Oak Village – Oakville, Iowa
Not too far from the Mississippi River that runs through Iowa you will find the little town of Oakville. The town got devastated by the floods of 2008 but with all the devastation came the wonders of the past. The flood unearthed a prehistoric village buried under the ground that was washing open during the flood.
The find is now being called Oak Village. Oak Village is one of only three known "ring" midden American Indian villages associated with the Weaver artifact assemblage. It also is only the second known to exist west of the Mississippi River.
It isn’t that there aren’t any other sites like this in the country, Illinois has some and there is one 10 miles north of Oakville. What makes this so different is that the site is in excellent condition and the artifacts are in excellent condition too. It will allow the study of the culture and history of the site to be far more thorough than other sites where the artifacts have been chewed up by plows farming the ground or road construction crews clearing the way.
The sites are round, kind of a donut-shaped with houses around the outside and the center being open. Ithis village is approximately 75 to 90 yards in diameter and most likely oval shaped where there were probably 20 to 25 wigwam homes located with 10 people living in each one.
The site dates to a transitional middle to late Woodland period which is 300 to 400 AD. It represents a poorly documented site-type associated with the weaver cultural tradition. This period refers to prehistoric sites between the Archaic period and the Mississippian cultures.
During this time in history the people became more sedentary, living in one place throughout the year instead of moving for the seasons.
The wigwam homes were made up of small poles around the side, bent over the top and covered with bark material. It is a single room house.
The natives grew crops, fished the river and hunted for meat. Archeologists have recovered several fish and animal bones as well as pottery pieces, spear points, fire rocks and debris from chipping tools.
So far, 60 pit features and seven houses have been identified in the site.
It is expected that the site will yield approximately 200,000 pieces of artifacts which will be taken to the state historical office where it will be curated. They will be on display at one of the local museum in the future.
There have not been any human remains found at the site nor are they expecting to find any. Nevertheless, the site was described as a "rare and undisturbed" that provides a unique opportunity for archaeologists to answer a variety of research questions about the Weaver cultural tradition.
Location: Oakville: half mile walk from County Road H22,
Duration: until the "dig" is completed.