Co-Directors of the research project are Cheryl Ann Munson of Indiana Univeristy - Bloomington and Dr. Robert G. McCullough of IPFW.

The project has received the generous support of: the landowner; professional archaeologists at many institutions in Indiana and Kentucky; the Falls of the Ohio Archaeological Society; regional historical organizations; and volunteers.


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Last Updated 2.07.2004



The Site

The Mississippian Prather Complex and the Falls "phase"
The Prather site has long been recognized as one of the keys to understanding the nature of the Mississippian occupation in the cental Ohio River Valley, which is essentially restricted to the Falls of the Ohio River region. Prior to historic modifications, the Falls themselves were a series of rapids located between Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana. Since Prather is the best preserved of a small number of known Mississippian sites at the Falls, the term “Prather Complex” has been used by several archaeologists (e.g. Green and Munson 1978) to refer to the Mississippian occupation in the Falls locality. Another term is “Falls Mississippian” (Muller 1986: 249-250). The terms “Falls phase” or “Prather phase” is premature, given the unknown temporal, spatial, and formal dimensions that await delineation. Cheryl Ann Munson (Indiana University-Bloomington) and Robert G. McCullough (IPFW) co-directed a survey project in 2003 which was designed to clarify this problem and to highlight the importance of preserving and studying the few surviving Mississippian sites at the Falls

UPDATE! Download the Prather site report: Archaeological Investigations at the Prather Site, Clark County Indiana: the 2003 Baseline Archaeological Survey (PDF, 10.9MB, opens in new window)

Site Location
The Prather site is located in the greater Louisville metropolitan area in Grant 52, between Jeffersonville and Charlestown, Indiana. It is also situated immediately west of the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant (INAAP), in a once rural area that is rapidly being transformed by residential and industrial development. In the 1940s, the Prather family farm extended south of SR 62 and into the area developed for the INAAP.

Airphoto of Prather Site area (circa 1940)

Land use in the site locale previously was row crops and pasture. Over the decades, plowing for crops is responsible for deflating the mounds observed previously. Today, the site locale is used for pasture and no-till agriculture, and the mounds – whether man-made constructions for structures, refuse accumulations, or undulations of the karst upland – are suggested only by several slight elevations.

This area is presently the subject of industrial development plans, and residential expansion has exploded on private lands. The planned construction of a new bridge across the Ohio River is located near the Prather site and will increase the scale and pace of development. Consequently, the long term preservation of this site is threatened by multiple modern developments making our current work all the more urgent.