Visitors Guide to the
Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
94 Green Street
Wickliffe, Kentucky

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Kentucky Historic Site Accessible Scenic View Accessible Information Center Accessible Gift Shop Accessible Restrooms


Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site is the archaeological site of a prehistoric Native American village of the Mississippian mound builders. Located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river, the village was occupied from about 1100 AD to 1350 AD. The Mississippians built a complex settlement with permanent houses and earthen mounds situated around a central plaza. They farmed the river bottoms and participated in a vast trade network. They also buried their dead here with dignity and respect. After the 1300s the Mississippians at Wickliffe Mounds abandoned the village.

Early settlers to the region probably knew about the mounds at this site, but made little mention of it. The first formal notice occurred in 1888 when surveyor Robert Loughridge mapped the mounds for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Colonel Fain W. King, a Paducah lumber magnate and relic collector, purchased the site and began excavating the mounds and developing a tourist attraction. King, later joined by his wife, Blanche Busey King, opened the site to public visitation from the beginning of his work, calling the site at first the “King Mounds” and eventually naming it the “Ancient Buried City.” King directed excavations from 1932 until 1939. Some of their excavations followed proper archaeological techniques, but their field notes and other records have disappeared. In 1946, the Kings retired and donated the site to Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. The Western Baptist Hospital owned the Ancient Buried City from 1946 to 1983.

In recognition of the scientific importance and the educational potential of the mounds, Western Baptist Hospital donated the site to Murray State University in 1983. Murray State University reorganized the site, calling it the Wickliffe Mounds Research Center and set out to accurately understand, interpret and preserve the site with archaeologists and museum personnel in charge. Beginning in 1984, Murray State University conducted small scale excavations and archaeological laboratory research at Wickliffe Mounds. In 2004, Murray State University transferred the Wickliffe Mounds archaeological site and its collections to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Commerce Cabinet. Designated as the Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site, the mounds are operated by the Kentucky Department of Parks. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a designated Kentucky Archaeological Landmark, and is a common ground for Native American Indian cultures, past and present.

The site features a museum consisting of 3 excavated mounds with archaeological features, Mississippian burial practices, displays of artifacts from the site and a mural of a Mississippian village. The Ceremonial Mound is intact and can be accessed for a beautiful bird’s eye view of the park. A Hands-On Activity Touch Table rounds out the museum tour where visitors can use prehistoric tools and learn about Mississippian artifacts, technology and their environment. Wickliffe Mounds is also one of the certified interpretive centers along the Great River Road in all 10 of the Mississippi River states that have been selected to showcase and connect the historic stories of the Mississippi River.

  Visiting the Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
          9 am - 4:30 pm
          April - May: Open Wednesday through Sunday
          Memorial Day to Labor Day: Open Daily
          September: Open Wednesday through Sunday
          October - March: By appointment only
          Closed State Holidays (Open Memorial Day and Labor Day)

There is an admission fee to visit Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site.
Directions: Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site is located at 94 Green Street (US-60/US-51/US-62) as you travel east from the center of town towards the Mississippi River and Illinois.
  GPS Coordinates
36° 58.207'
W 89° 05.599'
  Learn more about the Western Kentucky area.  
  Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
The official website of Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site maintained by the Kentucky State Parks system
Giant City
State Park
Tower Rock
Conservation Area
Trail of Tears
State Park
Mississippi River
  Regional Guides
to the Middle Mississippi River Valley
  Meeting of the Great Rivers
National Scenic Byway
Ste. Genevieve &
French Colonial Country
Gateway to the West
St. Louis & St. Louis County
   Meeting the Missouri
Historic St. Charles County
The Lincoln Hills Region
Northeast Missouri
  The Tri-States Area
Iowa, Illinois & Missouri
The Mississippi River
Meets the Ohio River Home Page
Your index to over 800 informative pages covering the Middle Mississippi River Valley.
  At we strive for accuracy.
If you have any corrections, suggestions or information
you would like to see contact the webmaster.
For advertising information contact marketing.
Copyright 2001-2011 - Elsah, Illinois