other Native American objects from over eight thousand years ago. The museum has been a popular destination for 20,000 visitors annually.
The SunWatch Indian Village is accessible to handicapped visitors. There is a paved walkway that leads to the village, and a wood-chip path throughout the village. Parking is free and available for handicapped visitors. Photography is permitted, but it is important to request permission for official photos before taking photos. Special events and activities may also restrict photography. Therefore, make sure to check the website before heading out to the SunWatch Indian Village.
Admission to SunWatch Indian Village is $7 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Members of the Dayton Society of Natural History are entitled to free admission. This membership includes discounts to more than 300 museums in Dayton, OH. Visiting the museum during this time will allow you to experience Indian culture without the hassle of lining up for tickets. If you have time, consider making SunWatch Indian Village a destination for your next trip to Dayton. Be sure to consider this service, if you live here.
Visitors can tour the archaeological park and visit the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. There, you can also view exhibits on the history and culture of the people who lived in the area. The Dayton Museum of Natural History has published a book on the Incinerator Village Site.