Effigy Mounds National Monument
This national monument is located in the northeastern cornerof Iowa on the western bank of the Mississippi River. The park covers portionsof land in both Clayton and Allamakee Counties with the headquarters located 5miles north of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and McGregor, Iowa. The park isgeographically divided into two areas, the first is the Headquarters Sectionwhich includes the North and South units. The second area, Sny Magill rests onJohnsons slough of the Mississippi River approximately 11 miles south of theHeadquarters unit. The 100 mounds in the Sny Magill unit represent the largestconcentration of mounds in one compact group. The majority of the remainingmounds lie on the ridge tops of the North and South units.
Effigy Mounds National Monument is located in a non-glaciated zonescarred by the cutting action of rushing streams on their journey to the mightyMississippi. The North and South units are mainly upland areas with steepbluffs and open fields. These areas rest 900 feet or more above sea level andmake up the highest areas of the monument. The steep slopes, flood plains andwaterways make up the latter half of the North and South units. The lowestportion of the monument is at the mouth of the Yellow River, at an elevation ofapproximately 600 feet above sea level.
The National Monument encompasses some 196 mounds, 26 are visible in theshape of bear and bird effigies. The remaining mounds are conical and linearshaped, or a combination of the two. The mounds have been dated from 2,500years B.P. to 400 years B.P. The conical shaped mounds are the earliest,thought to be constructed by the RedOcher peoples in the Early Woodland Period. The next division is noted in thepottery and the use of many different materials obtained from distant sources.The remains from this period are called Hopewellian and date from about 2,000years B.P. to 1,400 years B.P. This coincides with the linear and compoundmounds which first appear about 2,000 years ago. The Effigy mound buildersoverlapped with the Hopewellian peoples and lasted until quite recently. TheEffigy mounds started showing up about 1,500 years ago and lasted to roughly600 years ago. The distinction between these people and their predecessors isin the use of copper tools and that they buried their dead with very littlelasting material.
1881- Alfred J. Hill and Theodore Lewis surveyed and mapped the NE Iowamounds.
1885-1940- Ellison Orr conducted surveys of the NE Iowa mounds.
1890-1891- The Bureau of American Ethnology research team studied thesemounds.
1946- The National Park Service (NPS) and the state of Iowa agreed on thename of Effigy Mounds National Monument.
1949-On Oct. 25, President Harry Truman proclaimed Effigy Mounds NationalMonument .
1952- NPS archaeologist Paul Beaubien conducted tests and excavated somemounds at Sny Magill.
1956- The NPS completed an ethnobotanical study to identify and photographwild plants on monument grounds.
1957- Wayne Scholtes conducted a pollen analysis of the soil samples takenfrom the monument.
1960- The visitor center and trail-ways were completed.
1980- The first aerial photographs were taken of the Sny Magill mounds.
1986- Aerial Service Inc. provided photgrammetric data and topographic mapsof Sny Magill.
1987-Chruch's Surveying and Mapping prepared a map of the Sny Magill unit.
1987- Arthur Bettis III conducted a geomorphological study of Sny Magill.
1987-1988- NPS archaeologists conducted field investigation at Sny Magill.
1988- Dale Henning tested areas between mounds, some newly identifiedfeatures at Sny Magill, and some rock shelters.
Approximately 10% of the mounds have been excavated. Current emphasis is onpreservation and non-destructive mound study
Some good links for more info:
National Park Service
O' Bright, Jill York. The Perpetual March: An Administrative History ofEffigy Mounds National Monument. Omaha, Nebraska. Midwest Regional Office,1989.
United States. Department of Interior. National Parks Service. GeneralManagement Plan: Effigy Mounds National Monument. Denver Service Center,May 1991.
Image Credit: www.nps.gov/efmo/what.html