Historic Site in Kentucky: Wickliffe Mounds

94 Green St., Wickliffe Atop a bluff above the mighty Mississippi River lie two platform mounds with eight smaller, round

94 Green St., Wickliffe

Atop a bluff above the mighty Mississippi River lie two platform mounds with eight smaller, round mounds placed unevenly around them—remnants of a Native American civilization that thrived here between A.D. 1100 and A.D. 1350. These ancient Mississippians built a complex settlement composed of houses and earthen mounds surrounding a central plaza that was most likely used for meetings and ceremonies. They farmed, hunted, fished, and traded with other communities. They also made pottery by crushing the shells of mussels and mixing them with clay. They buried their dead with respectful ceremonies.

Today the site, about three miles downstream from where the Mississippi River meets the Ohio River, is an archaeological museum, offering visitors an intriguing glimpse into the way these ancient people lived. There are three exhibit buildings, each sheltering an excavation site. One showcases replications of the ancient burials that took place here. Placards and other displays explain the history of the mounds and the story of their excavation. Also on display is an extensive collection of the Mississippian pottery and stone tools. Both everyday utensils and formal and ceremonial ware, including animal effigy vessels, are exhibited.

The ceremonial mound, which is still intact, gives a view of the village site overlooking the Mississippi River. Special events and workshops are held throughout the year.

Open year-round except Mon.and some Sun.; Wed. – Fri. Dec. – Feb. Closed major holidays. Admission charged.

www.parks.ky.gov

(270) 335-3681

Did you know?
The Wickliffe Mounds were built by Native Americans of the Mississippian culture about 900 years ago.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest