Indiana Archaeologists Determine Hopewell Earthwork at Strawtown, Indiana is Oneoto Sioux

Indiana Archaeologists Determine Hopewell Earthwork at Strawtown, Indiana is Oneoto Sioux


The Srawtown henge is discernable from the circular elevated platform seen on the left encircled by a ditch with the outer wall also still visible. Despite being plowed for years what may be a gateway is evident on the southeast section. Traces of additional embankments were discovered several hundred yards south of the earthwork. The Strawtown earthwork is located on the high ground overlooking the White River as it bends to the south.
The larger size of this henge is comparable to others found at the Highbank Works at Chillicothe, Ohio and Yorktown, Indiana. The henges around Piqua Ohio also include a work 300 feet in diameter along with a spoked burial. A spoked burial was also discovered in Madison County Indiana near the works at Mounds State Park. IPFW archaeologist excavated parts of the earthwork and concluded that the artifacts they found were culturally affiliated with the Oneoto Sioux. Strawtown is the anchor to Indiana’s magical 50 miles that reveals by going back upriver to the east the circular henges at Mounds State Park, the henge in Delaware county, the large mound at Windsor and the Winchester works.  


Indiana Department of Geology and Natural History (Fourteenth Annual Report), 1884
But Strawtown has an antiquity evidently higher than the days of the Delaware Indians. The mound builders have left their footprints in this vicinity by the numerous relics of the Stone Age that have been picked up by the present inhabitants. A little west of the present village there is a burial mound about six feet high; it has been plowed over for a number of years, so that not only its height has been reduced, but its base rendered so indistinct that its diameter can not be accurately measured; it is, however, between seventy and eighty feet. It was opened in 1882 by Judge Overman, of Tipton, and four skeletons were found lying on the original surface of the ground, with their heads together and their feet directed to the cardinal points of the compass.
This type of 'spoked burial' is found throughout the Ohio Valley associated with both the Adena and Hopewell.

At a distance of 150 yards southeast of this mound is a circular embankment, now about three feet high, and twelve feet on the base.  The diameter of the circle, measured from the bottom of the ditch on each side, is 315 feet. There is a doubt as to what period this work should be referred. A tradition among the “old settlers” claims that the remains of palisades that once formed a stockade, were standing on the embankment when the early immigrants settled here. This tradition is strengthened by the fact that in 1810 a stockade was built by the Delaware Indians somewhere near this spot, as a protection against their Miami neighbors north of White River. Moreover, it was not the custom of the mound builders to make a ditch on the outside of their embankments. On the other hand, the regularity of the work, and the perfect form of the circle, is hardly compatible with the idea that this is the work of modern savages. It is possible that the circle dates back to the period of the mound builders, and that the Delaware’s took advantage of it to build their stockade on, and made the ditch to strengthen their palisades. The ditch was been filled, and the embankment reduced much by cultivation.