Friday, October 10, 2014

I&M Canal NHC at 30: Briscoe Mounds

This is the second part of my series on the thirtieth anniversary of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor.

The largest Native American mounds in northern Illinois can be found on the south end of Channahon on the banks of the Des Plaines River off of Front Street--they are known as the Briscoe Mounds, named after the family that owned the land.

The I&M Canal and the DuPage River are less than a mile away to the west. In 1830, surveyors for the canal mentioned the location of these mounds.

The two mounds on the site were built between 1200 and 1500 AD, surrounding them was a village. Three 20th century archaeological digs found shell fragments, pottery, and a three-cornered point fragment. In the 1964 excavation, 16 bodies were disinterred. The dead were reburied and the mounds restored, although the historical marker at the site says part of the mounds were destroyed when Front Street was built. The marker also notes that the style of pottery connects these mounds to the Langford Tradition of the Upper Missippippian Culture.

The Indian mounds are now owned by the state. There is no visitor center or even space for one, nor is there a place to park, except on the side of the road. The Briscoe Mounds are listed on the National Register of Historical places.

Next: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Earlier post:

I&M Canal NHC at 30: Channahon State Park

Related posts:

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