Effigy Mounds

August 20

We made it to Effigy Mounds, in Iowa today. I wanted to visit this place to see if I could make an effective image I could add to my project. The mounds are pre-historic in origin. Earthen effigy mounds began to appear around 1,400 years ago. Maybe they were religious sites or clan symbols used in seasonal ceremonies. We don’t know for sure. Some mounds are in the shape of bears or birds. Others are cone or conical shaped. Still others have a compound composition (cone joined by linear).  Some mounds contain evidence of fire – probably ceremonial – in the “head,” heart,” or “flank” of the mound.These mounds once numbered in the thousands throughout the eastern U.S. but have been largely plowed under over the years.

Big Bear Mound. Effigy Mounds, Iowa.  ©David Gardner 2008

Big Bear Mound. Effigy Mounds, Iowa. ©David Gardner 2008

Including some of these images in the project is a bit problematical. The theme for these images would be Historical (or even prehistorical). They would fit with the Miwok Grinding Rock image I shot in late 2007, and probably grouped with the markings made by pioneers and emigrants in the late 1800’s. The problem I have with including these is that most of the mounds are best seen from the air. They range in height from 2-4 feet and, if it wasn’t for the park service mowing the grass around the mounds, they might not be noticeable at all.

Miwok Indian Grinding Stone, CA ©David Gardner 2008

I’m not sure at this point if I will include any of these images in the final project. I think I need to live with them for awhile, come back to them from time to time and decide later.

Effigy mounds view 2, Iowa. ©David Gardner


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