The Best Sightseeing Tells a Story- Effigy Mounds

 

this is the mound with the bear effigy. It is very hard to tell excpoet for the longer grass. when you're closer you can make out the head and dnout and two legs as seen in profile, bjut you would really need to know the location. I imagine the view from above would be easier to see. Photo by Dan Wentzel.

This is the mound with the bear effigy. It is very hard to tell except for the longer grass. When you’re closer you can make out the head and snout and two legs as seen in profile but, you would really need to know the location. I imagine the view from above would be easier to see. Photo by Dan Wentzel.

We were recently introduced to additional information on Effigy Mounds. We are in Pikes Peak State Park in MacGregor, Iowa. Sites of about 63 Effigy Mounds are supposed to be located in this park.

The Native Americans referred to as the Woodland Culture existed at least 400-1220 AD. They built these burial mounds to mark the sacred areas where people and animals were interred. The shapes were usually conical or linear platforms. However, some of these mounds were made in the form of animals. The word ‘effigy’ means a representation or image of something. Often the mounds portrayed a bear, bird or even a spirit animal.

Today, sometimes, it is extremely hard to make these mounds out since many are now covered with grass and weeds. Although many places display signs or information as to the whereabouts of these mounds to help visitors find them, this practice appears to be frowned upon by the Native Americans themselves since these are burial grounds and therefore sacred.

According to one of the park workers here in Iowa, the state park is not allowed to mark these mounds with a sign as the idea was for them to remain untouched and only be known unto the families and tribes of those buried. The park attendant also said they could not touch the mounds even to mow them so one tell-tale sign is when you see the higher grass in an area where a mound is supposed to be located even though grass around it is cut quite short.

The story behind these mounds of earth is quite interesting and as every good sightseeing spot should have a story that makes it worthwhile seeing; these do.

Research says that these mounds are located in many places across the United States and many parks exist just to feature large quantities of these memorials.

As exciting as any ancient evidence of early life can be, we must still remember that these mounds are often the resting place of someone’s ancestors that once lived and were loved. We should remember it’s also a sacred place and should be revered, never desecrated or disturbed in any way. Show the same respect you would in a cemetery or place of memorial for your own culture.

 

 

 

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