Wapello Land & Water Reserve

For decades, local historians, descendant Native Americans, and artifact hunters knew that this site was “different”, containing as it did an abundant record of habitation by both Woodland and Mississippian cultures. The broad inviting terraces of Wapello Land and Water Reserve nestled along the Apple River near present-day Hanover have been home to people for more than 11,000 years, as confirmed by artifacts found there: hearths, storage pits and house remains, along with burial and effigy mounds. As the decline of Cahokian civilization compelled people north, Wapello became a place where local Woodlanders and southern Mississippians interacted, causing cultural ideas and choices to meld (A.D. 1100-1350). These dynamic events culminated in the creation of a new combined culture, the Oneota, and had permanent impact on the region’s histories. Today’s Native American communities are still intimately tied to the Oneota people; their origins are of deep significance to their tribal histories.

Why was Wapello different from other convergences occurring along the Mississippi River? What happened to bring about peaceful integration rather than the competition, hostilities, and even violence found at other sites?

Recent archaeological surface collections, excavations, and geophysical surveys have revealed new interpretations of this point-of-origin landscape. A proposed  Discovery Center will be a place to experience the nationally significant story of the Woodland/Mississippian convergence and how this event continues to ripple across time into the present day.

The Wapello Land and Water Reserve is an important, historical place that tells the story of the impact the lives of indigenous people had on the evolution of human culture. Recognizing and honoring the contributions of these past people, and their present day descendants, in creating the dynamic social fabric of what we consider American, is long overdue.

Upcoming Events

Gone Herping – A Facebook Live Event

July 9 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 am

JDCF will be Live from the Hurtzville Interpretive Center in Jackson County, Iowa. Our Education & Outreach Manager, Jess Carryer, will be joined by special guest, Tony Vorwald, for a program all about herping! Herping is the act of searching for amphibians and reptiles. Habitat preferences range from dry sand prairies to swampy bottomlands. Studying […] Read More

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Experience Horseshoe Mound ~ A Walking Tour

August 15 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Have you ever wondered what a guided tour of Horseshoe Mound Preserve would be like? Well, wonder no more because we have brought back our popular walking tours with JDCF Education and Outreach Manager, Jess Hepker.  Participants will get the inside scoop on geologic features that can be seen from the top of the mound […] Read More

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Meteors on the Mound

August 15 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

JDCF and the Friends of Horseshoe Mound invite everyone to Meteors on the Mound for a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower from atop Horseshoe Mound Preserve.  Horseshoe Mound is the eighth highest point in Jo Daviess County and offers spectacular views of the tristate area from three different vantage points. This is the only […] Read More

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Experience Horseshoe Mound ~ A Walking Tour

September 19 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Have you ever wondered what a guided tour of Horseshoe Mound Preserve would be like? Well, wonder no more because we have brought back our popular walking tours with JDCF Education and Outreach Manager, Jess Hepker.  Participants will get the inside scoop on geologic features that can be seen from the top of the mound […] Read More

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