Effigy Mounds
Historic Resource Study
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Regional Location Map.
Courtesy of National Park Service

In November 2000, HRA Gray & Pape, LLC, (HRAG&P) contracted with the National Park Service (NPS), Midwest Regional Office, to prepare a Historic Resource Study (HRS) for Effigy Mounds National Monument in Clayton and Allamakee Counties, Iowa. Effigy Mounds National Monument was created by President Harry S Truman's proclamation on October 25, 1949. Since that date, several land acquisitions have increased the size of the monument. Most recently, in December 2000, the Heritage Addition added 1,045 acres to the monument, increasing it to 2,526 acres. There are more than 200 known prehistoric mounds, constructed between 2,500 and 700 years ago, within Effigy Mounds National Monument. The monument consists of the North, South, Heritage Addition, and Sny Magill Units, with the largest concentration of mounds at Sny Magill. Farming and other activities have destroyed the surface manifestation of a number of mounds, including those formerly situated in the Yellow River floodplain and in several open fields. However, subsurface features at some of these mounds may still survive. [1] In addition to the mounds, there are 18 rock shelters in the North and South units of the monument. Historic period resources include a remnant section of a military road constructed in 1840 and archeological remains associated with various historic period activities. The monument curates an extensive collection of more than 8,000 prehistoric artifacts and more than 12,000 manuscripts that are displayed in an interpretive museum and stored in the archives. The archives also contain a number of biological, geological, and paleontological samples. Park administrative offices are housed in the visitor center. Upon passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the monument, along with many other National Park Service sites and properties, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

monument entrance
Entrance to the Monument.
Courtesy of National Park Service

As a management tool, the HRS synthesizes cultural resource information from all cultural resource disciplines in a narrative designed to serve managers, planners, interpreters, cultural resource specialists, and the interested public as a reference for the history of the region and the resources within the park. The HRS is derived from research in primary and secondary records related to environmental history, prehistoric and American Indian use and occupation, exploration, land use, settlement patterns, and the development of archeology as a discipline. It utilizes both documentary research and field observations to determine and describe the integrity, authenticity, associative values, and significance of cultural resources within the monument, as well to highlight areas for future interpretive development. The HRS will serve as the foundation for future cultural resource assessments and management plans. It defines themes of area history; establishes a relationship between events and the built environment; identifies time frames and periods of significance for historic contexts; and identifies links between national, regional, and local events.

The HRS also is designed to review previously completed Effigy Mounds National Monument cultural resource studies of varying nature. This variability stems from the limited scope of some studies, the addition of new property to the monument, changes over time in cultural resource management theories, and changing management needs associated with site usage and the targeting of a broader audience. Furthermore, in recent years, cultural resource managers have placed increased emphasis upon cultural landscapes that encompass the totality of resources that constitute a system of land use or that now form a multiple-layer depiction of use over time. Natural features, vegetation, land use patterns, and circulation systems are a few of the important elements of cultural landscapes. Effigy Mounds National Monument is located in an area with a rich prehistoric and historic period history, the interwoven evidence of which is visible on the landscape. To interpret and manage the primary cultural resources for which the monument was established, it is critical to understand the evolution of this landscape.

Effigy Mounds National Monument Site Plan.
Courtesy of National Park Service (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

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Last Updated: 08-Oct-2003