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Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown

#67 of 135 in Historic Sites in Illinois
Must see · Ruin · History Museum
Dickson Mounds is a Native American settlement site and burial mound complex near Lewistown, Illinois. It is located in Fulton County on a low bluff overlooking the Illinois River. It is a large burial complex containing at least two cemeteries, ten superimposed burial mounds, and a platform mound. The Dickson Mounds site was founded by 800 CE and was in use until after 1250 CE. The site is named in honor of chiropractor Don Dickson, who began excavating it in 1927 and opened a private museum that formerly operated on the site.
Don Dickson was a chiropractor and discovered the burial mounds on his family farm. Instead of removing the bones, he only removed the dirt. He covered his excavation with a tent. He later replaced his tent with a building and set up a private museum.
The Dickson Mounds Museum is a museum erected on the site in 1972 by the U.S. state of Illinois; it describes the life cycles and culture of Native Americans living in the Illinois River valley over a period of 12,000 years since the last Ice Age. The museum is part of the Illinois State Museum system.
While the members of most hunter-gatherer cultures travel extensively or even practice a nomadic lifestyle, the exceptional productivity of the Illinois River valley in fish, shellfish and game made it possible for semi-permanent settlements to develop. Archaeological examination of these sites have generated significant insights into the living conditions of Native Americans over time and the levels of technology they possessed.
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Dickson Mounds Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
48 reviews
  • This is a really outstanding place, setting the Mound Builders of the Havana Hopewell in the history of Native Americans in the Eastern US. Exhibits are well done. There are trails and picnic spots...  more »
  • Museum was closed due to COVID-19 when I was there in July. I was able to explore the grounds and a staff member opened the buildings housing some of the excavations for me. But I was the only...  more »
  • Great Hickory Ridge Concert last night. Chris Vallillo was even more amazing because the main act had death in the family and the AC was still not working. The concert was outside on the lawn. He passed the bug stuff. Wonderful event even if it was 90°+ Staff provided great hospitality and refreshments.
  • Really quiet at the museum. Beautiful displays and interesting history. Needs a small gift shop. Ample Parking even for rv's and motor homes. If you are in the area you should stop and spend an hour or so.

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