Little Maquoketa River Mounds State Preserve

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Coordinates: 42°33′58″N 90°42′29″W / 42.566°N 90.708°W / 42.566; -90.708

Main article: Iowa archaeology


The Little Maquoketa River Mounds State Preserve is an Iowa state owned archaeological site and natural area located within the city of Sageville (just north of Dubuque) on U.S. Highway 52.

It is high up on a limestone ridge above the Little Maquoketa River, not too far from the river's mouth with the Upper Mississippi River. Covering about 42 acres (170,000 m2), it contains a fenced-in 3-acre (12,000 m2) burial area with 32 mounds. The graves have been related to the Late Woodland culture, about AD 700-1200. Significant consultation went on with Native American tribes regarding the establishment of the preserve.

The land was purchased by the Iowa Department of Transportation in 1977, and in 1981, it became a state archaeological and geological preserve. By agreement with the state, the Dubuque County Conservation Board maintains and administers the area.

The remainder of the preserve functions as a park with a hiking trail, featuring mature forest and a segment of native blufftop prairie. As a part of the Driftless Area of Iowa, it has some geologically interesting areas, particularly the high limestone bluffs.

There is a parking lot. Access is year-round.

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