Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
Artist Reconstruction of Shippingport Mississippian village


Site ID: 15Jf702

Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​​​​​​​​​The Shippingport site sits on Shippingport Island which lies downstream from Louisville. AMEC Earth and Environmental investigated the site after a Louisville District - Army Corps of Engineers project accidentally disturbed it. 

Native farming ​groups occupied the site primarily from 1300 to 1450 AD.  Investigators documented fourteen Mississippian period ​structures and several trash disposal areas.​​​

Mississippian house construction types: single-set posts (left) and wall-trench (right).


​Artifacts recovered from Shippingport were similar to those from other Ohio Valley Mississippian period sites. Chipped stone tools included triangular arrowheads, drills, scrapers, and knives.  Among the groundstone artifacts were discoidals, pipes, and celts. 

Ceramic vessels were mainly plain, fabric-impressed, and negative-painted jars, bowls, plats, bottles and pans - typical of Mississippian ceramics from sites throughout the lower Ohio River Valley.  Unlike earlier Mississippian sites in the Falls Region, however, investigators recovered a substantial amount of Fort Ancient ceramics at Shippingport. These vessels were cordmarked jars with plain necks, many of which were decorated with rectilinear and curvilinear designs. 

Investigators documented both wall-trench and single-set post houses ​at the site. House size ranged from 13 by 13 feet to 16 by 16 feet. These structures tended to be oriented northwest/southeast.  Most had a prepared central hearth, and evidence for hearth cleaning and reuse at the site was common.  Small interior storage pits, benches, and racks were associated with several structures.  All had been repaired repeatedly, and most had been burned when they were abandoned. 

Angel Negative Painted plate rim. Residents may have traded for the vessel with people living downstream at the Angel site.

What's Cool?

​Intercultural Connections

Investigators recovered Mississippian and Fort Ancient ceramic vessels at Shipping-port​​. These vessels came from the same places at the site.  Regardless of ceramic type or vessel form, all were made from local floodplain clays. 

Because Fort Ancient ceramics accounted for about one-quarter of the sherds recovered from Shippingport, archaeologists hypothesize that by 1350 AD, Fort Ancient families were living in the village.  Fort Ancient households may have moved to the Mississippian community on Shippingport Island, which sat on the Mississippian/Fort Ancient boundary/frontier, to formalize intercultural social and economic relationships.

Jar rims from the site:  Mississippian (top row); Fort Ancient (bottom row).

Related Materials

Keep the Search Alive!