Linear Mounds National Historic Site of Canada
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1996.
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Sourisford Burial Mounds
Research Report Number:
Description of Historic Place
Located near the Souris River in southern Manitoba, the Linear Mounds burial site is a sophisticated construction consisting of three mounds spread out over a large area of land. The first is a linear mound with a round terminal mound at either end, approximately 258 metres long and running north to south. The second is a linear mound, also with a round terminal mound at each end, 194 metres long, and running east to west. The final mound is conical, approximately 22 metres in diameter and lying just west of the south end of the north-south mound.
Linear Mounds was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1973 because: the site contains some of the most spectacular and best-preserved examples of mortuary mounds belonging to the Devil's Lake-Sourisford Burial Complex.
These burial mounds, dating from approximately 900 to about 1400 AD, are complex constructions of soil, bone and other materials. The excellent state of preservation of these mounds has yielded a wealth of information concerning life in the Great Plains at this time, revealing, by the nature of the goods in the burial mounds, that the peoples of this area were part of a continent-wide trading network. The mounds have now been ascribed to the Devil's Lake-Sourisford Burial Complex, a network of related sites containing both linear and conical mounds which extends from southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba to Montana and North and South Dakota, based on similarity of artifacts discovered in mounds. This complex dates from approximately 900-1400 AD, putting it in the Late Woodland period.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes and Submission Report, October, 2006.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include: the elevations, slopes and shapes of the mounds themselves; all archaeological material below grade or above grade related to the complex; the geometry of the two linear mounds that together form a right angle. the landscape itself, with its uninterrupted views of the mounds and surrounding prairie; and the relation between the flat prairie tableland where the mounds are located and the adjacent deeply cut valley of the Antler River.