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Effigy Mounds National Monument - History
By Sarah Lane
Jan 25, 2005, 09:02

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Effigy Mounds National Monument - Iowa


The Effigy Mounds National Monument in north-east Iowa lies near the Mississippi River north-west of Dubuque. The monument contains 2,526 acres with 195 mounds. There are 31 effigies in this group of mounds. What is an effigy? It’s a mound built in the likeness of mammals, birds, or reptiles. Eagles, falcons, bison, deer, turtles, lizards, and especially bears were popular choices. Although prehistoric mounds were constructed from the midwest to the Atlantic seaboard, only in this particular area were they created to look like animals. The other mounds are conical, linear, and compound. It was the Eastern Woodland Indians that constructed the effigies from 500 BC until the Europeans came over. The fact that these works of art survived until this day is pretty amazing to think about.

Aside from the mounds you’ll find eleven miles of trails to hike, forests, wetlands, rivers, and tall grass prairies. There are no roads in the park. There are also no campgrounds. If you are interested in camping Pikes Peak State Park and Yellow River State Forest in Iowa, and Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin, are your closest options.


Effigy Mounds National Monument was established by presidential proclamation in 1949. This monument preserves an important time of prehistoric American Indian mound building, but it also serves to protect the wildlife and natural aspects of the area so people can enjoy it for another thousand years.

Source: NPS, Dept. of the Interior




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