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Rudy Dale | all galleries >> The Art of U.S. National Parks Signs > Effigy Mounds
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Effigy Mounds
08-NOV-2006 Bob Kammel

Effigy Mounds

Harpers Ferry, Iowa

Effigy Mounds National Monument -

The monument contains nationally significant archeological resources including (original) surviving examples of earthen American Indian mound groups that provide an insight into the social, ceremonial, political, and economic life of the Eastern Woodland people. Two hundred six pre European contact mounds are preserved here - of which 31 are effigies in the shape of bears and birds. Natural features in the monument include forests, tallgrass prairies, wetlands and rivers. As a sacred site to the modern descendants of the moundbuilders, park access is offered via fourteen miles of hiking trails; no self guiding roadways exist in the park. Eastern Woodland Indians built mounds from about 500 BC until the early European contact period. A unique “Effigy Mound” culture developed in this area of the Upper Midwest placing thousands of mounds in the shape of animals across the landscape. Others are conical, linear or compound shapes; many of the conical are burial mounds. Some effigy mound groups were built to a monumental scale; the “Marching Bear Group”, containing 10 bear and three bird effigies, stretches nearly one quarter mile along a bluff top overlooking the Upper Mississippi River.

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