• A quiet summer walk through the Marching Bear Group of effigy mounds

    Effigy Mounds

    National Monument Iowa

What is a Burial Mound?

What is a Burial Mound?

Strand: Social Studies
Grade Level: 1 - 3
Duration: 1 hour with cemetery visit or 30 minutes without
Location: Classroom and cemetery (optional)
Objective: The students will be able to compare burial practices between the Woodland Culture and our culture.
Materials: paper
crayons or markers
**optional--cemetery to visit
Vocabulary: cemetery burial mound
Woodland Culture
Procedure:
  1. Discuss with the students that they will be visiting the Effigy Mounds National Monument and explain to them that they will be seeing a cemetery for a culture of people that lived thousands of years ago. We call this culture of people the Woodland Culture.
  2. Ask the students: How do we bury people that have died? Have a discussion and affirm all answers. Be sure to include the following points about our burial customs:
    • we put the person in a casket
    • we have a funeral service
    • we dig a hole about 6 feet deep, put the casket in the ground and pile the dirt back in the hole until it is even with the ground around it
    • we place a headstone where the person is buried, telling who the person was
  3. Visit a local cemetery (some children may never have been to one). Walk through the cemetery so the children get a feel for what the cemetery looks and feels like. While at the cemetery, have the children draw what they see with crayons
  4. Discuss how the people of the Woodland Culture buried their dead. Be sure to include all 4 types of burials. See Background information and outline on mound styles.
  5. Have the children picture what this cemetery may look like and have them draw a picture of it.






[Index] [1-3 Grade] [4-6 Grade] [7-8 Grade] [9-12 Grade] [Glossary] [Cover]

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Did You Know?

Ellison Orr at Desk: Most of Orr's collections reside at effigy Mounds National Monument

An important figure in the documentation of Iowa's effigy mounds was Ellison Orr. Born in 1857, Orr worked other jobs while pursuing research in archeology. After retiring at the age of 73, Orr began a career as an archeologist spending the next 20 years conducting surveys and excavations.