The Wickliffe Mounds make up a Native American complex that was discovered in Ballard County, Kentucky, near the town of Wickliffe. The prehistoric site, situated on a bluff near the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, includes a ceremonial mound, a residential mound, cemetery building and early villages. The Mississippian culture archeological site prominently features two central platform mounds, a central plaza and eight smaller mounds surrounding the area.
Ancient Native Americans inhabited the Wickliffe Mounds between approximately 1100 CE and 1350 CE. Agriculture was a significant focus of these Mississippian people, who harvested corn as one of their staple crops. It was stored and helped feed the dense population that occupied the site. The Mississippian civilization at Wickliffe had a hierarchical leadership system ruled by a hereditary chief and also experienced an advanced stratification of social classes. The decline of this complex was gradual, as the ancient people began gradually deserting Wickliffe around 1300 CE to relocate to another site.
The Wickliffe Mounds were excavated and studied by archaeologists for decades. In 1932, the site opened to the public, featuring impressive views of the mounds and displays of the Mississippian stone tools, cultural artifacts and pottery recovered from the location. Today, Wickliffe Mounds is under the protection of the state Parks Service and is noted as a Kentucky archaeology landmark. The site is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places and currently features special exhibits, interactive displays and educational programs for the public.