The Castor Phase: Late Prehistoric Farmers in Central Indiana

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

Midwest Archaeological Conference

Conference Location

Indiana University, Bloomington

Peer Review



Recent investigations have identified a substantial Late Prehistoric population inhabiting the West Fork of the White River mostly in Hamilton and Marion counties between about A.D. 1050 and 1400. This newly identified group is best represented at the Castor Farm site, where geophysical survey and excavation have been conducted for several years. The material culture most closely resembles the Younge or Western Basin Tradition materials from northwest Ohio and southeastern Michigan yet is unique enough to warrant its own designation. The Castor phase occupation in central Indiana reveals a coalescence and aggregation that reflects a transformation of society as evidenced in settlement structure and patterning when compared to the more northern groups. Later a portion of the Castor population integrated with an arriving Fort Ancient population (around A.D. 1200) to form the Oliver phase, demonstrating the flluidity of social boundaries at times in central Indiana.


archaeology, Late Prehistoric, Midwest, Indiana, Castor phase, ethnogenesis


Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology

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