Wickliffe Mounds, Kentucky Mound Complex & Village • Mississippian
By Dr. Greg Little
Wickliffe, also known as King’s Mounds, is located on a high bluff terrace just to the south of where the Ohio River empties into the Mississippi River. It is 5 miles southeast of the Ohio River Bridge off Hwy. 51 (from Cairo, IL) on the Kentucky side. It is a state park and also has a museum at the site. It once had two large rectangular mounds, a smaller oval platform mound, and six small conical burial mounds. The mounds are not readily discernable at the site today due to extensive excavations. It once had an excavated burial mound, which was covered and displayed skeletal remains and burial artifacts in situ. It was an impressive display, which I visited many times in the 1980’s. Today there are some plastic replicas of skeletons at the site. Some years ago the museum was burglarized and numerous artifacts were stolen. Wickliffe represents both the best and worst of American mound archaeology. Mounds were excavated, skeletons publically displayed, the site was looted and also robbed, and the mounds themselves were essentially obliterated. But a great deal of useful information was obtained from the excavations.