• Effigy Mounds National Monument

    Effigy Mounds National Monument

    For over 5,000 years, groups of ancient people in what is now the Midwest and Southeast built mounds of earth. Most of these mounds were flat-topped pyramids or mounds and were likely used for burials, religious ceremonies, or even homes.

    Some of the mounds were shaped like mammals, reptiles, or birds and these are known as effigy mounds. Effigy Mounds National Monument protects these sacred places.

    Effigy Mounds National Monument

    Fun Facts

    • Archeologists Charles R. Keyes and Ellison Orr declared the area a national monument in 1949. The monument has 2,256 acres of land, 206 mounds, and 31 effigies.

      National Monument

    • Visitors can attend educational programs to learn more about the mound builder cultures, hike on more than 14 miles of hiking trails, visit the mounds, or enjoy the nearby wildlife areas.
    • Most of the mounds can be found in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. The Great Serpent Mound, which is shaped like a snake, is in Ohio.
    • The Great Bear Mound in the park is 42 meters long and 1 meter tall.
    • The site sits on the border between prairies, wetlands, and the woodland forests of the east, an ideal location for ancient people because of the many types of resources available.
    • The mound builders lived and built mounds between 3500 B.C. and the 16thcentury A.D.
    • In Collinsville, Illinois lies the Monks Mound at Cahokia, which is more than 110 feet tall. In this area was once a vibrant community of between 20,000 and 30,000 people.
    • Several explanations for the mounds have been offered over the years. In the 1800s, people thought they were the burial grounds for a giant race of people. Others believed that they were made by members of the lost tribes of Israel.
    • Archaeologists today believe that the mound builders were ancestors to several modern native people, including several Sioux nations.



    1. Effigy: a model made to represent a human or animal
    2. Vibrant: bright, lively


    Questions and Answers

    Question: Is it legal to take artifacts from the area?

    Answer: No. The area is sacred to native people and it is illegal to take bones or artifacts. In fact, one government worker spent time in prison for taking bones.


    Learn More

    Discover the Mound Builders.


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Declan, Tobin. " Effigy Mounds National Monument - American History for Kids ." American History for Kids, May 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. < https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/effigy-mounds-national-monument-2/ >.

APA Style Citation

Tobin, Declan. (2024). Effigy Mounds National Monument - American History for Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/effigy-mounds-national-monument-2/

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