Cuyahoga River and Prehistoric People

Low panel on two legs with a river illustration and five inset photos of wildlife and bones.
Graphic panel overlooks the Cuyahoga River.

NPS / Arrye Rosser

Quick Facts
Park at Canal Exploration Center, 7104 Canal Road, Valley View, Ohio 44125 and hike north on the Towpath Trail.
The river was a source of food and transportation to early prehistoric Americans. Archeologists have learned this by studying what little these early peoples left behind.
Ohio & Erie Canal District, Ohio and Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, Ohio to Erie Trail, Industrial Heartland Trail Network, National American Heritage River, Wild & Scenic River

Audio Description, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Wheelchair Accessible

Native Americans settledĀ along rivers for several reasons. Rivers provided water and abundant food sources, from mussels and fish to ducks and muskrats. Prehistoric people left their "dinner trash," such as bone and shell fragments. These dinner discards give archeologists insights into ancient diets. Remnants of net weights, bone fishhooks, and broken spears are clues about how people during various periods captured dinner.

Rivers were also transportation routes. The scope of prehistoric trade networks varied dramatically over time.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Last updated: December 13, 2021