The Albany Mounds date from the Middle Woodland (Hopewell) period (200 BCE-CE 300), older than either the Cahokia or Dickson Mounds of the Mississippian period. While still obtaining food largely through hunting and gathering, Woodland peoples began practicing basic horticulture of native plants. Woodland peoples are distinguished from earlier inhabitants by the development of pottery and the building of raised mounds near large villages for death and burial ceremonies.
The only Middle Woodland site owned by the state, Albany Mounds originally was made up of ninety-six burial mounds. At least thirty-nine of the mounds remain in good condition, while eight have been partially destroyed through erosion, excavation, or cultivation. Burial artifacts include non-local materials, indicating the existence of trading networks with Native Americans from other areas. The site of the nearby village remains privately owned. The mounds were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.