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Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa

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Effigy Mounds National Monument is three separate protected sites in Allamakee County and Clayton County in Iowa with prehistoric mounds which were ceremonial and sacred sites of early Native Americans. The three sites are called North Unit (67 mounds), South Unit (29 mounds) and Sny Magill Unit (112 mounds). Of these, the North and South units are near each others, close to the Mississippi River, whereas Sny Magill Unit is 11 miles (17 km) south.

The Effigy Mounds National Monument is adjacent to other protected areas including the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge, the Yellow River State Forest and the Pikes Peak State Refuge.

Marching Bear Mounds, Effigy Mounds National Monument, IowaMarching Bear Mounds, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Efmo_marching_bear_mounds_from_ground.jpg
authorshipKristen Maxfield, National Park Services Photo
photo licensing

Although prehistoric mounds are common from the Midwest to the Atlantic seaboard, it is only in this particular area where there was a custom to regularly build such mounds to form the shape of animals, from mammals to birds and reptiles. These animal-shaped mounds, called effigy mounds, number some 31 out of the 206 mounds in the area.

The prehistoric mounds of Effigy Mounds National Monument were built by Woodland period Native Americans from as early as 500 BC to the early years of European contact. Many of these mounds were destroyed when white settlers plowed the land for agriculture.

Great Bear Mound Group, Effigy Mounds National Monument, IowaGreat Bear Mound Group, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Effigy-Mounds-Great-Bear.jpg
authorshipNational Park Services Photo
photo licensing

Visiting Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa

The North and South units of this national monument is located off Iowa State Highway 76, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The visitor center is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year Day, or when the weather is just too severe. During summers between June to Labor Day, the center has extended hours from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Entrance fees, at $3 per person aged 16 and above, are charged only between 1 April to 31st October.

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