e've talked a bit about the Wabash River in previous in-stallments in this series. This time we plumb its depths, length, breadth, and its importance in prehistory. The modern Wabash Valley hosts several medium sized cities, but that aspect is not entirely new to this ancient river. In this installment, we start to investigate why people have wanted to settle here for thousands of years. Major river confluences all over the globe have been and remain places of "high commerce.” Of course, overland travel has always maintained great importance as well. But overland travel without benefit of the wheel and, later, mechanized vehicles is much more limited with regard to bulk carry than is riverine travel. Notice I said nothing about using beasts of burden, because ancient Amer-ican people did indeed employ domesticated animals for moving ma-terials. We'll come back to domestication of wild things by Native Americans, but for now let's concentrate on ancient transportation on rivers and on foot. In particular, let's examine travel on and near the Wabash River. The Wabash joins the Ohio at the far southwest corner of Indiana near a place known as "The Bone Bank.” The Indiana side of the Wabash there is in Posey County. The site became known ar-chaeologically in 1806 when it became the first archeological site in Indiana to be recorded by a government official (Government Land Office). It also was one of the first to undergo archaeological exca-vation (1828). We'll come back to that in a minute. The site has a couple other "firsts": in 1873, it became the first archaeological site to be mapped by state geologists, who demonstrated the village site and cemeteries were on a natural ter-race rather than a man-made mound; and in 1898, the first site to Illustration 1: Wabash Drainage. Creative Commons, be "written off" as no longer worthy of study (report to Warren K. Moorehead). Needless to say, that assertion was at best premature Wikipedia or it was an outright lie. A popular regional pas-time in the late 1800s and early 1900s was to go to the Wabash riverbank to "dig" out display-quality artifacts. Illustrations of some of the pot-tery was published by Ephraim Squier and Edwin Davis in their 1847 "Ancient Monuments..." Many of the collected vessels and other artifacts were acquired by Charles Artes, an Evansville, Indiana man, who later sold them to Harmon W. Hen-dricks who made the purchase for the Heye Foundation. The Smithsonian's National Mu-seum of the American Indian now curates this collection. Only a small portion of this important collection has been studied. That first 1828 dig was conducted by French naturalist Charles Alexandre Lesueur. Lesueur concluded that the artifacts and features at Bone Bank were from an ancient American In-dian occupation, rather than the creation of "Mound Builders." His remarkably detailed draw-ings and brief notes (little published until Jacque-line Bonnemains' work in 1984) show that (1) the site then extended for more than 800 m (more than half a mile) along the riverbank; (2) rows of burials with Mississippian pottery and disk pipes were actively eroding from the riverbank; (3) wide, deep pits ⏤ house basins ⏤ up to 1 m below the surface of the terrace also were exposed in the Illustration 2: Bone Bank and Slack Farm in relation to rivers and other sites. riverbank; and (4) there were "typical" late Missis-Image used under "Fair Use" 18USC107. Image credit: Indiana University and sippian artifacts within the burials. W Part 14: On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away by Rick Osmon Ancient Fortresses of the Ohio Valley, Ancient American • Issue Number 114 2 Glenn Black Laboratory.