Experimental Gardens

Native Cultivars Gardens 

ARI’s Native Cultivars Garden was inspired by the persistence of plants in the landscape despite the movement of people and changing of cultures. In 2020, seeds were collected from plants that are part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex (EAC). The EAC is a suite of plants that were consistently used and at times domesticated in the Eastern Woodlands region for thousands of years before the arrival of corn. Plants of the EAC include goosefoot, maygrass, sumpweed, and erect knotweed. 2021 saw the building of four raised garden beds and growth of 11 different plant species thanks to the help of our partnership with the Southeast Indiana Community Gardens and a grant provided by the United Way. This year we will be expanding to include a plot of sunflowers, corn, beans, and squash. We try to source all of our plants from small growers and would like to make our crop available to descendant communities for their use.  

Through the Native Cultivars Garden, we seek to make the past tangible through living plants. In this garden you will find plants similar to those that have been recovered from the archaeological soils of the Guard Site as well as plants that are currently used by Native Peoples which have been handed down from generation to generation.   

We welcome all the help and insight we can get from volunteers as well as existing and new partnerships. If you would like to get involved, please reach out to Christina, our garden manager: christina@exploreari.org. 


The Archaeological Research Institute (ARI) recognizes that the land we study and steward is the homeland of many peoples. We acknowledge the myaamia (Miami), Shawanwa (Shawnee), Peewaalia (Peoria), Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) and the multitude of nations who call this their homelands.  

ARI recognizes the violence inflicted upon the indigenous Nations of the Ohio Valley, including their forced removal following treaties such as Fort Finney and Greenville. ARI condemns the intentional destruction of their languages and cultures. ARI condemns the continuous discrimination against the living Native peoples throughout the United States.  

ARI recognizes that these peoples are not of the past, but are vibrant living nations. ARI recognizes that Native Americans are a diverse, resilient people with a deep enduring history worth knowing.  In that light ARI extends our respect to all Native peoples both past and present.  

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