Effigy Mounds

flight_1Built during the Late Woodland period by mound builders, Effigy Mounds became a regional and cultural phenomenon spanning Iowa, Minnesota, and the Southern Wisconsin-Northern Illinois Border. There are mounds with geometric shapes, and over 200 common animal themes. An amazing feat, considering the prehistoric tools used by the Native Americans at the time.

What separates these mounds from others like it is the fact that these lack traded goods from long-distance tribes, or any sort of valuables. Some burial mounds only possess a simple cooking pot. This practice of burying their people in humble means may suggest that the communities that these mounds originated from were egalitarian, believing that all people were equal within the communities and even politically. But the practice of many that lack any markings that are geometric in shape still remain a mystery.

Today, only a handful remain intact due to agricultural development. That, however, has not stopped the theories of why they were built. Archaeologists believe that the geometrically shaped mounds were meant as a place of burial or sacred ceremonial sites, such as funerals, because some mounds had items believed to be used during a burial. Items that could have been used in the afterlife to make their transitions easier and more comfortable.

Native Americans have argued that they were sites of refuge, not of burial. That these were places of great religious importance, such as a place for birthing children. It could be suggested, that since some of these mounds lack any burial items, that this may have been a place of worship or clan meetings.

Others have suggested that they were built in observance of celestial bodies. There is a theory that the placement and shape of the mounds is what the Native American tribes of the day believed how the universe was shaped.

Some archaeologists suggest that the animal-shaped effigy mounds were territorial markers. Since this was a race of hunter-gatherers, it could be that they marked where one group, or tribe, had positioned for themselves to gather crops or hunt for their meat. It is also thought that each clan had an animal spirit, or an animal representative, and the mounds were built to honor those spirits.

Without the mound builders present, and only mythology and stories handed down through generations one could only guess why they were originally built. As scientific data has proven inconclusive, much of the theories presented can only be speculation of a race long past.


Meredith Coplien

Meredith Coplien

Representative at National Paranormal Society
My name is Meredith Coplien, and I live in Orange Park Florida (Jacksonville area). I am currently a student studying CompTIA A+ and stay at home mom. I’m married to a wonderful man who happens to be in the Navy with 2 little boys (the oldest being special needs). I don’t know when my first paranormal experience was, per se. My mother’s culture kinda made it out to be an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize that it wasn’t so much so with American culture. I grew up as a Navy Brat, which has brought my travels to Washington State, Hawaii, Bahrain, Sicily, Italy, and finally Florida. After marrying my husband, it has brought me to Illinois and back to Florida. Needless to say, that I have experienced a lot of different cultures, their ideas on the paranormal, and just some plain weird stuff that would happen during our stays in foreign nations (which I will eventually get to talking about one day). I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the paranormal. I have a lot of personal experience, just not technical. I believe in logic and science should come first and foremost in the field, to rule out the normal before jumping to the paranormal.
Meredith Coplien

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