Friday, August 26, 2016

FL Road Trip - Wickliffe Mounds, KY

This is a series of places we visited along a road trip to Florida to handle some family issues.  As always, the road just invites me to explore "something else", and that is what we did during our one week trip.

Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site is in Wickliffe, Ky at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  It is a Mississippian Mound community, and was occupied from 1100 to 1350 AD.  The site has been open to the public since 1932.  The first archaeological study of the 1930's has been updated by Murray State and professional Archaeologists as recently as 2001.

The Temple Mound is the highest mound on the bluff, and before the trees grew, gave a wide area view of the Mississippi River and the surrounding lands.  Ceremonies were held on this mound.

Mound B is where the Chiefs lived in wattle and daub houses, roofed with tall thatch  roofs and is the only mound where a home was built on top.

Mound C was the burial mound that was created around 1200 AD.  Research shows there were about 500 burials here.

To the northwest of the site during a test dig found a floor of baked clay, depicting a Sun Circle.  That Sun Circle has been placed in the museum for you to see.  It is a cross within a circle, a widespread symbol in Mississippian and native American art.  Meanings of the symbol include the four directions, the circle of the earth, the sacred fire and other symbols.  Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the office/museum or the Lifeways Building.

Mound D is under the Lifeways Building, and was a low, long mound built on top of the older community building sites.  Those sites are shown here along with artifacts and a wall-sized poster depicting early life.
There may have been as many as 8 mounds at this site plus a central plaza, where today's parking lot sits.  There is a short 200 yard trail to walk with informational signs along the way.  I included photos of many of the signs in the area of the mounds.

It was hot when we were there, and the Lifeways Building was not air conditioned, so we didn't hike the trail or spend too much time in the Lifeways Building.  Since this site is along the Great River Road, we will be back, maybe when it is in cooler weather.

The site is open daily from 9 to 5 during the summer, on Wednesdays through Sundays from April, May and September, October and is closed November through March.  Admission is $5 for adults and is reduced for seniors, children and military.
A Wickliffe Mounds poster found here tells more of the archaeological story.  If you are interested in reading the latest about this site, the book Excavations at Wickliffe Mounds by Dr. Kit Wesler is the latest, published in 2001 by the University of Alabama Press.

To get there from Interstate 24 in Paducah, KY, take exit 4 and drive west on highway US 60 to Wickliffe, KY.  Following the sign, turn right onto highway 51.  Wickliffe Mounds is on the right.

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